Dave Parker: The Cobra’s on-field impact too easily forgotten

Dave Parker

Dave Parker was the star of the stars for the late-’70s Pirates.

Today’s sad news that former All-Star Dave Parker is battling Parkinson’s Disease stirred a host of childhood memories.

I grew up watching “The Cobra.” I was a mediocre right fielder in Little League right around the time Parker was winning batting titles and Gold Gloves patrolling right field in Pittsburgh. For years he was one of my favorite players, both in his truly electric prime as a legitimate five-tool talent with the “We Are Family” Pirates of the late 1970s and later, when he resurrected his career following baseball’s cocaine scandal of the 1980s that also claimed another hero of mine, Vida Blue.

As a West Coast native, I was never a Pirates fan, but they were a fun team to watch throughout much of the 1970s. The late ‘70s “Lumber Company” lineup of Willie Stargell and Bill Madlock and Omar Moreno and more was impressive to say the least, but to me the true superstar was always Parker. Continue reading

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World Series 2012: So much for the pundits’ picks

The Detroit Tigers, at 88-74, had the fewest wins of any division champion in 2012. They were tied with the National League Wild Card St. Louis Cardinals for the fewest wins of any playoff team period. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants were 94-68.

In 2012 the Tigers’ run differential on the season was +56, 13 runs fewer than that of the Giants.

Pablo Sandoval

The dominant player on the field in Game One was a Giant: Pablo Sandoval

Yet a stunning 23 of 28 ESPN “experts” picked Detroit to win the World Series, many of them in six games or less. Several based their picks on the Tigers’ “dominant starting pitching.”

Eight of 11 MLB.com pundits chose the Tigers.

At FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal also picked the Tigers. Continue reading

2012 World Series, Game One

Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval crosses the plate after one of his record-tying three home runs in a World Series game. (DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP)

I was lucky enough to be at Game One of the 2010 World Series, when the mood outside the ballpark before the game was just amazing. Palpable excitement about a team that had survived its division race on the final day of the season and then rolled through the playoffs. This year was a bit different…this team did the opposite, rolling to a division title over the last couple months of the season but then needing miraculous comebacks to win both playoff rounds. There was less hyperactivity outside the park for Game One this year, at least before the game, but that all changed once everyone was inside and gametime approached.

Thankfully, after the 9th inning monsoon in Game Seven of the NLCS, the weather was perfect…a cool, crisp fall day in the City by the Bay. Continue reading

Game Seven

As the FOX commentators droned on toward the end of Game 6 of the NLCS about how “there’s nothing like a Game 7 in all of sports,” one of my happiest thoughts was that I’d get to enjoy Game 7 without Joe Buck repeatedly touting the Sunday NFL broadcast schedule or Tim McCarver butchering historical facts like how Willie McCovey fared in his debut game (It was 1959, not ’58, and he didn’t hit three triples in that game. He went 4-for-4 with two triples and two singles against Robin Roberts. Any dyed-in-the-wool Giants fan knows this and so much more that the national broadcasters fail to recognize. And that’s true for fans of any team…these guys need to do their homework before they start throwing out historical anecdotes.).

Anyway, enough about MLB on FOX. I grabbed tickets for Game 7 while Ryan Vogelsong was throttling the Cards in Game 6. Despite some pre-game raindrops and a veritable downpour in the ninth inning, Marco Scutaro caught that final popup and my daughter and I got to enjoy one of the great moments in San Francisco Giants history in person…the 2012 National League pennant. On to the World Series!

A few scenes from the day, thanks to my trusty iPhone:

Go Giants! And go A’s too! I’d love to see another Bay Bridge World Series (without the earthquake this time!).

Fine Wining

It’s only fitting that the very first wine bottle to appear on this blog is a baseball-themed one. I’ll be opening this 2010 Duckhorn Wine Company Decoy Red Wine this weekend as the Giants launch another playoff run – their first post-season game since their 2010 World Series title starts Saturday with a Division Series game against the Cincinnati Reds and our old friend Dusty Baker.

In honor of the great memories of 2010, and as good luck for this post-season…I’ll be raising a glass (or two) of Duckhorn Decoy Red this weekend. Go Giants!

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Tradition: Dad, Daughter, and The Grand Old Ballgame

AT&T Park, April 15, 2012

Our father-daughter rite of spring: our first Giants game of the new season.

This past Sunday my daughter and I attended our first Giants game of the year. It was one of the Giants’ lesser efforts on this young season, a listless 4-1 loss to the lowly Pirates, but the game result mattered little.

After going to just one game in her first 10 years, my daughter and I have been going to multiple games together every year since my divorce seven years ago, and she’s become as big a fan as I am. We were lucky enough to be at Game One of the 2010 World Series, and we’ve been at Giants FanFest the past couple of years as well, where she realized her dream of meeting Brian Wilson in 2011, blowing right past one of my old heroes, Will Clark, to do so. Continue reading