Episode 81: Can’t Have Sissy Hands

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Spring Training has not been kind to the Giants. They own the worst record, by far, in all of MLB. Hunter Pence got broke, and Bochy is actually worried about his team’s performance.

Chad, Ben and Eric try and talk each other down from the ledge, and bring some levity to the foreboding results from the Giants’ practice games thus far.

Hey, it’s an odd year, afterall.

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Pablo hates us all

Pablo Sandoval

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

Pablo Sandoval doesn’t like any of us. Unless you’re Hunter Pence or Bruce Bochy. If one of those is you and you’re reading this, thanks for all of those titles. Otherwise, Pablo doesn’t like any of us. Not the fans. Not his teammates, not the San Francisco Giants front office. None of us.

I tried to let this blow over when Scott Miller’s article about Pablo came out on Bleacher Report this past Monday. Yes I was pissed at Pablo. But so what? He’s not here anymore and this is a new season. If he wants to burn bridges he can do that.

Today a follow up to that came out after Sandoval talked to reporters. He didn’t back down.

It’s a shame really. All of it. From Pablo opening his yapper to all of us talking about him. We weren’t supposed to remember him this way. It sucks that he’s the guy that caught the last out of Game 7. It really does. Now when I see that clip all I’m going to think is “what a jerk”. It’s inevitable. A shame.

On the podcast Chad King has talked about how he was at Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. That was a night the Panda probably heard his biggest roars from the crowd in his entire time as a Giant. He did something only a few MLB players have done in the World Series by hitting those 3 home runs. We loved him for it. The Giants were on their way to a title and he was finally a part of it. He soaked it up.

But Pablo doesn’t love us. Or maybe I’m reading too much in to it. You decide.

“Only Bochy,” Sandoval said of Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “I love Boch. He’s like my dad. He’s the only guy that I miss. And Hunter Pence. Just those guys.

“But now, I feel like I’m home.”

I guess the place you win 3 championships isn’t a good enough home.

He mentioned in the article on NESN.com that the Red Sox treat all 25 guys the same. Sounds to me like a shot at the Giants front office and their wanting him to stay in shape. I’m sure he was asked to run on a treadmill more than say Buster Posey or Madison Bumgarner. Of course they don’t eat themselves out of shape.

What did he expect from the Giants? To just be happy that he played well seemingly whenever he felt like it? He never lived up to that potential we all saw back in 2009. He set his career highs in batting average, runs, home runs, doubles, triples, walks, total bases and on base percentage.

Back in 2009. That’s six full years ago. Where did that guy go? And he wonders why the team would treat players differently. None of the other guys have struggled so much but shown such sustained flashes of brilliance. If he wanted to be treated like certain other guys, maybe he should have shown up on a regular basis.

There’s absolutely no reason for Sandoval to make these remarks about the Giants now that he’s with the Red Sox. I’m in the midst of the new season of House of Cards and Frank Underwood recently said “You know what takes real courage? Keeping your mouth shut no matter what you may be feeling.”

I guess Pablo doesn’t have any. So you can burn your Panda hats or choose to remember just the good times. Me? I don’t own a Panda hat so I’ll just be pissed off on here.

-Eric

@2outhits

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A “Black” Day for Giants Fans

Hunter Pence says he can’t come his hair now that his arm is in a cast. I don’t think we’ll notice. Photo: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs’ minor league pitcher, Corey Black, feels absolutely sick about hitting Hunter Pence in yesterday’s Cactus League action in Scottsdale. In a tweet he sent out yesterday, Black said, “Lost for words. Hope you heal fast. Hitting someone is never a good feeling. Hurting someone is even worse.” Classy move. Even more classy was Hunter’s response, “It happens my friends. Thanks for the concern, it’s part of the game we love. No slowing down!” There’s been a lot of love and support from Giants fans thrown Hunter’s way, but apparently there have been a few Giants fans that aren’t too happy with Black.

I get it, knee jerk reaction. I for one, was pretty upset when I heard the news, as Hunter will most likely miss opening day and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks with a “non-displaced fracture of the left ulna bone.” In an interview today, Pence was pretty upbeat and even mentioned that the timing is right for this injury. He’s right from the perspective of “better now than in July.” He also said that he’s a “very fast healer,” and is hoping to be back before that 6 week timeline.

At least Hunter’s positive about the situation, and it’s not his throwing arm that’s injured.

Interesting note: Both Black and Pence share the same agent, but they’ve never met.

So, the Giants will have to rely more upon Blanco to fill in until Pence is one hunter percent. :)

Hunter has proven himself as the Giants’ “Iron Man,” but every superhero has his weakness.

Oh, and I’m a scientist by day, and don’t believe in this even/odd year thing. This may have finally made me a believer. I just realized that the guy who took Pence out is named “Black.” The guy replacing Pence is named “Blanco.” Maybe this shit is real, bro.

#oddyearconspiracy

Get well, Hunter!

– Chad @chadk21

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Episode 80: Jerry Rice

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Yes, Jerry is a 49er, but we covered him at the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach this month, so it sort of, by proxy, regionally counts to fit our jersey-number-title-thing that is dying. So, here’s a video of Jerry leading the group “Buster Hug” that we caught on film earlier this month.

The boys are back in Arizona! Timmy reunites with his dad, Pablo is still fat, Cain is throwing wild and free, Ben and Chad review their experience and interviews at Media Day, Bochy’s heart had a scare, Sheilds rejected a larger offer from the Giants, Moncada signed with Boston, and the first radio broadcast of a spring training game is next week, March 3.

Can’t you just smell the fresh cut grass through your media player of choice?

You can follow us on Twitter @TortureCast and like us on Facebook! All of our podcasts and video and audio San Francisco Giants player interviews can be found here or YouTube.com/TortureCast.

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Giants vs 49ers Chevron Charity Shootout at Pebble Beach

 

Matt Cain tees off on the third hole at Pebble Beach on 2/10/15.

Matt Cain tees off on the third hole at Pebble Beach on 2/10/15.

Yesterday exceeded my own expectations. Pebble Beach was gracious enough to let our non-golf-covering outfit cover the shootout yesterday, as we do cover the Giants. The PGA also threw in a “behind the ropes” pass, which enabled me to essentially mingle and walk with the players during their five hole shootout, which gave me the opportunity to capture some great photos of all of the Giants and 49ers playing in the event, which included Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Bruce Bochy, Javier Lopez, Duane Kuiper, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Brent Jones, Dwight Clark and Harris Barton.

My favorite moment of the day was the group “Buster Hug.” As KNBR’s Brian Murphy roasted all of the players, he had nothing bad to say about Buster, so he just happened to mention that he might be best known for the “Buster Hug.” Following that, Jerry Rice and eventually most of the Giants and 49ers embraced him. The video is below:

The weather was as impeccable as the jovial attitude along the course. I was able to interview Steve Young and chat with Cain, Bochy, Rice and others. Most of the questions by all the media were light and engaging to match the atmosphere. Probably the most engaging personality out there was Jerry Rice. The Hall of Famer danced, smoked a cigar, and mingled with  fans all day long. Buster was his usual reserved self and really didn’t talk that much, even to his partner, Matt Cain.

You can view the initial photo gallery over on our Facebook page. No, you don’t need a Facebook account to view them, but if you have one, would you give us a “like” while you’re there?

Here’s a video of Buster teeing off with an iron at 17, just because

Speaking of the tournament, Cain and Posey took the first hole (there were four teams of two), but the 49ers won it in the end during a chip-off at the 18th hole courtesy of Dwight Clark’s chip that ended up closest to the hole. Serendipity helped out as the chip off happened to occur right in front of where I had been standing, so below is a video of Cain and Posey’s chips. There are more videos and photos to come.

-Chad

Bruce Bochy puts for par on the second hole at Pebble Beach

Bruce Bochy puts for par on the second hole at Pebble Beach

Javier Lopez uses an iron to drive towards the green at Pebble Beach

Javier Lopez uses an iron to drive towards the green at Pebble Beach

Buster Posey tees off on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach.

Buster Posey tees off on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach.

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Interviews with 8 SF Giants at Media Day

Today we were able to snag interviews with eight Giants at Media Day at AT&T Park, including Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Matt Cain, Brandon Crawford, Travis Ishikawa, Joe Panik and Casey McGehee. Some of the players we had exclusive time with, others we shared questions with other reporters.

We’ll also be covering the Giants vs. 49ers charity shootout at Pebble Beach on Tuesday, 2/10!

All 8 interviews are below separately, the first one however, is the master playlist, and here is the playlist directly on YouTube.

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by | February 6, 2015 · 5:04 PM

Episode 79: Football is Over

Super Bowl slip n' slide @patburrell5 #didntevenspillhisproteinshake

A video posted by @therealchaseutley on

We don’t care. You must see Pat Burrell save every drop of his “protein shake” in this slip ‘n slide. Yes, we all still want to be Pat the Bat.

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We regretfully dedicate the first portion of this episode of TortureCast to the Super Bowl and the bad? call at the 1 yard line. Willie, Chad and Eric catch up on all of the signings by the Giants, including Casey McGehee and Nori Aoki, and reminisce with our man-crush on Michael Morse, who is now a Miami Marlin. We will also be at Media Day on Feb 6 to interview as many Giants as we can, so if you have a question you want us to ask, let us know at torturecast AT gmail DOT com or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Is This an “Off” Season for Sabean?

Three rings in five years and currently the longest-tenured general manager in MLB, and he  still can't win over some Giants fans this offseason.

Three rings in five years and currently the longest-tenured general manager in MLB, and he still can’t win over some Giants fans this offseason.

Many Giants fans have not been satisfied with the lack of moves for the San Francisco Giants this winter. Actually, they’ve made moves, just not “sexy” moves. No Lester, no Panda, no Scherzer, no big names.

But, is that necessarily a bad thing? Clearly we’re heading into an odd-numbered year, so if the mystical powers have their way, the Giants will find themselves out of the playoffs and tuning up for another magical ride in 2016. Let’s review, by the numbers, if the Giants will actually be worse off than they were in 2014.

Let’s remember that the Giants WON THE WORLD SERIES with a team that, credit to getting off to a historic start of 41-20, rode through tremendous slumps catalyzed by a series of injuries. Brandon Belt could find no luck, breaking his hand and then getting his coconut smacked by a fellow player who was already on the DL. Of course, that player is Marco Scutaro, and his comeback lasted all of 11 at bats in 2014, which brings us to the horrendous situation on second base for the better part of the year, in which the Hicks/Uggla/Adrianza experiment failed miserably. Then you have Pagan in center, who couldn’t avoid another string of injuries, Morse, who was out for most of the last two months, Cain’s bone chips finally caught up with him…Jesus as I write this, how the hell did they even finish above .500?!

Many critics point out that Aoiki had only one homerun last year and Casey McGehee only four. Granted those power numbers undoubtedly will not go up playing at AT&T Park. But do they need to? The Royals came within a run or two of winning the World Series with the fewest home runs in the league, remember. Although those power numbers are down over the Giants corresponding position totals from last year, both Aoki and McGehee got on base at a much higher clip, and as a result, could score more runs (dependent on the lineup behind you, different for every team). Yes, McGehee is a downgrade from Panda, but the contract money saved has been spread in other areas, specifically Aoki, Peavy, Romo and Vogelsong. We also have to consider what the Giants could get back for close to a full season in 2015. Granted, this all relies on the bastard variable called “health,” but IF Cain and Belt can stay healthy, that means more production from first base and a starter, not to mention Peavy is in for a whole season. These in combination with a full season from Joe Panik at second base, to me, more than offsets the losses in left field and third base. Take a look at the projected numbers for Aoki, Belt and Panik, based on a projection of 550 at bats. McGehee is static at the 616 at bats he had last year:

stats20150127

 

Yes, please yell at me as you note the RED all over the power department, with dips in the 20 to 40 percent range. However, this can be tempered, to a degree with all the GREEN showing a projected rise in on base percentage, batting average and stolen bases. Runs are dependent on who’s hitting behind them, so I’d throw out the projected 8% drop in run production.

Bottom line, the redistribution of salary may have cost power, but that investment could potentially be reaped in other areas, such as men on base and contact percentage.

I know, but chicks still dig the long ball, right?

Chad

PS – We’ll be covering “Media Day” at AT&T Park on February 6, 2015. Be sure to look out for video and audio interviews with many of your SF Giants. If you have any specific questions for the players that you’d like to send in, email to chad AT torturecast DOT com.

You can view past video interviews from Media Day 2013 and 2014.

 

 

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by | January 27, 2015 · 4:20 PM

Should I stay or should i go?

Ryan Vogelsong is back with the San Francisco Giant

(Photo: Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports)

It looks like Ryan Vogelsong will remain with the San Francisco Giants for another year. This is according to Hank Schulman who’s tweet rolled across the timeline this afternoon. It’s possible that we have more details later tonight or tomorrow.

There had been reports over the last few days that linked Vogelsong to both the Rangers and Astros. He was rumored to being close to a deal with Houston before we heard of any talks with the Giants. Suddenly it seems as if he’s coming aboard for another run.

The main concern I’ve seen and heard from fans is why a move like this gets made if the rotation is already set. The most common themes have been…

  • Matt Cain and Tim Hudson are both recovering from a surgery.
  • Tim Lincecum has been shaky as a starter the last 3 seasons
  • Will Jake Peavy find a renaissance under Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti
  • Madison Bumgarner is coming off a long, wonderful season and postseason
  • Also, can’t Yusmeiro Petit start some games?

It sounds crazy but I thought more pitching was a good thing. To think that Vogey chose to come back to San Francisco and give what he has left as a pitcher without the promise of being a starter. Those Texas teams would have put him in the rotation right away. He has no idea how many starts he’s gonna get this year.

That’s 7 starters for 5 spots. I don’t see that as a bad thing.

The Giants are going to need some good pitching this season. There’s considerably less thump in the lineup than in year’s past. It looks like Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, and Hunter Pence will be asked to carry the bulk of the load.

Nori Aoki signed earlier this week for $4 million. He has incentives to bump that to $5.5 if he has more than 600 plate appearances. He’s averaged 604 in his 3 seasons in the majors. He’s a contact hitter that can take over at the top of the lineup if (when) Angel Pagan goes down.

I keep talking myself in to really liking this signing because the way the lineup could be constructed he would be like another leadoff guy in the middle. Brandon Crawford could have a field day driving Aoki in.

Here’s how I’d draw it up right now.

  1. Angel Pagan
  2. Joe Panik
  3. Buster Posey
  4. Hunter Pence
  5. Brandon Belt
  6. Casey McGehee
  7. Nori Aoki
  8. Brandon Crawford
  9. Madison Bumgarner

Last season McGehee and Aoki hit 5 HR’s combined in over 1200 combined plate appearances. That’s a far cry from when Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse used to drop bombs during some really great hot streaks.

That’s where we are with about a month to go until Spring Training. We’re focused on Ryan Vogelsong coming back to help the Giants defend their title. It’s not sexy or shiny, but it’s a move to help the ball club compete for a playoff spot. After that, as we well know, anything can happen.

Remember, you can follow us on Twitter @TortureCast and like us on Facebook. All of our podcasts, video and audio San Francisco Giants player interviews can be found on our Youtube Channel or here at TortureCast.com.

-Eric

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Top 14 SF Giants moments from 2014 part 2

SF Giants win 2014 World Series

Denny Medley, USA TODAY Sports

If you missed it, I covered the San Francisco Giants regular season in Part 1. Time for the good stuff.

As I mentioned yesterday, there are no ground rules for this list and everything is listed in chronological order. Moments can stick out for different reasons. The rough draft was literally me sitting on my front porch drinking coffee and just thinking about the playoffs. I really miss baseball.

At least 10 different things jumped out at me. For instance, I thought the Hunter Pence homer in Game 1 of the World Series was a huge moment. Then as I kept adding things to the list it got bumped down. So it gets an honorable mention. Others that just missed the cut were Hunter Strickland striking out Ian Desmond in Game 1 of the NLDS and Randy Choate throwing it away in Game 3 of the NLCS.

After some more beard scratching and coffee drinking on the front porch, here’s my 7 best moments of the Giants 2014 championship run.

October 1 – Crawford’s grand slam of silence and Bumgarner’s first shutout

Were you as nervous as I was heading in to this game? I hate coin-flip games. Anything can happen. Randomness can determine a ball game. So when the top of the 4th inning of the NL Wild Card game began to unfold we were all unsure of what would happen.  Continue reading

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