Author Archives: TortureCast

About TortureCast

The podcast by and for fans of the San Francisco Giants, hosted weekly by our duo of Chad King and Eric Nathanson.

Episode #201: Is Baseball on Life Support?

Chad’s view of the Padres vs. Giants game at Oracle Park on July 29, 2020. The backsides of the cutouts look like a bunch of ghosts staring at me. (Photo by Chad King)

You can download the episode here, or stream it below!

You can also view the live video stream we broadcast on Facebook Live here!

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Although the Giants had an average week, it included a dramatic splash-hit walk off, another great comeback stalled by a bullpen that exploded, Chad got credentials to cover a game, and well, basically most of the Marlins have COVID-19 (and now the Cardinals, too), which is putting the MLB season in dire jeopardy due to the number of postponed games. Eric and Chad chat about all of this and more in a brief episode 201.

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Episode #200:

June 12, 2011 was episode #1. July 28, 2020 is episode #200. We celebrate the fact that we’re this stubborn to continue a podcast about one major league baseball team over nine years.

You can download the episode here, or stream it below!

We broadcast this milestone episode live. Check out the full video above!

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Willie Dills Gregory and his two friends started this podcast on June 12, 2011. Nine years later, we’ve finally reached episode 200. However, that’s with the caveat that if you add all of the bonusodes, season previews and interviews, it’s really recording number 258. That said, it’s something to celebrate, especially as we recorded during the Giants’ home opener (which they sadly lost 5-3 to SD).

Chad, Eric and founder Willie Dills wax poetically over 90 minutes about the Marlins’ COVID outbreak, the expanded playoffs, and the first series the Giants split against the Dodgers. This episode, and all going forward, was streamed on Facebook Live.

Check out our ugly mugs as we get through this episode! Hopefully baseball sticks around long enough to make it to the playoffs. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

@chadk21

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Opening Day Thud

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 23: Johnny Cueto #47 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the game at Dodger Stadium on July 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

On paper, we knew the Giants probably wouldn’t make the playoffs, and the Dodgers may run away with the division. But, shortly before tonight’s season opener in Dodger Stadium, the league announced that the playoffs have been expanded to 16 teams total, adding 3 teams to each league. Eight teams EACH from the AL and NL. This is great news for the Giants. But, they still have to be in the top 8 of 15 teams in the NL, a pinnacle they haven’t reached since 2016. But, it’s 60 games, so a little streak here or there, and they could sneak in.

Tonight, the news even got better as Clayton Kershaw was scratched from the start with back issues and placed on the IL. Dustin May was called up as his replacement. Everything started to look a bit more rosey for the Giants. After they had a minimal 1-0 lead (after squandering opportunities to score much more), the Dodgers finally broke through with a 2-out rally to tie the game off Cueto in the 4th. Overall, Cueto looked good until giving up two consecutive singles, a walk, and another single to tie the game.

With expanded rosters, and a young corp to try and battle these monoliths of baseball, Gabe Kapler has an extreme challenge, but he has some depth in numbers (as do all teams, of course). He quickly brought in Drew Smyly and Rico Garcia in the 5th and 6th to toss zeros. But, everything unraveled in the 7th when Tyler Rogers, who only gave up two earned runs in 17.2 innings last year was tagged for three earned runs in 2/3 of an inning. He was also the victim of questionable defense, including his own. With runners on the corners and one out, there was a comebacker to Rogers. He appeared to have enough time to start the 1-6-3 double play, but opted to go for the runner stranded off third. Unfortunately, instead of just running him back to third (the runner from first was able to make it all the way to third, like you’re supposed to), a long pickle ensued, which also allowed the hitter to get to second. So, yes, they got the second out of the inning, but now TWO runners were in scoring position instead of the end of the inning. Enrique Hernandez quickly doubled the Dodgers’ run total with a two out, two run knock to right to put the Dodgers up 4-1, and that was the end of it. They tacked on four more runs throughout the night, and the Giants didn’t put up much of a fight, offensively. But, the game was still tied going to the bottom of the 7th.

Joe McCarthy and Dany Jimenez made their (forgettable) MLB debuts tonight. Let’s be honest, the Giants roster is full of unknowns, castaways, rookies and retreads. Much like when the GM in “Major League” tried to fill the roster with such players to tank the season, but the team has been boxed in by over-inflated “thank you” contracts, bad trades, and a lack of draft depth. If they don’t make the playoffs in this “easy” year, it may be a few more until they crack the top.

There’s always tomorrow.

Chad

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Episode #199: 2020 Season Preview

SF Giant Austin Slater rips a 3 run double against the A’s on July 20, 2020. Photo by SJ Mercury News.

You can download the episode here, or stream it below!

Honestly, we can’t believe it. We are having a season preview episode. In July. Whatever. We’ll take it. Joining Chad and Eric are long standing podcast veterans including a founder of TortureCast, Willie “Dills” Gregory and a woman who has joined us for numerous season previews and drunken “bonusodes,” Jennifer (formerly Cosgriff) Kent.

The four of us discuss the new rule changes, the potential roster, guess on the number of wins for the Giants, the World Series champs and even discuss the importance of Gabe Kapler and several Giants that took a knee during the National Anthem before the exhibition game against the A’s.

We’re almost to #200!

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Episode #197: Baseball is Back!

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Eric and Chad met each other for the first time in 7 years in Las Vegas last week…masks and all! We talked a lot of shop, drank, and caught up.

You can download the episode here, or stream it below!

After months of frustrating negotiations…the owners and players failed to come to an agreement. But alas, MLB Commish Rob Manfred instituted a 60 game season, players agreed to the health protocols, and voila! We officially have a 2020 baseball season!

Here are the main points:

  • 60 game season (40 against NL West, 20 against AL West)
  • Universal DH
  • In every extra inning, a runner starts the inning on second base
  • 60 player pool; camp opens today, July 1
  • Season starts July 23 or 24
  • Trade deadline is Aug 31
  • 30 man roster the first 2 weeks of the season, 28 the next 2 weeks, 26 the rest of the way
  • Playoffs remain the same (3 division winners, 2 wild cards in each league)
  • Separate COVID-19 injured list. A player has to test negative twice to resume play
  • Players and personnel not in game must be in stands, 6 feet apart

Eric and I talk about the ramifications these new rules have on the Giants, including who’s going to be DH most of the time, the Giants actually have a shot at a playoff spot with so few games, how do they handle stats of runners scoring in extra innings, and much, much more.

We are so excited to actually discuss real baseball, but we hope that the season not only starts, but can come to a conclusion. There is serious worry about what the virus may do to halt the season. But, in the meantime, we’re moving forward and will be back with an episode in mid-July and our annual season preview around July 22.

As noted in the photo above, Eric and I met up in Las Vegas last week, the first time we’ve seen each other in 7 years! We talked shop, drank, and caught up. We highly recommend “BEER PARK” at the Paris Hotel, a great outdoor venue. Next time, we’ll make a podcast out of it.

@chadk21 & @2outhits

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Episode #195: Greed is not Good

bullpen

Framegrab from the KPIX helicopter flying over Oracle Park, showing the new bullpens nearing completion.

You can download the episode here, or stream it below!

Things are tough in the nation right now. From the pandemic to civil unrest, there are many more important things happening than a podcast about baseball and the Giants. Yet, Eric and I decided to go ahead with our recording, as we only do so every two weeks at this point. Perhaps our conversation can be a distraction from these troubling times.

There have been a few developments in the negotiations between the owners and players, but both sides seem to have their feet planted firmly. The owners want to pay the players much less than previously agreed to, with fewer games played, and the players want a prorated salary and more games. They are currently very far apart, and the chances of having a season seem to dwindle with every passing day. But, there is some hope that we’ll see baseball some time this year. We also chat about Vegas reopening, bullpen completion and new dimensions at Oracle Park and more!

Chad

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Episode #194: Baseball in San Francisco…in July?

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Oracle Park may not have fans in July, but could it have baseball? (AFP Photo/JUSTIN SULLIVAN)

You can download the episode here, or stream it below!

Do we think this is likely? Not really. But, that is the latest bit of news coming out of the baseball world. Last week, MLB owners sent the players association a proposal that would start an 82 game season in July. Some of the main points of how the season would work include the DH for the NL, an expanded 14-team playoff, games restricted to mainly geographic opponents to reduce travel, and a myriad of COVID-19 related guidelines for on-field play (no spitting, chewing tobacco, fist bumps, etc.). They also proposed a 50/50 revenue split with the players, but that would result in lower salaries than the players already agreed to on March 26, when they agreed to a pro-rated salary based on the number of games played. Additionally, California Governor Newsom indicated that pro sports may be able to return by June, without spectators.

All of these issues are massive hurdles, which makes the prospect of a season starting in July seem unlikely. However, baseball fans around the nation would be ecstatic to see their team playing on their home field (on TV) sometime this year.

We also talk about Blake Snell’s unwillingness to play for less, the Giants are paying their non-baseball staff through September, and the OOTP Baseball dream bracket #2 will send in the 1954 and 2012 Giants as part of the field of 64 historic teams.

@ chadk21, @ 2outhits, @torturecast

Show links:

MLB Owners Proposal Highlights: https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/mlb-2020-season-plan-owners-approve-proposal-for-july-start-talks-reportedly-begin-without-salary-discussion/

Blog by Craig Calcaterra: https://craigcalcaterra.com/blog/the-pandemic-diary-may-16/ 

Blake Snell: https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/29174318/rays-ace-blake-snell-says-refuses-play-reduced-salary

OOTP Dream Bracket #2: https://www.mlb.com/dream-bracket

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Episode #193: Could we Have Baseball in June?

fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday the only path for sports to return this summer includes no fans in attendance and players being kept in quarantine for the duration of their seasons. (Photo by Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

You can download the episode here, or stream it below!

We’re back to talk about developments in a plan that may bring baseball back in some form by June. Currently, the plan is to essentially put all players and personnel in a bubble, test them for the virus every week, and make sure they only travel to and from the stadiums and hotel. However, the PPE and test kits required would put a huge strain on medical resources, and there are players with families that are unwilling to be away from their families for five months or longer. Adding families to the bubble would raise the costs and stakes far too much. This plan is questionable, at best, but may be our only route to a form of baseball.

Baseball Reference is simulating the 2020 season with the game, OOTP 21, and currently the Giants are in 4th place at 7-10. Hunter Pence is 1-3 in the players’ league, playing MLB The Show ’20, but he had an epic walk-off Buster Posey homerun in his last game. You can view his games on his Twitch channel.

Stay safe out there, and if you have a quarantine story to share with us, drop us a line at chad@torturecast.com!

@chadk21

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Episode #192: There are no Sports

oraclepark

Oracle Park may be empty for the entire 2020 season.

You can download the episode here, or stream it below!

It’s April 8, 2020. Just six weeks ago, we thought we’d be talking about the first week of the regular season by now. Instead, we are without baseball, and without sports worldwide. I found myself watching old Giants games on YouTube as an exercise in remembering what it’s like.

Eric and I chat about how we’re doing during this crisis, but we dive into plans that are being floated that may, just may enable MLB to start the season in June with play across 10+ stadiums and adhering to a strict isolation and testing policy. We’re not so sure this is a feasible plan, but any baseball is better than no baseball! Eric also asked me and the general audience what are your top five Giants-related personalities you would like to be isolated with?

Tune in to find out what we thought! The corona virus has changed our world for now, and although sports and baseball aren’t of the utmost importance, it does bring balance and a little meaning to our lives. We miss it.

Oh, and STAY THE F&%( AT HOME!

Chad

@chadk21

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Which SF Giants Player or Personality do you want to hang out with during a pandemic?

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Oracle Park / Photo: Eric Nathanson

As you know, sports are canceled. The San Francisco Giants should be playing week 2 of their season right now. Check that, week 3. The home opener was supposed to be last Friday. So, I guess we’re in week 3. Sigh.

Sports are the distraction from everyday life, and right now they are not filling that hole. Everyday life has stopped as we know it. Quarantine has become the new normal and most people are taking refuge in their homes.

We here at TortureCast are staying home and staying safe and urge all of you to do the same. It’s a good time to catch up on books, music, movies, and podcasts that we may have missed. Continue reading

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