Giants explore ways to keep pesky seagulls away

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Giants explore ways to keep pesky seagulls away

July 29, 2011
GIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- For years, the San Francisco Giants' regular seagulls cooperated so nicely: They flocked to AT&T Park after the final out to scavenge for treats like leftover popcorn, pizza or garlic fries.Those gulls have become more pesky and plentiful of late, creating a problem for fans during games on occasion this season. So, now, the Giants are considering bringing in a resident falcon to help fend off the birds and keep them at bay out where they belong - above the bay."The gulls are more like your guests. They see a food source and opportunity. They're transient. There's a window of time they're around: they see it, they hear it, they smell it," said Jorge Costa, the Giants' longtime senior vice president of ballpark operations. "Most of the time they're up on the roof of the building, on the glove (in left field), on the light towers. When people leave, they come down."While the issue won't be solved by the time the defending World Series champions return for a 10-game homestand starting Monday, the Giants are working on it.Bringing in a falcon to nest around the ballpark is an expensive endeavor that requires budgeting, which might take until next year. Unless the problem persists and requires immediate attention.Costa declined to say how much it might cost. Other ballparks near the water have faced similar situations with seagulls. They even turn up across San Francisco Bay at the Oakland Coliseum after the Athletics play.This is right up there with the strangest things Costa has dealt with and studied in his 23 years with the Giants and 40 years in the stadium business - along with such serious issues as terrorist threats in the wake of Sept. 11 and the effects of weather and how grass grows and reacts.While the Giants have found humane ways to keep pigeons from roosting in their 12-year-old ballpark, the hovering gulls that come in from McCovey Cove and elsewhere are different. Their postgame snacking has long played a part in aiding San Francisco's extensive cleanup process in the stands after each game.But the 2011 crop appears to be growing impatient. And fans who pay lots of money for tickets and concessions don't like to be bugged by the unfriendly visitors in the middle of a ballgame.Studying bird behavior and various populations has become a new part of Costa's job description."This year we're seeing larger numbers of the seagulls, and sometimes they've not been stationary," Costa said. "There have been a couple of games this year when they've started swirling around while the game's still going on. It's not pleasant if they're dropping things and they're sitting there (with fans)."With the help of Wingmaster Falconry Inc., which states that it works "to provide our clients with the most effective, natural, humane methods available for pest bird abatement," the Giants are exploring their options regarding the falcons.If all goes as planned, the gulls get to the point where they can sense when the falcons are in the area and stay away.Birds of prey have often been part of the big league scene.The Minnesota Twins' Target Field attracted a male American Kestrel last year. He became a fan favorite and even generated a Twitter account with the username TargetFieldHawk and was named Kirby the Kestrel.In other baseball bird news, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Thursday it was sending a thank-you note to Giants outfielder Cody Ross "for being a fine friend to the feathered."A press release from PETA - subject line: "Goose Abuse Makes Major League Champ Cody Ross Gag" - said that when Ross "learned that foie gras is made by shoving tubes down the throats of ducks and geese, often causing serious injuries, and force-feeding the birds until their livers become painfully engorged, he immediately decided to change ducks' luck and dump foie gras."

A's spring training Day 40: Manaea downplays struggles after walking five

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A's spring training Day 40: Manaea downplays struggles after walking five

MESA, Ariz. — Something flipped a switch inside Sean Manaea in the third inning Saturday, and the A’s left-hander pitched with the aggressiveness he’s shown most of spring training.

It was a different story before that, as Manaea issued five walks, two of them forcing in runs, against the Cincinnati Reds. His final Cactus League outing ended after just three innings, his pitch count at more than 70, and he was charged with five earned runs.

“I was trying to nibble at the corners too much,” Manaea said. “The third inning I finally just said, ‘Throw it right down the middle and let them hit it.’”

The plan was to get Manaea close to 90 pitches, so he went to the bullpen and threw 10 more after he was pulled from the game. He entered the day with a 2.81 ERA in his first five outings, walking just one in each of those games.

He downplayed his struggles Saturday in Oakland’s 11-6 split-squad defeat at Hohokam Stadium, and manager Bob Melvin wasn’t expressing major concern either.

“He was just out of sync,” Melvin said. “Typically you don’t see him walk guys like that, let alone multiple guys in a row. It was just a tough day for him. We wanted to try to get him close to 90 pitches. But when you’re throwing that many pitches in three innings, I just couldn’t risk sending him back out there.”

Manaea was stressing the positives of his camp afterward. As he preps for one final tune-up start at AT&T Park against the Giants in the Bay Bridge Series, he particularly likes the way his slider has rounded into form.

“Just being able to have that confidence to throw it for a strike and get weak ground balls and swings and misses, it’s huge,” he said.

CAMP BATTLE: The A’s lost their other split-squad matchup by an identical 11-6 score to the Dodgers in Glendale. Jesse Hahn took the hill and struggled for the second consecutive outing, allowing two homers — including a grand slam by Andrew Toles — and surrendering seven runs (five earned) over 3 1/3 innings. Competing for one of two open rotation spots, Hahn hasn’t shown his best in the Cactus League stretch run. He gave up seven runs against Colorado in his previous start.

PROSPECT WATCH:Lazaro Armenteros, the A’s 17-year-old stud outfield prospect better known as “Lazarito”, is believed to have become the youngest player in franchise history to appear in a Cactus League game. Armenteros entered at the DH spot in the eighth against the Dodgers and went 0-for-2, flying out to right-center and popping up to shallow center. With the A’s short on position players, Armenteros was brought over from minor league camp and got a little exposure to the big league environment. He’ll stay in Arizona through extended spring training and then head to play in the Dominican Summer League.

ODDS AND ENDS: Third baseman Trevor Plouffe had two more hits against the Reds to raise his average to .425 but left the game after tweaking an abductor muscle in his lower body. “He felt like he’s OK. We just didn’t wanna risk that,” Melvin said. … Rajai Davis connected for his first spring home run and scored three runs. … Sean Doolittle gave up two runs in his inning of work but struck out three. He sported his new eyeglasses for the first time in a major league game. … Matt Chapman hit a three-run homer off former Athletic Rich Hill in the game at Glendale.

Sharks' Vlasic out of the lineup again

Sharks' Vlasic out of the lineup again

NASHVILLE – Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic is out of the lineup again.

The defenseman, who didn’t play on Tuesday in Minnesota with the flu and took just one shift in the third period on Friday in Dallas, was scratched for Saturday’s road trip finale against the Predators. The team stated Saturday’s absence was due to his being sick, although it should be noted he was spotted leaving the dressing room on Friday in Dallas not walking completely right.

The Sharks are 2-3-1 in games Vlasic missed this season entering Saturday night. 

Chris Tierney was also scratched, and is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Is was just the second game he has missed this season.

Dylan DeMelo drew into the lineup for Vlasic, while Timo Meier got back in on the fourth line with Micheal Haley and Marcus Sorensen.

Melker Karlsson (lower body) remains out.