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A NIGHT OF FIRSTS AND REUNIONS

It wasn’t cold. It wasn’t hot. It was the kind of night at Oracle Park that Willie Dills had been hoping for after seven and a half years living in Austin, Texas. 67 degrees at first pitch with the Giants ace on the mound and a nearly packed house set the stage for a return to the press box for the TortureCast host who had finally come home. Willie had built this little podcast from the ground up and had to watch from afar while his cohorts, Chad King and Eric Nathanson, had nurtured it and kept it alive but now he was back.

After finding out that the old cheap parking tricks still worked, Willie hit the ground running and grabbed a press pass from a window by the O’Doul gate. The new COVID rules were foreign to him as he had just left the very “free” state of Texas. Luckily, Willie had his vaccine card and was allowed entry and after finding his way to the field and reuniting with Chad the night could commence. 

The Giants were taking batting practice and the manager, Gabe Kapler, was lounging in the dugout, chatting with announcer Dave Flemming. WIllie located Chad and the two headed up the stairs to get some cheap grub. Food at the ballpark is not generally cheap but these two were privileged. Part of the elite. Press, baby. 

A few flights of stairs and nods of acknowledgment and they were in. The press mess hall. 15 bucks gets you access to a buffet style treat of salad, wings and sandwiches. Kruk and Kuip were lounging just a few feet away while the TortureCast boys tried to play it cool. Willie walked by Mike Krukow and heard him refer to his partner, Duane Kuiper, as “Smoothie” and it just proved what everyone already knew. The best broadcasting team in baseball were also best friends in real life.  

After filling their plates the boys headed upstairs to the press box for their next tough decision. Most of the people there were regulars with spots picked out and familiar people all around. As independent podcasters the boys still had a bit of trepidation and looked for a spot in the corner. Finding a great spot up front the laptops came out and the scorecards and info sheets adorned their new home that the boys would inhabit for the next 2-4 hours. Suddenly it became all about the baseball that was about to happen and the insecurities of feeling like frauds slipped away. The TortureCast boys may not know all the other journalists but they did know baseball and they belonged in the box.

The Giants had been on a bit of skid. 12-12 in the month of June, 5 games back, but still in the hunt, the team needed a rebound series and playing the lowly Tigers was a great opportunity. The Giants had their best starter on the mound, Carlos Rodon, so the feeling in the ballpark was that a win was highly likely. The near sold out crowd had a buzz going. Once Willie sat down, opened his laptop and started setting up his scorecard he took a moment to look around and take it all in. That’s when he felt it. The Giants were going to win this game and welcome Willie back to the bay the right way.

Thank you Giants for being the coolest franchise ever

Rodon opened the game with 2 quick outs before the legend himself, Miguel Cabrera, grounded a ball off of Rodons foot. The ball went 20 feet into the air but Thairo Estrada still almost threw him out at first as Cabrera, at age 39, is not as fast as he once was. Rodon fanned Riley Greene to get out of the inning unscathed and the game was on.

In the bottom of the first the Giants scored two as Flores reached on a walk and Joc Pederson, having a career year, grounded a ball directly over third base for a double. Darin Ruf hit a sharp grounder that prevented the runners from advancing but in the clutch, Evan Longoria blooped a ball off the end of his bat into the outfield scoring two. The Giants so far in 2022 had been struggling with runners in scoring position so this was a fantastic sign that things may be looking up.

The next action took place in the 5th as the Giants launched a two out rally. Ruf sent the Tigers starter to the bench by coaxing a walk and then Longoria smashed a swinging bunt halfway to third and reached safely. With two on and two out a wild pitch set up Mike Yastrzemski, the definite player of the game, who launched a soft shot over second base, scoring two. 

Yaz made the play of the game in the 8th

At this point the Giants had to be feeling good with their ace on the mound and a 4-nil lead but the Tigers did not go away quietly. Over the next 3 innings the Tigers chipped away at the lead bringing it to 4-3 with two down in the 8th after Dominic Leone walked 3 and gave up a seeing eye single. Gabe Kapler brought his closer, Camilo Doval, into the game to attempt the always dicey four out save. 

Doval struck out Jonathan Schoop to end the 8th and then came out to begin the 9th with all the confidence and swagger the Giants next anointed closer should have. He struck out Eric Haase, walked Robbie Grossman on four pitches just to assert his dominance, and then proceeded to induce the game ending double play from Javy Baez to close the game out. 

After the game, Willie was privileged to join the other journalists in Gabe Kapler’s office and bear witness to the glory that is the “post game interview”. While he didn’t ask any questions of his own he did take note of the exotic array of liquor bottles, bass guitars and flags in the hallowed grounds of Kapler’s abode. Be sure my friends, while no questions were asked on this day, ridiculous questions will be asked soon by the boys from TortureCast.

Camilo Doval picked up save number 12

Coming up is one more game against the Detroit Tigers to finish out the month of June before the White Sox come to town to begin July. With the Giants back 5 games to the hated Dodgers this begins a very important couple of weeks before the all-star break. This years Giants are still contenders but the holes are making themselves known as we approach the halfway point. 

Willie is now here for all of it and will be bringing you all of the action on TortureCast.com and through the podcast, available anywhere you get your podcasts.

Follow @torturecast on Twitter or each of us individually

@williedills

@chadk21

@2outhits

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Giants set opening day roster

Here is your 2022 San Francisco Giants Opening Day roster:

The roster is expanded to 28, from 26 for the month of April to help out with the double headers and lack of off days due to the season starting late from the lockout. Personally, not too many surprises, as it’s very similar to the 2021 opening day roster and what they had at the end of last season, aside from subbing Bart for Posey, adding Rodon and Pederson and a few others. Hey, the Giants are apparently 107-win underdogs this year. Let’s see how they do. They open tomorrow, Friday, April 8 at 1:35pm PDT at home against the Miami Marlins. Chad should be at Oracle on Monday when they battle the Padres, be sure to follow all the action at TortureCast on twitter.

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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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2020 San Francisco Giants: The Outfielders

Mike Yastrzemski of the San Francisco Giants

Mike Yastrzemski of the San Francisco Giants (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The San Francisco Giants have run through a ton of outfield combinations over the years. Especially since the departure of Barry Bonds, but that’s kind of ancient history by now. Can you believe he’s been retired for 13 years? Watching him hit dingers still feels like yesterday, but it’s so long ago.

*Shakes head back in forth to snap myself back into 2020 after daydreaming about Bonds home runs*

So, the 2020 Giants outfield. Once again, it’s going to look a little different than it did to start last season. Just like it looked different the year before that, the year before that, and on and on. Continue reading

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2020 San Francisco Giants: The Infielders and Catchers

Mauricio Dubon of the San Francisco Giants

Mauricio Dubon of the San Francisco Giants (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

We got a taste of San Francisco Giants baseball after pitchers and catchers reported for camp yesterday. They will start their work today. The full squad starts workouts on Monday February 17. If you missed the pitcher preview from yesterday, here you go.

Now that pitchers are in Scottsdale, let’s turn our attention to the infielders and catchers. One name you won’t see below is Aramis Garcia. He had to have hip surgery and is out for the year. Garcia was the only catcher on the 40-man roster with Buster Posey. Now, it will be a competition of the non-roster guys to back up the Giants stalwart. Continue reading

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2020 San Francisco Giants: The Pitchers

Johnny Cueto of the San Francisco Giants

Johnny Cueto of the San Francisco Giants (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Today’s the day! San Francisco Giants players are in camp. Workouts for the 2020 season will start tomorrow as pitchers and catchers have now officially reported for Spring Training.

Baseball is here!

Opening Day is only 44 short days away.

There’s a ton of players in camp this season and first up in our 2020 Spring Training Preview is the pitchers.

Last season, the San Francisco Giants pitching staff was pretty average, finishing in the middle of the pack in most statistical categories. They had a 4.38 ERA, 15th in baseball out of 30 teams. Their batting average against was 12th best, and HR’s allowed were 14th best in all of baseball. Other than that, the Giants didn’t strike a lot of guys out, only averaging 8.4 K’s per 9 innings, 23rd in the league. Continue reading

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2020 San Francisco Giants baseball is here!

Gabe Kapler and Farhan Zaidi of the San Francisco Giants

Gabe Kapler and Farhan Zaidi of the San Francisco Giants (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Spring Training starts this week for the San Francisco Giants so let’s dust off the old typewriter and dive in to a new season as Giants fans in the year 2020. Pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training tomorrow with the first workouts of the year coming on Wednesday.

There’s been a ton of change within the Giants organization since this time last year. Gabe Kapler was hired as the new manager after Bruce Bochy retired following the 2019 season. Farhan Zaidi remains the VP of Baseball Operations and the man in charge, but he did hire a new General Manager with the addition of Scott Harris. Continue reading

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Right Team, Wrong City

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The San Francisco Giants are currently playing a 3-game series in Chicago against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Seeing the Giants playing in Chicago brings up a lot of memories for this fan of the Orange and Black. (Eric, so you know who’s writing this post). And this series means a little more to me than most.

I’ll back up a little. If you’re a regular listener of the podcast, you know that I currently live on a farm in Georgia and grew up in the Chicago area. You may have asked yourself, how did this guy become a fan of the San Francisco Giants?

The short answer, is my father grew up in New York cheering for the Giants and Willie Mays and then he and my mother moved to the Chicago area in the early 1970’s. I came along at the end of that decade. I was born into Giants fandom. Continue reading

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This Week In San Francisco Giants History: The Never Ending Doubleheader

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Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry – San Francisco Giants | Photo: MLB.com

The Giants left for San Francisco in 1958. Because of their move, along with the Dodgers jump to LA, New York was awarded an expansion franchise in 1962. Thus, the Mets were born. Fun fact about the Mets, their uniform colors being orange and blue is a nod to the Giants and Dodgers who left town. That’s what I’ve always known and apparently it’s true.

There were still Giants fans left in the city of New York. My father was one of them, and he’s the reason I want to write about a Sunday doubleheader at Shea Stadium in 1964. He was there, and this is one of the stories I grew up listening to that made me a Giants fan today. Who knows if the account I was given was totally true, but who cares? It’s Giants lore, and I ate it up. Let’s dig in to the day. Continue reading

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This Week In San Francisco Giants History: Angel Pagan’s Mad Dash

Angel Pagan of the San Francisco Giants walks it off against the Rockies

Angel Pagan scores the winning run on an inside-the-park home run to beat the Rockies in May 2013. | AP Photo

Six years ago today, the San Francisco Giants had one of the most memorable regular season wins in the history of Oracle Park. On May 25, 2013, Angel Pagan blessed us with one of the most exciting plays in baseball, the inside-the-park home run. This moment was even more special because it won the game in extra innings. Let’s watch it.

Remember where you were for this? I do. I’ll never forget watching this game. Watch for Tim Flannery’s reaction. I’m not sure anyone was happier than him that day. Including Pagan. And as you can see, Angel was PUMPED UP. Continue reading

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