Cheering Miller, Lamenting King


Cheering Miller, Lamenting King

Jon Miller is an amazing talent, a gracious man and a deserving recipient of the National Baseball Hall of Fames Ford C. Frick Award.

Still, Mondays news that Miller will take his well-earned place in Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer, was bittersweet for me.

Bill King also was an amazing talent and a gracious man, and he would be every bit as deserving of the Frick Award as is Miller.

Sadly, it appears as though King, who passed away in 2005 after 25 years of calling As games, will never receive the games highest honor for broadcasters.

One of my most cherished memories as a professional is that of Bill pulling me aside after hearing some of my rookie-year work at KNBR.

Youre already good on the air, and youre going to get better, he told me, his wiry hand tightly gripping my forearm.

But dammit, stop saying, Ya know! Youre driving me @&! crazy. Youre a fine writer, Mychael. Dont bastardize the language just because the radio allows it. Youre better than that.

That a living legend took the time to offer constructive, colorful criticism meant the world to me. And of course, he was right. I was being lazy. And youll never hear me say those words again, all because of Bill.

Thats just a tiny example of what made him a Hall of Famer as a person, but he was a million times better behind a microphone. And thanks to the As and their web-savvy fans, King was among the 10 finalists for the Frick Award a couple of times in the recent past.

But he didnt even make the finalist cut this year or last, and the old adage is true: out of sight, out of mind.

Probably forever -- at least when it comes to baseball.

Its an absolute shame, because King is the best, most complete broadcaster the Bay Area has ever known. And while he might have been even better at football and basketball than he was at baseball, he was Hall of Fame good at the national pastime as well.

Dont take my word for it. Heres what Lon Simmons -- a Frick Award winner himself, one of Millers idols and a former radio partner of Kings -- told me in 2008:

"I've voted Bill No. 1 on every ballot I've had," said Simmons, who, as the 2004 Frick honoree, is part of the committee that selects the annual winner. "When you think of play-by-play, you have to think of Bill King as one of the best there ever was. ... He certainly has all the qualifications.

I was friends with Bill for a long time and I was on the air with him for a long time, and I really do believe he belongs in the Hall of Fame. He should get in there.

He probably wont, though, so I hope Miller at least gives him a nod when he steps up to the podium in upstate New York later this year.

The mere mention of Kings name at Cooperstown will have do for those of us who grew up convinced that no night was complete without hearing at least one Holy Toledo!

-- Mychael UrbanWhat's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start


Madison Bumgarner was back on the bump Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL due to a dirt bike accident on April 21.

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants against the Arizona Rookie League Angels and did not allow a hit in three innings pitched. The Giants' ace also struck out two and walked one. 

In both the first and third innings, Bumgarner pitched a perfect three up and three down frame. 

Bumgarner was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his left throwing shoulder and sustained bruised ribs from his dirt bike accident on an off day in Colorado. Pitching in a game for the first time in over two months, Bumgarner was throwing between 88-91 miles per hour, according to Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports. 

After finishing his three innings of work, Bumgarner went down to the bullpen to increase his pitch count, reports Sande Charles of FanRagSports

Before sustaining the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season. 

The Giants have gone 21-41 since Bumgarner's injury. They are 27-51 on the year and sit 24.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. 

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”