EXTRA BAGGS: Schierholtz doesn't regret trade comments, etc.

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EXTRA BAGGS: Schierholtz doesn't regret trade comments, etc.

PHILADELPHIA Nate Schierholtz hit two home runs, he camewithin a few feet of a third, he made a running, fence-crashing catch and henearly turned a single into a 9-3 forceout with a fine throw from right field.

Afterward, in a hushed clubhouse following a 4-3, 12-inningloss to the Phillies, Schierholtz pledged to put the team first and do myjob.

Does that mean he regretted his comments to the SanFrancisco Chronicle a week ago, when he said he would welcome a trade and anopportunity to wear another uniform as an everyday player?

No, not at all, to be honest, Schierholtz said. Its justpart of the business, I guess.

Schierholtz hit solo shots in the first and eighth inningsoff Joe Blanton, the second of which tied the game and helped the Giants forceextras. He nearly parked another in the 10th and was intentionallywalked in the 12th.

Hes the only Giant with a multi-homer game this season.Hes got two of them, actually. He hit two out April 11 at Coors Field. And hehad good at-bats while starting all three games in this series.

He said he didnt find it curious that he was gettingplaying time a few days after expressing a desire to go somewhere where hecould get an everyday chance.

Not really, to be honest, he said. Ive just been tryingto stay ready. Thats what Ive done the last four years. Just do my best forwhen the opportunity comes to start. Im just trying to put the team first anddo my job, get on base.

Weve got a great group of guys here. Thats all thats onmy mind and our minds is winning ballgames and getting back to the postseason.Its about the team, not me.

Schierholtzs comments couldnt have gone over well withinthe clubhouse or with management, so its no coincidence that he is taking ateam-first stance now. The bigger statement is what hes doing with hisat-bats.

Now Bochy has a decision to make. Hes likely to sit downGregor Blanco against Padres left-hander Clayton Richard on Monday. Does hestart Schierholtz over Justin Christians right-handed bat? Or could Bochy evenstart a quasi-platoon with Schierholtz and Angel Pagan, who has really beenstruggling from the left side?

Well talk about it, said Bochy, asked only if Schierholtzwould start Monday. He certainly did a great job today, didnt he? Hesthrowing out some pretty good at-bats.

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The Giants failed to execute and missed a chance to sweeptheir first series in Philadelphia since 2004, when J.T. Snow memorably tickledthe flower beds with a three-homer game.

But Bochy wanted to make sure the casual-dress flight didntturn into a five-hour dirge. So he spoke to the club immediately after theloss.

These guys answered a pretty good test, said Bochy,answering a question about the improved pitching on the 4-2 road trip toAtlanta and Philadelphia. Really, the whole club did. A few guys arestruggling with the bat, but we found a way to win two series. A good job byeverybody, and I told them that after the game.

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The Giants had a 2.78 ERA on the trip. Thats a hugeimprovement over the 4.85 road ERA third worst in the majors that theysported when it began.

Zito gave them seven solid innings in the series opener atAtlanta and he provided seven more on Sunday. For the trip, he held the Bravesand Phillies to eight hits, three runs, two walks and he struck out 11.

To be the guy who was able to get two starts on this tripand put up quality starts, thats good, Zito said. This team is obviouslybuilt on pitching and defense. The offense has been great. We just need to keepthe pressure off them and let them know if we can score three or four, wellcome out with a win.

Not to channel Charlie Manuel on you, Barry, but the Giantsoffense is good, not great. Actually, its a little less than good. Marginallysatisfactory? Thats more like it.

Either way, the Giants pitched extremely well on an EastCoast trip, and the Braves in particular were hot entering that series. So theydid what they needed to do.

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Zitos next start will be against the Los Angeles Dodgers,and he was in a bit of a goofy mood while discussing it.

Theyve got their two guys back, Kemp and Ethier, right?he said. So itll be loads of fun -- loads of fun.

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Speaking of goofballs, how about Jeremy Affeldt?

Since the All-Star break, hes thrown 6 23 scorelessinnings and allowed just one hit and one walk. Hes struck out four. Its thebest Ive seen him since 2009, when he was incredible all season long.

Brad Pennys bad outing in the 12th aside, thebullpen had a terrific trip as well.

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Hector Sanchez began jogging and said his sprained kneeresponded well. He still expects to return when his 15 days are up Aug. 2.

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The Giants are looking for right-handed power. So Im toldthey are not planning to express interest in Rick Ankiel, who was designatedlast week.

Presumably, the Giants also wouldnt be interested when andif the Colorado Rockies move Jason Giambi, who is also left-handed.

But I like Giambi for the Giants. Hes a threat regardless.

And plus, hes been known to wear a thong.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Barack Obama pardoned Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey 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.