EXTRA BAGGS: Bochy says Sandoval must focus on baseball, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Bochy says Sandoval must focus on baseball, etc.


SAN FRANCISCO It should have been a day of progress for PabloSandoval, who batted third as the designated hitter for Single-A San Jose whilebeginning his minor league rehab assignment on Saturday.

Instead, as CSN Bay Area first reported, Sandoval and theGiants face the serious matter of a sexual assault investigation.

Giants officials and coaches already were not pleased withSandovals weight, which has become an issue again. Now their All-Star thirdbaseman faces another major impediment. And while there are plenty of missingfacts, club officials are not happy that Sandoval would even put himself inthis kind of position to have his actions questioned.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Sandoval has to focus on baseball.

Well, he needs to, said Bochy, asked about the Santa CruzSheriffs Department investigation after the Giants 2-1 victory over the Cubson Saturday. Hes down there (at Stockton) tonight. Hell DH and he needs toget ready to help us out. Thats what he has to do. We need him here.

As far as that other stuff, you heard our statement. For us, he needs to get ready. Thatswhy hes down there right now.

Were focused on baseball. Those questions will go to hisattorney. We wont have any distractions, I dont care what it may be.

Bochy made it as clear as he could: Ryan Theriot has becomehis everyday second baseman and No. 2 hitter.

Theriot has solidified the No. 2 hole, Bochy said. Youhave to like all the little things hes done since hes been back. Hes got alot of experience and at-bats there, and he will remain there.

Theriot said he used the time on the DL (with an inflamedright elbow) to study his swing and make adjustments.

Its paid off tremendously, he said.

Theriot is definitely beginning to feel more comfortable inevery aspect. He was pretty reserved in the spring and not too outgoing. Now hesletting his personality show, and hes definitely someone who wouldve fit inon the World Series roster of goofballs.

He wears white calf-length muckboots as shower shoes. Whatmore do you need to know?

Its hard to believe Matt Cain is 75-75 for his career, aswell as hes pitched. In a recent player poll published in Sports Illustrated,he was voted the most underrated pitcher in baseball.

The players know you shouldnt judge Cain by his record.

You know what youre going to get, Theriot said. Comingin here as an opponent, you know youre going to get his best every time.

Theriot is a .150 hitter (3-for-20, one walk, threestrikeouts) against Cain in his career. So he knows of what he speaks.

Ill tell you this, Theriot said. Theres going to be alot more wins than losses when its all said and done.

Buster Posey will start at first base on Sunday, Bochy said.Thats something the Giants had gotten away from in recent weeks while playing20 games in 20 days. It became more valuable for Bochy to give Posey full daysoff to keep from wearing out his cleanup hitter.

Now the Giants will have some breaks in the schedule,though. And they are still just as flummoxed to find production at first base especially against left-handers like Travis Wood, who will take the mound forthe Cubs. Brett Pill is batting .189 against lefties. Neither Aubrey Huff norBrandon Belt has emerged, either.

So expect Posey to pick up a first basemans glove moreoften.

Its hard to imagine the Giants improving defensively atthird base when Sandoval returns. Thats how good Joaquin Arias has become,despite very little career experience at the position.

The play he made in the ninth inning to start a twinkilling, when he was in on the grass to defend against a possible bunt and thenfielded a slap-shot grounder, was a game saver.

Id say hes gotten better, Bochy said. Hes gottencomfortable right away, and thats whats impressive about him. Now, hes alsobeen playing a lot. Hes probably a little tired. But hes done a nice job overthere.

Arias is taking grounders at shortstop and hell probablytake some starts for Brandon Crawford against lefties after Sandoval returns.Hell also mix in at second base, and perhaps hell start hitting a little morewhen the Giants can afford to pace him better.

At least Arias was able to put the ball in play to drive inthe tiebreaking run on a ground out. That goes right along with Bochys theoryto put the ball in play and make something happen.

For a time, the Giants were striking out way too much. Bochysees a better approach and better at-bats now.

Oh, our at-bats have improved over the last three weeks,Bochy said. Its competing out there. Its finding ways to put the ball inplay. Guys are definitely doing a better job seeing pitches.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey was pardoned by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. 

McCovey, along with Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in July of 1995. The crime came from not reporting income McCovey earned from signing autographs and appearing at sports memorabilia shows. 

McCovey previously pleaded guilty to not listing $70,000 he made from 1988-90, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The 79-year-old McCovey was one of 64 people who received pardons from President Obama Tuesday as his final days in office wind down.

Hall of Fame voters' biggest issue: Do they work for the job or the sport?

Hall of Fame voters' biggest issue: Do they work for the job or the sport?

With Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, and maybe even Trevor Hoffman about to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, we have re-entered the hellish debates about who should vote, and why they should vote, and whether needles are good or bad and whether both are trumped by cashing the checks those needles made possible and why being transparent about their votes is good and why being transparent about their votes is actually bad.
In other words, the Hall of Fame isn’t actually about players any more. It’s about the voters.
The Danes call this “rampant narcissism.”
We have danced around this central fact for years now, hiding behind debates about performance enhancing drugs and the profiting thereof, voting limits and their degree of strangling artificiality, and the new writers vs. the old veterans, and who should be vilified, justifiably or otherwise, by whom.
Yay hatred by proxy!
But the process arguments ultimately aren’t the central point here. The argument is really about something more basic.
Are voter/journalists supposed to help enhance the mythology of the sport, or dispassionately tell its story? Who are they working for when they vote?

To that end, every vote tells a story well beyond the names checked off or the blank ballots submitted. One man, Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs, to you), has been invaluable in delving into the voting minutiae from the growing number of voters who release their opinions early. But, and he’ll admit this if you strike him often enough, that’s still a process discussion, and the core of the debate is found elsewhere.
Baseball writers are like football writers and basketball writers and hockey writers and curling writers and blah-blah-blah-de-blah-blah, in that they are prone to love the sports they cover beyond their journalistic mandate. That’s probably true of most journalists in most fields, but baseball has the Hall of Fame outlet to allow this internal debate to play itself out before our faces.
So the question becomes whether their votes are the representation of dispassionate analysis, or a defense of the mythos of the sport and the concept of the Hall itself. Boiled down to its essence, who are the voters defending here, the sanctity of the myth, or the ugliness of the reality?
The answer, as it usually is, is, “Depends on who you talk to.”
Hall of Fame debates usually lump all voters into one amorphous blob, a level of lazy and stupid thinking that should in a more perfect world be punishable by death. Okay, we kid. Life on a Louisiana prison farm, with parole after 25 years.
In fact, voters cover a fairly wide swath of opinion, and for whatever perceived shortcomings they might have, there are enough of them (about 450) to be a fairly accurate measure of the diaspora of baseball opinion across social, cultural, sporting and chronological lines.
But the argument about whether an individual voter feels more responsible to the job he or she is paid to do or to the game he or she covers as part of that job remains largely unconsidered, or at the very least masked by other considerations.
This manifests itself all the way down to the hot-pocket word “cheating.” Baseball is about cheating, and about honor. It’s about racism, and trying to overcome it. It’s about greed, and selflessness. It’s a sport, and it’s a business. It’s America, in all its glorious and hideous manifestations. To employ “cheating” as a word is in itself dishonest, and given that everyone got rich off the PED era and kept all the money they made makes PED use a de facto workplace condition approved by management and labor.
That may be unsavory, and it certainly is illegal without a proper doctor’s prescription, but because by their inaction the owners decided not to punish it (and in fact chose to reward it with contracts and extensions for users even after testing was instituted), it isn’t “cheating.”
And even if that argument doesn’t heat your rec room, it isn’t the role of the writer to punish it. It is the role of the writer to reveal it by journalism means, but that’s where the journalist’s role ends. The people who ran baseball took the journalism, acknowledged it, and did nothing until it ramped up detection and did little other than blame the union for a failing that both sides share equally.
So in the end, Raines’ votes or Barry Bonds’ votes or Curt Schilling’s votes or Edgar Martinez’ votes are fun to debate, but they aren’t the issue. It’s whether the voters think when they sit down and confront their ballot every year who exactly they’re working for – the job, or the sport.
And yes, I vote. Voted for the maximum 10. You’ll find out tomorrow the contents of my ballot. Then you can make that a process story, too.