Detroit columnist bashes AT&T Park, Giants fans


Detroit columnist bashes AT&T Park, Giants fans

Rael Enteen staff writer

SAN FRANCISCO – Welcome to San Francisco, where we like our clam chowder with a side of baseball. At least that’s what one out-of-town writer believes.

Detroit Free Press columnist Jeff Seidel wrote a Pulitzer-quality piece on the eve of Game 1 of the World Series that blasts Giants fans and their cathedral of baseball, AT&T Park, with some cheap shots that would make Scott Cousins and Matt Holliday proud.

After starting off with some basic compliments about the Giants’ “talented team” and “amazing, beautiful stadium,” Seidel’s piece takes a turn towards the intolerable:

“The Giants have a Build-A-Bear Workshop in the stands behind leftfield at AT&T Park. Seriously. How the heck can you lose to a team where the fans can go to a game and stuff a teddy bear and then buy a cute little outfit? Can you imagine that in Detroit? Get real. We’d run them out of town, just because it sounds so wimpy.”

Really? That’s your best bullet to lead with? Teddy bears? If the “bleacher bums” were walking around with custom Lou Seal cheerleader dolls, that would be one thing. But instead, Seidel is targeting a very small and helpless demographic: Toddlers. How dare parents with a little more disposable income treat their young children to a stuffed toy that may later serve a nostalgic purpose, reminding them of their day at the ballpark?

Seidel would’ve been better off criticizing the Giants for growing an avocado tree behind the centerfield wall, though he may just be learning about the wonderful fruit from those endless Subway and Taco Bell commercials. Michigan isn’t known for its green gold like California is.

After Seidel so wittily attacked fans of teddy bears, he moves on to a much more important subject. You see, Seidel isn’t a fan of the Coke bottle slides, calling them a “McDonald’s play station on steroids.”

Doesn’t Comerica Park in Detroit have it’s own playground attraction? His explanation:

“Yeah, the Tigers have a carousel. But carousels are cool.”

Point taken. A thousand apologies, Mr. Seidel. Maybe Larry Baer will work on a proposal to turn the Coke bottle into a roller coaster that might up the ‘cool’ factor at AT&T Park.

The next part of Mr. Seidel’s holier-than-thou opus focuses on food.

“AT&T Park isn’t a baseball stadium. It’s an exotic food court that happens to have a baseball field.”

Maybe “Tyler Florence’s Grab of the Game” segment on the scoreboard deserves some constructive criticism. And the prices around the ballpark could certainly be adjusted to better serve the 99%. But why in the world would you criticize the high quality of a ballpark’s cuisine?

Seidel’s expert observational skills lead him to describe Giants fans as “eating garlic fries, crab sandwiches on grilled sourdough bread, clam chowder, fried calamari, sweet potato fries with cinnamon and chipotle sprinkle, and clove garlic chicken sandwiches.”

Then there’s this: “Few San Francisco fans would ever lower themselves to eating a beer and a brat.”

It’s so lazy to rely on a “Detroit is blue collar and San Francisco is white collar” angle. As a journalist, Seidel should spend more time trying to study a story idea before jumping to conclusions based on what must be a small sample size. Maybe Seidel was invited to a corporate suite and assumed that the fans in view reserved all enjoy the same luxuries.

Siedel saves his best work for last. After going through the dimensions of the AT&T Park outfield, he writes “it looks like a little kid designed the outfield wall by scribbling in the sand.”

The brick wall that separates the field of play from McCovey Cove is one of the most unique aspects of AT&T Park. It may create a challenge for outfielders, but it also gives the Giants a true home-field advantage. Hunter Pence hasn’t quite mastered the bounces off the bricks like Nate Schierholtz did before him, but there’s a learning curve with that area of the field. Of course, Seidel didn’t take the time to look at defensive metrics and make a worthwhile point. Instead, we get observations like “the outfield wall is strange and quirky.”

The grand conclusion of Seidel’s piece:

“It is against the laws of nature – it is against the laws of baseball – to go a baseball game and eat clam chowder and drink Irish coffee while holding a little teddy bear.”

Since Seidel declared himself judge, jury and executioner of both the laws of nature and baseball, maybe he’ll allow me to assume the same role when it comes to the laws of journalism. If you’re one of the lucky few who gets paid to attend some of the most spectacular sporting events in the world, the least you can do is reward your readers with some thoughtful and well-articulated prose.

Maybe next time, Mr. Seidel. 

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

Team USA dominates Puerto Rico to win 2017 World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.

Puerto Rico in scarce supply of hair dye amid World Baseball Classic fever

Puerto Rico in scarce supply of hair dye amid World Baseball Classic fever

AN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Pharmacies and beauty stores across Puerto Rico are running out of hair dye with even a top economist joining men going blond in support of the island's baseball players who bleached their hair ahead of the World Baseball Classic.

What began as a joke among team members playing in California has spread across the island in a trend that spiked Tuesday just hours after Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands in 11 innings to reach the championship game undefeated in the tournament, which is held every four years. Puerto Rico will play Wednesday night in the final against the United States, which defeated Japan.

"Ever since they began winning, this has not stopped," said Myrna Rios, a manager at a Sally Beauty Supply store in the capital of San Juan. "We have run out of the product in most of our stores."

Copper blond, platinum blond, golden blond - all shades of blond (even burnt orange) are turning heads in a U.S. territory where the majority of men have thick, dark hair. Bald men dyed their beards or goatees in a nod to Puerto Rico coach Carlos Delgado.

"We have been able to unite our country with our blond hair," said star Carlos Correa, who hit a two-run homer and scored the winning run against the Netherlands. "That's what we want as players to unite our country, our people, and give them the best."

Men ranging from news anchors to university students to professionals have embraced a trend that has sparked the rallying cry of "Team Rubio!" or "Team Blond" in Spanish.

Among them is civil engineer Christian Rodriguez, who dyed his beard Saturday after visiting four different pharmacies to find the product he needed. At first, he didn't dye his hair as well because he thought it would be too much at church on Sunday. But he noticed six male churchgoers had dyed their hair blond and decided to take the plunge, calling a hair stylist friend to help him go platinum.

Rodriguez complained of an intense burning sensation during the two-hour process and sent pictures to his wife, who responded with the emoticon of a monkey with its eyes covered.

"Anything for my island!" he said as he lifted his arm to cheer the team.

Rodriguez then sent a picture of his dyed hair to his mechanic, who responded with a selfie taken underneath a car of him smiling with a bleached beard.

Puerto Rico's undefeated run to the championship has boosted the spirit of an island mired in a decade-long recession that faces a rocky recovery amid looming austerity measures for its government. Even young students have been sporting blond do's, prompting public schools to suspend them until the island's education secretary stepped in and said in a letter made public Tuesday that they should be allowed to dye their hair during the tournament.

"We wanted to do this to unite the team, and then the people of Puerto Rico, they started dying their hair, too," pitcher Edwin Diaz said. "I saw that there were some students that were suspended from school. I think they shouldn't be doing that because it just means that we have united our nation."

Even the prominent Puerto Rico-based economist Sergio Marxuach joined the trend, sporting yellow hair as he walked into a seminar in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, drawing laughs.

"My youngest son asked me, 'Why did you paint your hair like Donald Trump?'" he recalled with a laugh. "If this team can give us hope, we're going to need it given what's coming down the pipe."