Posted on: February 19, 2012 6:05 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 6:12 pm
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hang around long enough, you never know where the wind will blow you next. And so it is for right-hander Clay Hensley, who is in camp attempting to win a job in the San Francisco bullpen.
The six-year veteran already has a place in Giants lore: He was the pitcher who served up Barry Bonds' record-tying 755th home run on Aug. 4, 2007.
"It's not something I want to be defined by," Hensley said Sunday morning. "I wasn't the first guy to give up a homer to him, and I wasn't the last guy.
"It's not that big a deal to me."
Maybe not, but Hensley's name will remain permanently stamped on the baseball trivia pages. Bonds' 755th, which tied home run king Hank Aaron, came in Petco Park of a game won by the Padres, 3-2. Bonds rifled a Hensley pitch over the left-field fence to tie Aaron, then hit record-setting No. 756 four nights later in San Francisco against the Nationals' Mike Bacsik.
Hensley, who went 6-7 with a 5.19 ERA in 37 games (nine starts) for the Marlins last year, signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Giants over the winter. He does not arrive as an unknown: The Giants drafted him in 2002 out of Lamar (Tex.) University, and Bruce Bochy was the Padres manager in two of Hensley's four seasons pitching in San Diego.
"Am I going to go around signing pictures of 755?" Hensley said good-naturedly Sunday. "Probably not. But I did get a nice bat out of it."
Yes, Bonds sent over a bat -- but not the bat.
Sunblock Day? A little on the cool side at 63 degrees (darn right that's cool, we have high expectations here), but mostly sunny and bright.
Likes: At a benefit in late January, Giants third base coach Tim Flannery and friends raised $60,000 for the Bryan Stow Fund. And attention Deadheads: Check out this cool video of Bob Weir and Flannery doing the Grateful Dead classic Friend of the Devil at the show. "Bob let me sing," Flannery said, beaming. ... Tim Lincecum, a ghostly shade of white, describing why he's happy to get out of Seattle and land in Arizona. "I need the sun. I mean, look at me." ... Totally charmed by Hugo, the Martin Scorsese 3-D flick. And I'm not much for 3-D. ... Go-to place for lunch during spring camp: Subway. It's quick, reasonably healthy and light enough that I can usually get in a late-afternoon run without paying for my lunch sins.
Dislikes: Bronx cheers to the Giants, who have told the nice lady named Kay, who sits outside of their spring clubhouse and checks media credentials, that she cannot read or knit while manning her post. Something about needing to be professional. It's spring training, for crying out loud. Besides, I was looking forward to learning what she was knitting this year.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"She must feel it's awkward
Oh, I said it's Arizona"
-- Arizona, Kings of Leon
Posted on: February 9, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2011 7:43 pm
Dreamed up by Peavy last spring, Woodjock 2010 was a fundraiser that allowed major league players to play out their rock and roll fantasies. Peavy, Bronson Arroyo, Bernie Williams, Barry Zito, Aubrey Huff, Gordon Beckham, Tim Flannery and others all participated in the Scottsdale, Ariz., concert last March that raised money for Team Focus, Strikeouts for Troops, Autism Speaks and White Sox Charities through the Jake Peavy Foundation.
There was supposed to be a Woodjock 2011, too.
"As cool as it was, as much as I love it, I didn't want any distractions," Peavy told me this week. "I didn't want any distractions for the team or for my teammates.
"I want them to know I'm sold out to the cause. I'll bypass Woodjock this year and it will return bigger and better next year."
About 1,200 people attended last spring's fundraiser. The way Peavy figured it, all sorts of athletes put on charity golf tournaments. But you don't often see a ballplayer hosting a charity concert.
But, alas, with Peavy returning from major arm surgery, he intends to direct all of his energy to the field this spring and low-key everything else.
"We'll have some troops out, still, and we'll have a nice dinner," says Peavy, whose charity work with the military started when he played in San Diego.
As for Woodjock, Peavy says, "Stay tuned for 2012. We're going to bring the house down."
Likes: Pitchers and catchers reporting means spring is right around the corner, doesn't it? Check back here beginning next week to join me for the annual Camp Tours. We'll move from clubhouses to batting cages to restaurants and roadside Dairy Queens with the greatest of ease. ... What a fun story San Diego State basketball has been this winter. Can't wait for the SDSU-Brigham Young game on Feb. 26 on CBS.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 12:23 am
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The place to be in the Cactus League on Thursday might not be a baseball field so much as a club in Scottsdale, where a handful of big leaguers including two Cy Young winner -- White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy (2007) and Giants pitcher Barry Zito (2002) -- and Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo and former Yankee Bernie Williams will headline Woodjock 2010: A Big League Jam Fest for charity.
The event, hosted by Peavy, will benefit the Jake Peavy Foundation, which raises money for Team Focus USA, Strikeouts for Troops, White Sox Charities and Autism Speaks.
Also scheduled to participate are White Sox reliever Scott Linebrink, Giants infielder Aubrey Huff, Giants pitcher Brandon Medders, Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery, White Sox shortstop Omar Vizquel, White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham and former infielder Ben Broussard.
The players/musicians will play various musical genres -- rock 'n' roll, country, jazz, blues, bluegrass, classical and Latin.
The concert will take place at The Venue in Oldtown Scottsdale at 7 p.m. Thursday night. If you're in the area, tickets are available here.
Sunblock Day? Not in my definition of the term. Another cold one in Arizona today, with the temp barely creeping into the 60s and a stiff wind blowing -- howling? -- all day.
Likes: Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon says he is very impressed with the Rays' attitude and work ethic in camp, and he thinks everyone believes the off-season was too long. Translation: He thinks the hunger has returned following the 2008 World Series run and then swinging and missing in 2009. ... Good to see Padres right-hander Chris Young, who has had back-to-back seasons marred by injuries, healthy and strong at this point in camp. ... The rental car lady in Florida was not in the mood for nonsense when I returned the car early the other morning. She was busy working her little hand-held computer upon my return, and when I told her I'd like a full refund because the Florida weather was so crappy for three weeks, she didn't even crack a smile. "You'll have to talk to them inside at the counter, sir," she said without even so much as a hint of a smile. Uh ... I was kidding? ... Notre Dame over Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament on Wednesday. ... Butler over Wright State in the Horizon League tourney title game. What a season for those Bulldogs. Going undefeated in league play is an incredible achievement. ... The jerk salmon at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Glendale the other night. ... Excellent win for the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central boys' basketball team on Wednesday in a 55-53 district tourney triumph over Whiteford.
Dislikes: Former big leaguer Riccardo Ingram, now a hitting coach in Minnesota's system, battling a brain tumor. He was stricken last summer while serving at hitting coach at Triple-A Rochester and, after treatment at Duke University and ongoing chemotherapy, he's doing great right now and is in uniform in Twins camp. The plan for him in 2010 is to serve as a roving hitting coach between Rochester and Double-A New Britain. Here's a prayer that Ingram, one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, continues to feel well and beats this thing. And here's another prayer for his wife and two daughters as they all fight through this thing.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Well, I came upon a child of God
-- Joni Mitchell, Woodstock
Posted on: October 1, 2009 6:11 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2009 6:12 pm
• If Detroit hangs on and wins the AL Central, the Tigers' key in their first-round series against the Yankees will come long before that series begins: They need to make sure their race with Minnesota doesn't go down to the last day on Sunday so they don't have to burn ace Justin Verlander. If the Tigers are to upset the Yankees in the first round, it's going to be because Verlander, Rick Porcello and Edwin Jackson pitch the games of their lives.
• Here's one small glimpse into why it's working so well in Colorado: Just before closer Huston Street was shelved earlier this month with biceps tendinitis, he was warming up to enter a game with the New York Mets when the phone rang in the Rockies' dugout. It was a call from bullpen coach Jim Wright, who had watched Street and seen enough. While Street was hoping to pitch through his soreness, Wright told Tracy that the closer didn't look right. So Tracy opted to go elsewhere in the pen for a reliever and the Rockies shut Street down. Though Street has blown two save opportunities since coming back, he still should help the Rockies in the playoffs. And if he does, credit an observant bullpen coach with a save.
• So Minnesota will take its slim chances into the final weekend of baseball in the Metrodome's history, heading home and straight into Kansas City ace Zack Greinke on Friday night. It will be the second time in five days the Twins will face him. Good luck with that.
• Attention, Phillies and Yankees: Angels manager Mike Scioscia the other day said Bobby Abreu is his team's MVP. Why? "For one simple reason: The balance he's provided on the offensive side," Scioscia says. Abreu's .394 on-base percentage leads the Angels, and almost as important, he's really helped the maturation of fellow Latin players Kendry Morales, Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar. Scioscia also qualified his pick, saying he would have gone with Torii Hunter as team MVP had Hunter not been injured (adductor muscle) an missed three weeks at midseason.
• You do the math ... on second thought, forget it, it's too tiring: Giants coach Tim Flannery figures coaches hit 44,000 fungoes a year. And he's been coaching 14 years. So he figures he's hit some 616,000 fungoes in his life ... and counting.
• No word yet from Giants owner Bill Neukom on whether general manager Brian Sabean and field manager Bruce Bochy will be offered contract extensions. Sabean and Bochy each is in the last season of his deal. Bochy has grown to love San Francisco and hopes to return.
• Ugh: Kansas City went 33-48 in Kauffman Stadium, it's second-worst home record ever. The worst: 29-51 in 1998.
• Now Jose Reyes has a torn right hamstring and will require surgery, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. And the clock is underway regarding whether he's going to go down as one of the great, unfulfilled talents in Mets history.
• I see Philadelphia lefty Jamie Moyer headed for season-ending surgery at 46 (groin), and I think: Now I know exactly why he dug up the pitching rubber and lugged it home from the clinching World Series game -- his first -- last fall. As a dying Warren Zevon told David Letterman, "Enjoy every sandwich." In the twilight of his career, Moyer is a guy who always has done just that.
• Did you see that when Oakland's Matt Carson hit his first career homer the other day, the fan who caught the ball wouldn't return it without a large ransom? The A's wouldn't do it, and Carson didn't get the ball (though he does have the bat). If I'm the A's, I find out who that greedy pig fan is and make sure he's never allowed to purchase another ticket to an Oakland game. What a jerk.
Likes: Bruce Springsteen opening a five-night stand at Giants Stadium with a new song, Wrecking Ball video here from the Newark Star-Ledger). The guy is unbelievable. It's just the latest example that you never, ever know what you're going to see when you see Bruce and the E St. Band. They are Willie Mays in his prime, Magic Johnson at his peak. Sure hope to catch another couple of shows before the tour ends in November. You owe it to yourself to do so, too, if you can. ... Those old black and yellow Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms were so ugly, but I'll tell you what, they look beautiful every time I see Willie Stargell leaping up and down in clips from the 1979 World Series. ... Greatest newspaper headline I've seen this year, and it ran a couple of months ago but I forgot to pass it along: From the Trentonian newspaper, Hide Your Beagle, Vick's an Eagle.
Dislikes: Cougar Town. I happened to be home last week and, against my better judgment, watched the season premiere. I'm sorry I did. It was embarrassingly bad. Suffice to say, I didn't make it to the second episode this week. ... Didn't much care for I Love You, Man on the Netflix video program, either. Funny coarse and vulgar is one thing. But this was that, without the funny.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I was so much older then,
-- Bob Dylan, My Back Pages
Posted on: April 13, 2009 5:53 pm
As the final batch of home openers is played this week, please join me in a standing ovation for those in Cleveland who braved that entire fiasco on Friday.
All 500 of them.
So for the few hundred fans who made it through the ninth inning -- out of a first-pitch crowd of some 42,000 -- score that a 7-hour, 12-minute opener.
Biggest reason they didn't call the game? Toronto was making its only trip to Cleveland of the year.
Which is exactly the problem. It was shades of Seattle playing Cleveland the first week of the Indians' home schedule two years ago, when a blizzard killed four games and sent the Indians' and Mariners' schedules into chaos.
I thought the schedule-makers would have learned their lesson then, that lesson being: In cold weather cities, early-season opponents should all be clubs that will make two or three visits to that particular city during the season.
But the schedule-makers are a stubborn lot.
Look, I'm not jumping on them, because they've got a tough, tough job. And I get tired each year of listening to the whining about how the cold-weather teams should all open on the West Coast or in domes.
Yes, it makes sense on the surface.
But in the big picture, you're going to tell the Indians, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and others that they can never open the season at home? And deprive those fans of ever getting the first game of the season at home?
And furthermore, possibly put other clubs at a competitive disadvantage because, if the eastern teams always open the season on the road, then they're going to get an inordinate share of home games later?
Sending the eastern teams west, or to domes, early in the season is not as obvious an answer as it seems. Bottom line is, it's baseball, it's outside, and in April there's going to be some weather. There was a 51-minute rain delay Friday night in San Diego, of all places.
But to send Seattle or Toronto to Cleveland early, when the Mariners and Blue Jays don't have a trip there the rest of the season (and, thus, no easy way to make up postponements), the schedule-makers have got to find ways around that.
Likes: Love all of the day games this early in the season. Wish there were more later. ... San Francisco coach Tim Flannery hitting fungos during batting practice, bouncing one final grounder to second baseman Emmanuel Burriss and shouting as he hits it, "I've got a 100-game hitting streak on the line!" -- and then running to first base to challenge Burriss as he fields the ball. ... Boston outfielder Jason Bay, a class act. ... The Rally Monkey video in Anaheim in which the primate plays the Tom Cruise role, dancing to Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll. ... The chicken parmesan pizza at Spirito's in Carlsbad.
Dislikes: If the start of this season gets any sadder, we're all going to need extra boxes of tissues. First Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart is killed in an auto accident, and Monday Hall of Fame Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas is found passed out in the broadcast booth in Washington, D.C., roughly 30 minutes before the start of the Nationals' home opener. Sleep well, Harry. You're already sorely missed.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Lazy stadium night
"Used to work on Mr. Finley's farm
"Come up where the Yankees are,
"Carolina born and bred,
"Reggie Jackson at the plate
"Even Billy Martin grins
-- Bob Dylan, Catfish