Saturday, February 25, 2006

February 25th, 2006

OK....I want to admit to a bone head move right off the bat. I took photos for the first half-hour of the workout or so before my camera display said the battery had run dead. No problem, I thought....I had just bought 3 jumbo packs of AA batteries two days ago. However,I found out that there was, in fact, a seems that BUYING the batteries does you no good if you forget to actually put any of the batteries IN your camera case. So.........due to a totally preventable error on my part.......I do not have the number of photos to chose from that I usually do.

At any rate.......same workout drill today, except that before live batting practice, the team worked on rundown drills. With a full squad in the field, a pitcher would throw the ball home, a runner would start for the next base and a coach would hit a ball directly at a fielder in order to start a rundown play. I found it very interesting that the team really didn't seem to stress running the runner back to the base furthest from home plate. As long as the runner ultimately got tagged out.......the coaches didn't seem to care. So, next time you see a rundown at AT&T Park......and the Giants throw the ball back and forth 8 times before they finally tag the runner out sliding into the forward most bag, you will know why. Apparently, the old rule of running the runner back to the bag from whence he came is dead.

During the live batting practice round today, Armando Benitez, Tim Worrell, Jack Taschner, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez threw. The batters are catching up somewhat. They are now making contact 50% of the time, but the solid basehits are still few and far between. Moises Alou had another good day against live pitching. Barry Bonds hit a couple of line drives. Benitez did not seem to be throwing quite as hard as he was the other day, but the batters were still not making solid contact. I thought Taschner threw exceptionally well. The batters were consistently making contact, but they were late late late on practically every pitch. That tells me that Jack was throwing strikes.......but that he was throwing heat that the batters could not catch up to.

During batting practice thrown by the coaches, Barry decided to back off a little. Oh......he still lead the team with 4 HRs, but he was considerably behind yesterday in both frequency and distance. Steve Finley was hitting the ball well and was second to Bonds with 3 HRs. Lance Niekro continues to stroke the ball well. He only had two HRs, but he was hitting linedrives all over the field. I do not remember Lance having so much off field power. One of his two HRs was the opposite way, but he consistantly hit linedrive after linedrive, from foulpole to foulpole, that one or two hopped the fence. No one else, including Bonds had the consistant linedrive power to all fields that Niekro displayed. Like I said, I remembered him as a pull hitter. I must not have been watching closely enough.

I noticed what I would think was a strange relationship developing. During batting and outfield practice, Bonds and Finley are constantly talking with each other. They can usually be found somewhere within close proximity of each other and usually either laughing or talking about what the pitcher is throwing, or how far their last drive went or some other topic. I don't know why.......but I just think that is a strange pairing.

I tried to watch a little more of the prospect's batting practice on the secondary field today, but that is almost impossible to do. Fans only have access to about 1/2 of the 3B line in the outfield area and since the field is bounded by 1/2" thick iron can't see most of the field. I found that if I strained just right, I could see homeplate.....but I could not read the numbers of who was at bat. I could see who was pitching, and I could see the result of the batter's swing, but I could not tell who the batter was. Pretty hard to write a review of the young talent under those conditions.

One thing I did notice is that although both fields started the live batting practice at about the same time........the youngsters were still facing live batting practice after the veterans had completed the second round of batting practice thrown by the coaches. That would explain why only 5-6 pitchers throw live batting practice in the main stadium per day. It appears that ALL of the other pitchers in camp are throwing on the secondary field. Also, while the veterans were completely done with practice by 12:30, the kids were still going strong with live batting practice when I left at 12:50. The kids didn't seem to mind, towards the end of the day they were playing for ALL of the Major League coaches who came to the practice field after the vets were done on the main field. Just for info.......the kids are having even more problems facing live pitching at this point than the vets are. I don't think I saw a single ball hit out of the infield in about 45 minutes (off and on) of watching the kids take live BP.

Another beautiful day, 78 degrees, with a bright blue Arizona Sky. After the practice I made my first visit of the season to the Blue Moose. The Moose is a must visit bar/restaurant about 2 blocks from the stadium. If you go to Spring Training you must swing by and visit the good folks at the Blue Moose. Chances are once the games begin, you will find me there after most games.


dastick said...

Ahh, the Moose...

What a setting..during my 1st ST, I stayed at the old town inn that is now a swanky hotel on the other end of the civic park. We'd get up and get a late breakfast...walk through the beautiful park and into the LF entrance without seeing a car. Then after the game we heard all of this noise on the way back...boom...Mooseage. That was livin ;)

Hey Hank, nice report today. Those drills (and those you've mentioned so far) are very standard at least through the community college level ;) What we try to teach is to get the runner to you still chase him back to the bag to start..but that also allows everyone to get in line behind each bag. Get the guy to commit to running back or towards you and then get the ball to the fielder behind him...tag or repeat until tagged ;)

As far as Niekro, you're right.. He has been very much a pull hitter, and so your news is encouraging. If he wants to have success vs righties (aka a career in baseball) he's gonna have to learn to hit take those sliders and outside strikes to RF and become a more complete hitter. Heck that kid could probably take a half swing and still hit the bricks in right ;)

Have Fun! Wish I was there...

mameluke said...

I've noticed the same RE: Bonds and Finley. My mom went to the park yesterday and took some photos showing the same thing. Also, look at all of the AP photos--they all show Bonds and Finley together.

I dunno. Old NL West outfielders stick together?

Teh Neifi Chicken said...

In the majors, especially towards the end, he seemed very pull happy, but I do remember seeing him go the opposite way in BP quite often. I saw a game or two in Milwaulkee where he and Yorvit (day before he wast traded) were just raking balls to dead center and the opposite way. Still, it's encouraging, but still BP where he's done it before.

On the plus side, I remember last year when he first got called up he was all about going back up the middle. Then when he hit his first couple HR's he seemed more intent on killing HR's (a la Petco) than hitting the ball to all fields. He definitely has the ability though, as you saw in BP and how he showed us in glimpses last season.

Let's just hope he's doing it consistently in 06

Dastick said...

Yeah Neifi...just take a look at his hit chart. He seems to be determined, so I think if he wants it bad enough, he'll figure it out. Sure would be nice to have a soild young farm-raised 1B going forward!

Giantfan9 said...

Hey Terry, When I say I saw a "new" drill.......that just means it was the first time I have seen it in the Giants camp this year, not the first time I have seen it ever. Just trying to provide a decent description of what's going on for people who aren't as lucky as I am to actually be here. I still say that back in the day......there was more of an emphasis on chasing the runner back to the bag where he came from. That way if you screw it least the runner hasn't advanced a bag. They didn't seem to care at all where the runner was headed or how many relays it long as he was ultimately tagged out.

Ah....the Moose. I was a little disappointed to find out that they are dumbing down their service a little for Spring Training. They are only going to have Fat Tire & Sierra Nevada on tap (no Harp, No Guiness, etc)....the rest will all be Bud or Bud Light. They are also going to cut down on the number of bottled beers they have. They want to make it easier for the employees to serve those millions of beers during March. Too of the things I liked about the Moose was the selection of draft beer. I guess it won't matter to the average customer who just wants to swing down a few after the game. But I hate it when restaurants change what they offer during busy periods. That's why I originally started going to MoMo's. When the ballpark first opened, they were the only place in the area that didn't serve a limited menu on game day. Oh, well..things change, and I guess they have to do what they think is best for their business.

dastick said...

Sorry to hear about the back...I feel like a pretzel today myself...On the moose, I'm guessing they are running with extra kegs of each. I bet nixing the harp and Guiness allows them to do less change outs on kegs and gives them extra taps by running two sierra and two bud for example. You do have it rough don't you? ; )

Hope yer feelin better