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Milk Man Fails Drug Test, Earns October Bonus

By bullpenbrian - November 7, 2012 - 4:00 am 3 comments.

It turns out Melky Cabrera will earn a full share of the Giants’ postseason revenue split.

What a shame.

Al Saracevic of SFGate.com does a nice job explaining the details of what he calls an ‘obscure union rule’ that entitled Cabrera to get his full piece of the money pie.

“He spent 117 games on the roster this season, and he stood to make 72.2 percent of a full share. But an obscure union rule mandates a full share if a player’s team plays 10 games after the suspended player is eligible to be reinstated.

Cabrera was eligible to come back for Game 1 of the NLCS. The Giants chose to keep him on the shelf, but the team also played 11 more playoff games. And that triggers a full share for Melky.” –Al Saracevic

It’s absolutely ridiculous if you ask me. A player suspended for PEDs use shouldn’t get the benefit of a paycheck he didn’t fairly earn.

As with any union, the Players Association’s job is to look out for the best interest of all of its members. But this is an obvious loophole that needs closing.

The players share their own responsibility in protecting the integrity of the game. Protecting suspended PEDs users like Cabrera clearly is not in the best interest of the players or the league.

In fact, it’s time baseball amended the rules on suspended drug cheats of which I’d like to suggest the following:

  • Increase the suspension for first time offenders from 50-games to a 100-game ban.
  • Any offender is automatically disqualified from winning league awards during the season of his suspension.
  • Automatic ineligibility from season’s postseason series, including any earnings from addition playoff revenue.
  • A lifetime ban for funding a fraudulent website in attempt to clear any wrongdoings.
  • Do not cross ‘Go’. Do not collect $200 (too harsh?)

Seriously though, if the league and its players are truly committed to discouraging the use of illegal performance enhancers it must adopt a policy with punishments that outweigh the risk for potential gains by an individual player who uses PEDs.

Additionally, the Giants proved this year a team can lose its best player and still win the World Series. That leaves no excuse for the other 29 teams to take further actions to discourage players from using performance enhancers.

Not only is Melky Cabrera a coward and a cheat, he’s a disgrace to professional baseball, his peers and his fans. To reward this clown with postseason earnings he didn’t earn is absurd.

Baseball deserves credit for taking long strides to clean up the game post-steroids era. But the league and the Players Union need to take another step forward to get this snafu patched up.

Melky won’t be the last idiot to try and cheat the game, but he should be the last player who receives additional financial compensation after testing positive for steroids. It’s an embarrassing ‘obscure rule’ that doesn’t make sense or should play out a second time.

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Giants Don’t Cry Over PEDs Enhanced Milk

By bullpenbrian - October 29, 2012 - 5:30 am 4 comments.

I’m wondering if the Giants present Melky Cabrera with a World Series ring and a share of the championship winning spoils? I know I wouldn’t.

Why reward this bum for pumping his body full of PEDs and subsequently missing the stretch-run of the regular season while serving his 50-game suspension for a positive test? Some help that was in the Giants winning the pennant.

Oh, and that little prank Cabrera pulled with the fake website…that doesn’t earn a free pass, either. In fact, it only made matters worse, making his suspension a bigger distraction for the Giants and an even bigger joke of Melky himself. Seriously Milk Boy, grow up.

It’s no wonder the Giants left Cabrera off the postseason roster. San Fran knew they didn’t need him to win…and they were right.

But the fact remains Melky is still listed on the 40-man roster, and that’s often the players who receive the hardware.

Now, there’s no denying Cabrera was the Giants best player up until his suspension. He also played a key role helping San Francisco gain World Series home field advantage with his MVP performance in the All Star game, albeit as an unknown cheat at the time.

But ultimately it’s up to the Giants players on how the postseasons earnings are divvied up–and left up to the organization on who receives World Series rings. So it’s possible, unfortunately, one side could have a soft spot for the Milk Man. Although personally, I hope neither side does.

If bet if Melky has his fingers crossed for one of the two awards it’s most likely the paycheck over the ring. The Cardinals divided up its World Series earnings last year to a handsome share of $323,170 per player.

Cabrera, meanwhile, lost $1.6M while suspended…and will likely miss out on cashing in on what once appeared a huge contract opportunity for him this offseason.

But hey, that’s the price of cheating…and a pretty lenient one in my eyes.

To baseball’s credit, the league chose to eliminate Cabrera from consideration for the league’s batting title award following his suspension (please spare me on Melky’s publicity stunt to also ask for his removal) and my hope is the Giants will follow suit.

The last thing baseball needs is a known steroids user walking away with postseason earnings or a coveted world championship ring–or both.

So it’s up to the Giants organization and players to send the right message that a drug cheat deserves neither, whether he’s served his suspension or not.

No clean drug test. No rewards. And especially not for the tainted Milk Man.

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World Series Tanks In TV Ratings

By bullpenbrian - October 28, 2012 - 1:15 am Leave a comment.

Baseball could’ve used a competitive World Series to put a bow on what’s been a very good postseason.

Instead, the Giants have jumped out a 3-0 series lead and look to close out the championship Sunday night or soon thereafter.

Television ratings for the series became a concern the moment the Tigers and Giants clinched its respected League Championship Series.

With little national interest in either team, the series’ television ratings tanked through the first two-games and only looks to worsen with the Giants headed towards a 4-game sweep.

No team, after all, has ever lost the World Series after winning the first three games, and the Tigers don’t exactly appear poised for a comeback given its struggles offensively.

Pablo Sandoval’s three-homer performance in Game 1 remains the signature moment of this Fall Classic, but Miguel Cabrera’s fifth inning pop out with the bases loaded in Game 3 was the pivotal turning point in the series.

If the Triple Crown winner manages a hit in that situation the Tigers likely tie the score 2-2, if not take a lead, and maybe win the game.

With a Game 3 victory Detroit would’ve been sitting pretty with Matt Scherzer pitching Game 4 and Justin Verlander taking the hill at home in Game 5. It could’ve been a whole different series, both on the field and in the ratings.

“Major League Baseball must privately long for the day when the Chicago Cubs win a National League pennant and participate in a World Series against the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels.”

-Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., Clinical Associate Professor od Sports management at New York University

Now that it appears the Giants have the series in-hand and the series bumping up against the NFL on Sunday night, I wouldn’t be surprised if Game 4 is the least watched World Series game in the series’ ratings history.

Obviously, Major League Baseball can’t dictate the outcomes of its postseason to increase World Series viewership. But the league could hold the general fan’s interest longer by taking the necessary steps to increase competitive balance among its teams long before October baseball ensues.

Banking on the Yankees and Red Sox winning in October has made it far too easy on baseball to cash in on the television side and justify it’s gaudy payroll disparity throughout the league.

Give every market a financially competitive shot to win in April and baseball will win the television ratings come October.

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World Series Humor!

By bullpenbrian - October 26, 2012 - 1:30 am Leave a comment.

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AT&T Park Another Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - October 26, 2012 - 1:15 am Leave a comment.

Pac Bell Park

I’ve been in love with AT&T park since I first laid eyes on it during its inaugural season in 2000, when it was first called Pac Bell Park.

The uniqueness of the park is what fuels my attraction. Its irregularly shaped outfield, the giant glove behind the left field bleachers, its location next to McCovey Cove. There’s no other major league park like it.

That’s why I believe, with time, this ball yard by the bay has all the potential to become one of the cherished cathedrals of major league baseball joining Fenway Park, Camden Yards, Jacob’s Field, Dodger Stadium and of course, Wrigley Field.

It took me six years before I was able to make my first trip in June of 2006 to see the Pirates play the Giants on an overcast and cool day, thanks to a strong bay breeze.

At the time Jose Bautista was batting leadoff for the Pirates. Sean Casey manned first base and Jason Bay played left field.

The Giants countered with Steve Finley in center, Ray Durham at second and former-Cub Moises Alou in left field. Manager Felipe Alou gave the 41-year-old Barry Bonds the the day off.

Bautista homered off Giants starter Noah Lowry (a sign of things to come for the young slugger) and the Pirates won 2-0. But that did little to damper the afternoon or the overbearing smell of San Francisco garlic fries.

It’s been noted this postseason how loud and enthusiastic the Giants fans are, giving their team something of a home field advantage we’re more use to associating with football stadiums.

It’s not surprising. The Giants are a World Series team playing in a jewel of a ballpark. What’s not to get excited about?

Luckily, as Cubs fans we understand the beauty and drawing power of a charming ballpark. And soon, I would hope, we’ll have a championship caliber team to go with it, much like they do in San Francisco.

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Live Game Blog | World Series | Game 1

By bullpenbrian - October 24, 2012 - 7:35 pm Leave a comment.

Game Over

What did we learn tonight? This is the Panda’s world and we’re just living in it. Meet your newest player you love-to-hate, Detroit.

With tonight’s victory the Giants are (12-7) in World Series openers and (6-4) in Fall Classic Game 1s at home.

It pretty crazy Verlander allowed more earned runs (5) than innings pitched (4). Granted, his game looked better than the numbers and the Giants did get a few lucky bounces in their favor…in particular Angel Pagan’s double off the third base bag.

Barry Zito. Man, for all the heat this guy’s taken over the years for an inflated contract he hasn’t lived up to…well, they sure love him now in San Fran.

Here’s a look at the upcoming pitching matchups. Fister has been outstanding this postseason. Bumgarner, conversely, has not.

Game 2 RHP Doug Fister (0-0, 1.35) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 11.25)
Game 3 RHP Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 1.35) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (2-0, 1.42)
Game 4 RHP Max Scherzer (1-0, 0.82) vs. RHP Matt Cain (2-2, 3.52)

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A World Series Saved

By bullpenbrian - October 24, 2012 - 1:16 am Leave a comment.

Bullpen Brian

As far as I’m concerned the Tigers and Giants saved the Postseason.

A World Series void of St. Louis & New York restores a proper order to the baseball universe, for which I am grateful considering October baseball has been out of whack for far too long.

The two better teams advanced in their respective LCS series sparing us from what would’ve been an unbearable Fall Classic.

-And on the seventh game, God looked down from the heavens and said “For the betterment of all things good on earth, let the ridiculousness of Cardinals’ postseason baseball end.” And so it came to be. The Baseball Bible

Detroit vs. San Fran appears to be a really good matchup–at least on paper as the saying goes. And it may not have great interest from the masses, but if it extends beyond five-games it should be a real treat for any and all baseball fans.

Most importantly, it won’t be the ‘puke-on-my-shoes’ Cardinals or the expletive Yankees winning it all again. If the Fall Classic could’ve been any less desirable, those two would’ve accomplished it by merely showing up for Game1.

We’re saved, I tell ya. Saved! Baseball fans rejoice!

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Giants So Right, I Was So Wrong

By bullpenbrian - October 23, 2012 - 3:55 pm Leave a comment.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the Giants’ comeback in the NLCS. And I couldn’t have been more wrong about my prediction the series was over after the Cardinals took a 3-1 series lead.

As one reader (George A Giants) points out “Wrong on all counts, sir.” Well yes, indeed I was. Man guilty.

Perhaps it‘s my distaste for all things Cardinals baseball that clouded my judgment? Or maybe it was the fact the Cardinals seemingly could do no wrong the past two postseasons?

Whatever the case, I didn’t just question the Giants’ ability to win but accused them of lacking a ‘clutch’ gene following its Game 3 loss against St. Louis. Of course, I should have known better.

The Giants, of all teams, were arguably the most clutch of any contender this postseason when they bounced back against Cincinnati after an 0-2 start in the division series.

But once San Francisco set an identical scene in the LCS, forcing its hand to win three-straight games, it only appeared the G-Men were merely following suite with the rest of the National League and doing its part to bow-out against the ‘luck-be-a-lady’ Cardinals.

Not to mention, only twice in NLCS history has a team recovered from down 3-1 to win the series (and yes, sadly the 2003 Marlins’ comeback against the Cubs is one of them). And these were the Cardinals, after all–a team who seemingly poisoned the postseason with its frustratingly uncanny ability to stay alive against greater talent.

Then like a switch–’click’–the Giants turned back on. The many scoring opportunities wasted through the first four-games were no more, they capitalized on Cardinals miscues and most importantly, the Giants’ starting pitching was, in a word–outstanding.

Even when San Fran tied the series 3-3 I still figured the Giants were just setting us up for another Cardinals’ clincher…

Wrong again. Instead, the Giants handed St. Louis an old fashioned butt-whopping in Game 7, a 9-0 drubbing that was never a close match.

And despite all the thrilling games we’ve witnessed this October, I enjoyed not one of them more than last night’s Game 7. Why? Because finally a National League team stood up to the Cardinals and refused to give away the series as so many before the Giants had.

No one likes to be wrong, including me. But luckily, I’m absolutely tickled my NLCS prediction wasn’t accurate. And yes, I’ve learned my lesson, too. Forget not counting those Cardinals out, it’s the never-say-die Giants the Tigers should be worried about.

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Giants My New BFF

By bullpenbrian - October 23, 2012 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

Let me introduce you to my new best friends: Barry, Ryan & Matt. They’re professional pitchers for the National League Champion San Francisco Giants.

These guys are so cool. They just restored order to major league baseball by defeating the Cardinals in three straight games to win the NL pennant.

I’ve been motivating them the whole postseason by telling them they couldn’t win. “Three straight on the road at Cincinnati–ha, you guys are finished!” “Three straight against the Pixie dust Cards–oh, you’re killing me Smalls!”

But now that it’s done, and the Giants have won six-straight elimination games to reach the World Series, we’re like BFF. So yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

Oh, so you wanna be our friends, too? That’s cool but I’m warning you, we’re a pretty close-knit group. But because you also despise the Cardinals…you’re in. I can already tell this relationship is so going places.

Great guys, those Giants pitchers. Great guys!

Bullpen Brian

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Cardinals More Poppycock Than Pixie Dust

By bullpenbrian - October 22, 2012 - 4:00 am Leave a comment.

The Cardinals didn’t run out of postseason pixie dust. They were just outplayed by the Giants the past two-games. Imagine that.

In fact, it’s stunning how beatable the Cardinals look when their opponent actually steers clear of choking away games with poor fielding and ninth-inning collapses (you know who you are: Phillies, Brewers, Rangers, Braves & Nats).

Lately, however, it’s been St. Louis sputtering in the clutch while letting its 3-1 series lead slip to a Game 7.

Last night the Cards failed to get a single leadoff man on base while plating just one-run…their only tally over the last 19-innings. Even worse, four costly fielding errors have lead to the Giants scoring 10-unearned runs this series–the most ever allowed in an NLCS.

For once a National League team is taking advantage of Cardinals’ mistakes–and not the other way around.

The Giants’ lineup has capitalized on those extra outs and combined it with sensational starting pitching, a recipe for success against anyone, even the never-say-die Cardinals.

This of course has nothing to do with an immunity from postseason hocus-pocus, but everything to do with the Giants’ realization St. Louis is more poppycock than pixie dust.

Whether or not the Giants believe this truth for a third straight game is yet to be seen. But I’d love it if just once Cardinals fans experienced what it feels like to be defeated with pixie dust, especially in a Game 7.

Poof! Season over. NLCS choked away.

Fingers crossed…

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