Do you want to call KNBR and give them an Andrew Dice Clay-laced rant about the Giants, but you know you can’t?
Well, you’re in luck.
Bring any foul-mouthed language about the orange and black to the internet airwaves this coming Monday, August 25 around 9:30 pm!
Now, we won’t let you say just anything on our podcast. You can’t make fun of our mothers or perhaps my boiler, but almost anything about the Giants is fair game. Besides, it might give us some choice sound bytes for our sound board.
Just your standard Willie-Chad lineup in the Giants dugout
Click above, right here, that little arrow, to play our “Bonusode” 38.5 from 9/20/12.
The article below, written by Chad King, summarizes his thoughts about the TortureCast’s trip to the Giants’ press box during the Rockies/Giants game on September 20, 2012, 2 days before the Giants clinched the NL West. Excuse the USA Today writing style, but it was written and submitted to a local newspaper.
The podcast embedded above was recorded by Willie and Chad right after the game.
Confessions of a Press Box Rookie
So why was a marine biologist suddenly thrust into the world of sports journalism? Much like George Costanza followed his lust for a woman who was worried about a beached whale in “Seinfeld,” I was coerced by my love for writing, podcasting, and the Giants.
Podcasting is a relatively new form of media. Anyone with a recording device and an internet connection can record and upload spoken words for the potential of millions to listen to. Many are trying and become the next Walter Cronkite or Ryan Seacrest (laugh track). I aspire to become neither. I follow my passion for parenting, gaming and the San Francisco Giants through podcasting. A trained sports journalist or radio DJ, I am not. Neither are most of those who occupy those professions, however.
As a co-host of “The TortureCast,” we’ve always had a passion for the Giants. A passion that has taken me and my two co-hosts to commit hours of pre-show research and preparation, hour long recordings, and hours of audio and website editing. There’s something to be said about the passion of the knowledgeable fan.
The San Francisco Giants recognized something within this passion and granted media credentials to the three of us to cover the Giants-Rockies game on September 20. Typically, Major League Baseball teams only grant media passes to “legitimate” media. We were officially legitimate media, if only for a day. With copious notes from hours of research, we hit the press room like kindergartners on the first day of school. We didn’t ask questions of manager Bruce Bochy in the pregame conference in the dugout nor the postgame conference, and pretty much relegated ourselves to scoring the game, tweeting satirical updates while consuming massive amounts of free caffeine. We gawked at KNBR broadcasters taking seconds in the media dining room, and tried to take “illegal” photos with our smart phones in the press box while skirting Major League Baseball’s official media dress code.
And yet, this was more of a service to the fans than what I saw around me as nine innings of baseball unfolded within the confines of the press box. First, I saw some journalists playing solitaire over several innings, many seasoned professionals reporting incorrect statistics, and found the “TortureCast” crew answering questions rhetorically asked by 30 year veterans such as, “how many homeruns did Buster Posey have coming into today?”
Although this day will be one of the most memorable in the “sports” section of my gray matter, one of the reporters left me with this little nugget: “The only thing that separates the sports writer from a truly knowledgeable fan is the credentials.”
Maybe George Costanza was more qualified that we give him credit for.
As the sky is rapidly descending in the Little Chicken world of Lincecum-Land, I wanted to take a deeper look at exactly, er, statistically, anyway, what is going on and perhaps surmise a reason as to why the “ace” is struggling so mightily this season. Typical explanations that I hear on the crazy train that is the KNBR caller populous are velocity and location. I think velocity has very little to do with his current struggles. Yes, his fastball is averaging 90.2 mph this season, down from 92.2 in 2011 and 91.2 in 2010, but he was touching 93 yesterday against the Padres. I think his velocity comes and goes by start but doesn’t have a real net affect on the outcome as much as his ability to locate his pitches. His walks per 9 IP and walk average is way up, which suggests lack of command, and that lack of command will not only translate into walks, but also pitches over the middle of the plate that were originally intended to catch a corner or drop low (see 0-2 counts on Carlos Quentin, Tony Gwynn Jr., etc. for less than optimal results). This has resulted in a much higher batting average against, hits per 9 innings, and even batting average for balls hit in play, being way above the league average (see those purty graphs below for my attempt to convince you that I know what I’m talking about).
They are just lines, people
Some lines going up are good, however, these particular lines…not so much
But wait, what is this graph? LOB%? Is that how often he lobs the ball to his opponent?
Timmy, that green line’s a little too sloped there…bring it up a bit, will ya?
No, although his performance may indicate that he’s doing that more often; this shows how many runners he leaves on base. LOB% and ERA are inverse of each other, as one rises, the other falls; the lower the LOB%, the higher the ERA. The funny thing is, historically, pitchers with high strikeout percentages will have higher LOB% as they can limit the number of scoring opportunities via sac flies, fielders choices and the like. Timmy’s strikeouts have barely dipped, still averaging 24.1% (24.4% in 2011). Yet, his LOB% has absolutely plummeted to 60.9% what FanGraphs calls “awful.” This dramatic drop is out of proportion to the drop in his other stats. The league average over the years is 72% and Lincecum’s lowest LOB% is 75.9% in 2009.
What can be attributed to such a monumental drop in LOB%? I believe it’s the all too frequent “big inning.” He has allowed 3 or more earned runs in one inning in 8 of his 12 starts. You know that old saying, “pitcher X scattered 8 hits and 4 walks over 7 innings?” Well, Timmy doesn’t “scatter,” he “lumps.” Unfortunately, these big innings unravel faster than my toddler’s temper tantrum when he doesn’t get his lollipop. He can be cruising and just completely run into a series of walks, a couple of bloops, and then a bomb, all in a series of 4 or 5 hitters. Take a look at his game log by start and inning. I’ve highlighted these “big innings,” which have accounted for 30 of his 43 earned runs. To put another way, he has given up 70% of his earned runs in a total of less than 8 of his 66.1 innings pitched (several of these starts he didn’t even finish the “big inning”).
The bottom line is that the Giants are now 2-10 when Lincecum starts, including 7 consecutive losses. They’ve only lost 25 games this year.
He said yesterday that he might be pulling out of his funk, but until he can prove it by avoiding a string of mental lapses that lead to these big innings, I’m not buying it. Maybe they should let Timmy smoke? More Giants fans are probably doing so now.
I’ll admit, as a lifelong Giants fan, I had never made the trek up to SF for FanFest. In its 19th year, I decided to give it a shot and bring along my 6 year old daughter, whom I’m brainwashing, er, instilling in, a serious Giants’ passion. I assumed that the 40,000 that attended FanFest 2011, glowing after their World Championship, would certainly dwindle to a more management number. It dwindled…by a measly 4,000 people. So, me, my daughter, and 35,998 additional Giants fans packed into AT&T Park over the course of 5 hours on February 4, 2012. See some video highlights below.
Note to those Giants fans who arrived right at opening, and did not wait in line for 90+ minutes like the rest of us and decided to “play dumb” as you just conveniently merged with the rest of the patient crowd: please go jump off of Lefty O’Doul Bridge, you’re an embarrassment to our kind.
Now that I have that PSA out of the way, let me continue. Once we entered AT&T Park, it was fairly chaotic; I had a vice grip on my daughter’s hand as we nimbly navigated the park concourses. Eventually, we made it down to the field, where it was even harder to figure out where each of the dozen lines started, ended, or if waiting in any particular line would deposit you to a random assortment of Giants players or a jumpy house. Good thing I’m not an autograph buff. Apparently some autograph lines were in excess of 2 hours. I did wander up to several booths, and was told that the players would rotate ever so often. I empathize with the Giants fans that waited for more than 2 hours on the 3rd level concourse ramps to get the John Hancocks of…Dan Runzler and Roberto Kelly. Ouch.
After a $10 purchase of stale chicken and fries, I decided to sit down with my daughter and take in a bit of the KNBR interviews that were happening at home plate. Shortly after we watched and listened to a hooded Tim Lincecum answer dully to standard questions from Murph and Mac, a distinguished gentleman approached us and asked if he could take our picture for his baseball blog. It turned out to be quite an interesting conversation with Michael, who grew up in Queens, his father a rabid NY Giants fans before they moved west in 1958, watching games at the Polo Grounds. In fact, his father wouldn’t take him to the Polo Grounds when the Mets started playing there, as it was Giants’ turf, not Mets. That would be kind of like the SF Giants moving, and then an expansion team, say the SF House Cats, taking up residence at AT&T Park. I wouldn’t go for that, either. Anyway, after a nice chat and a short interview, he posted his musings of FanFest, including our picture and interview at the “Grubby Glove.” The article is here: http://grubbyglove.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/san-francisco-giants-fanfest/. Check out his blog, it’s an entertaining read. The man has passion.
Unfortunately, with nothing fun to do (without waiting in 3 hour lines), my impatient daughter and I high tailed it out of there before the crowd dispersed. It was enjoyable considering it was my first FanFest, and the weather couldn’t have been better. However, unless I can get a press pass for next year, this may be my last FanFest for quite some time.