Friday, February 23, 2007

Countdown - 6 Days Until the First Spring Game

Well, cruddy weather returned to the Valley of the Sun today.......or what passes for cruddy weather in Arizona anyway. It was cloudy, breezy, low 60's and it started to drizzle just before the end of the workout. I thought practice started early because when I arrived the first pitcher of "live" batting practice was just finishing up. I found out later, from a security guy I know, that the practice started at the normal time, but Bruce Bochy gave the guys a break today and skipped the running and conditioning work.

Same drill as day before yesterday. One round of "live" batting practice, followed by one with the coaches throwing. The only differences were that that the pitchers this time were Armando Benitez, followed by Matt Morris, then Noah Lowry, Sun-Woo Kim and Jack Taschner in the #5 slot. There was one change in the batting groups..........Justin Knoedler replaced Eliezer Alfonzo in group #3. The batters continue to mostly "track" the pitches without swinging. Now, they usually make contact when they swing........but not very solid contact. Noah Lowry was giving up the most contact, but he was also causing the most complaints. Noah was apparently pitching in on the hands because Ray Durham twice yelled loudly and complained that the pitch stung his hands. Pedro Feliz broke a bat just off the fists. Again today, not a single batter put a ball as far as the warning track during live BP.

During the standard BP, Barry Bonds was again the star. Bonds homered 7 times. Peter Magowan took up position right behind the batting cage, just before Bonds connected for FOUR straight HRs. I don't know if that was coincidence or not. Out of Bonds' 7 HRs, the shortest hit off the facing of the deck behind the RF bullpen and the longest completely cleared the awning that covers the deck. Not a cheapy in the bunch. I just realized that I don't think I have posted a photo, this year, that clearly shows the RF deck........I will have to do that so you can have a good idea how far these shots are going.

Todd Linden was again #2 on the day with three HRs. One interesting note on Linden was that he got his first HR of the day righthanded, a drive that landed just to the right of the batters eye in CF....about 430-440 feet. Then he immediately jumped over to the opposite side of the plate and after hitting one pop-up, connected for a left handed HR that he pulled down the RF line about 340-350 feet. Kevin Frandsen was 3rd on the day with two dingers. Kevin seems to just graze the back of the fence when he hits a HR....but at least he is hitting them. Aurilia, Durham, Klesko, Feliz and Sweeney each had one HR. There was quite a bit more power shown throughout the lineup today.

In their last 5 swings, Bonds and Dave Roberts must have been having a basehit competition. Roberts had what looked like they would have been a double and 2 singles. Bonds hit a HR, a ball off the wall at about 380 feet and what looked like it would probably be a single through the shift into RF. Roberts claimed that Bonds' ball off the wall would have been caught (no way) and that the single was also an out (maybe, but I doubt it) Roberts claimed victory. Bonds disputed the claim and they were both laughing and pushing on each other while arguing about who won. To was Bonds going away.

Also, at two different times fans asked Bonds if he was ready. Once after the live BP as he was heading to the indoor batting cages, Bonds shrugged his shoulders, turned around and smiled at the fan. A different fan asked the same question as Bonds exited the cage after hitting the 4 HRs in a row. Bonds turned to the fan and yelled........"NO!". These are the types of incidents that make spring workouts worth coming to. I always get 3 or 4 big laughs at every practice session. Ball players tend to be very serious during games (and why's their job). The workouts give the fans a chance to see more of their human side.

The workout was over by 11:40. For those who haven't heard yet, the Giants will once again have the Giants Idol talent (or what passes for talent) show again this year. The "competition" will be held before practice begins on Sunday and Monday. Last year it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen on a baseball field. I will be there and take photos of the young players and give "reviews" of their singing abilities (or lack thereof). This is great fun and should produce some fantastic photos.

Also, I have had several people ask, via the comments section, for more photos of the younger players. I love the kids and would definitely have more photos if I could. I believe I have explained this a couple of times already, but I will again. At this time of year, the regulars practice in the main stadium and the youngsters practice on the practice field down the RF line. There is just no way to see the practice field from the areas that the Giants allow fans to be in. I walked over today and checked again. This year the view of the practice field is even worse than last year. In addition to the iron fence with bars about 5 inches apart that they had last year.......they have added a net (like a backstop net) all along the fence that extends about 30 ft high to prevent foul balls from falling on the main field. If that wasn't bad enough, they have added a second screen, the thicker screen like they use to create shade at community park dugouts, that extends up to about chin level along the entire length of the iron fence. Bottom line is, you can barely see the players at all and unless they are right near the fence you can't see well enough to see who they are. Taking photos is totally out of the question. Photos of the younger players will have to wait until they pitch live BP, like Taschner and Kim today, or until intra-squad and/or regular games start.

That's it for today. It is still supposed to be "cold" again tomorrow, but the clouds are supposed to go away. I think it is predicted to be 63 tomorrow.......of course that's not cold for most of the world in February.......but the average temperature in Scottsdale on todays date is 73 for Scottsdale........63 is freezing.


phil said...

Im glad to hear that Todd is hitting the ball hard.

Anonymous said...

i read that eliezer alfonzo is out a couple of days with an injury.

Anonymous said...

Hey GF9, please tell me you'll be on the scene for Giants Idol II. Those not in Scottsdale simply cannot miss this.

Big McLargehuge said...

Hopefully this means Lowry's got some new super cutter that he plans to unleash on the league this year. It can only help.

I might be setting myself up for disappointment, but I think Linden's going to be quite the fourth OF this year. This may be his breakout year.

Anonymous said...

Hey GF9

Man, I backed out of this weekend, cause I figured I could use the funds later this year. But Dang Giants Idol woulda been worth it....

But I will be there for next weekend's games


Giantfan9 said...

See you then Merk.