Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Monday, April 1, 2013

Some Opening Day Notes

When the Dodgers entered the home half of the 8th inning today deadlocked in a 0-0 tie, I really thought that Mattingly was going to lift Kershaw for a pinch hitter.  Past history seemed to show that to be a patent move for Mattingly.  Afterall, this was opening day and Kershaw hadn’t been stretched out for over 90 pitches more than once or twice this spring in outings where he hadn’t had much success.  
Clayton Kershaw connects with his first career homer in the 8th inning of today's action (photo capture CSN Bay Area)

Kershaw had already thrown 85 pitches, and the Dodgers needed to get a man on base to score that go-ahead run.  The first ever home run by Clayton made Mattingly’s decision even sweeter.  it was the first successful game winning move that Mattingly made in the 2013 season.  Chalk one up for the Dodger manager on day one.

Clayton Kershaw was every bit the ace that we expected him to be.  The concerns that many had about some of his lackluster spring training outings were all for naught.  This is a guy that knows how to prepare for the season and knows when games count.  He’s all business once the curtain rises and opening day is official.

Carl Crawford was thrown out attempting to steal third base in the first inning, a move that essentially killed a promising rally.  Though he didn’t make the first or third out at third base, it still was quite a blunder.  
Carl Crawford called out at third, 1st inning (photo capture CSN Bay Area)

Kemp had just been retired in an affective 11 pitch at-bat.  Cain was laboring and at the time Adrian Gonzalez was working a 3-0 count.  Additionally, because AGon is a left handed batter, Posey had an unobstructed thrown to third base that was on the money.  Crawford got a good jump and I’m fairly certain that he thought he could easily steal the bag, (based on his reaction to being called out), but in that situation, you’ve got to be 100% certain that you’re going to make it.

That move was the difference maker in the Dodgers knocking out Cain early, or whether he’d have a good outing.  The latter occurred.  Because of that bathpath blunder Cain got a reprieve and pretty much cruised from that point on until he was relieved in the 7th inning.

The Dodger defense played flawlessly and looked particularly good in all four infield positions.  Sparkling plays were made by Cruz, Sellers, Mark Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez.  I’m liking the decision to start Sellers at shortstop more and more.  if the remaining cast of offensive players can put up the runs, the infusion of Sellers into the lineup should prove to be productive.

What’s with Larry King and the changing of seats?  I know money is no object with this guy, but does he have season tickets strategically placed in four or five places in the seats behind home plate?  He’s all over the place throughout the game.  In the first inning he’s sitting in the first row between Mary Hart and Dennis Gilbert.  A few innings later he’s seated several rows back next to Giant CEO and Executive Director Larry Baer.  Later on he’s in the fourth or fifth row and then later I spot him in the second row.  

Larry King, in his 1st inning first row seat (photo capture CSN Bay Area)

It got to be an obsession for me to attempt to spot the old man in his light blue, long sleeved shirt.  Maybe he suffers from hyper-activity or something and he can’t stay in one place for a significant period of time.  I know one thing that's certain, if I decide to change seats four or five times a game, there's going to be an usher that calls me on it.  Larry, find your seat and STAY THERE!

(photo capture, CSN Bay Area)

In case no one noticed.  Pablo Sandoval is looking real fat this year.

Since I was stuck watching the Giants feed and even ESPN was blacked out in my neck of the woods, I was forced to watch the Giant announcers call the game.  What resulted was very little visuals of the pageantry.  A sliver of Koufax's first pitch (after the fact) and a very biased call of the game.  I know that things were magical during pre-game introductions, but do you think that the Giant telecast is going to show any of that?

(photo capture-Fox Sports Prime Ticket)

When the post game show on Prime Ticket was on (about 15 minutes late), I was finally able to see some clips of the pre-game festivities.

Every year it seems that I write an article or two about San Francisco radio sportstalk stations and their biased coverage of the baseball season.  That probably is unfair of me because let’s face it, they’ve had a lot to brag about lately.  This morning during morning drive time, those guys were in mid-season form with their Dodger bashing.  

I won’t get into it other than say that there is no greater pleasure these guys get than poking fun at the Dodgers.  While the last two years they laughed at the bankruptcy, this year they poked fun at the excess riches of the ownership on the probability, (in their view), that the Dodgers will come up short.

This is my 17th consecutive baseball season where I have been in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Before that, I spent several years in the San Diego Area.  What it comes down to is I have been away from Los Angeles now since opening day, 1986.   That’s 27 years, half of my life.  All these years have passed and I still consider Los Angeles as my home town.   I’m starting to wonder why now, but for some people, by their “roots ye hsall know them.” 

When I left L.A. due to a work assignment, the ’84 Olympics were still fresh in our minds, the Lakers were in the midst of the amazing Showtime era, Kirk Gibson was still a Tiger and Jack Clark and the Cardinals had just broken our hearts in the NLCS.  My daughter was a few months old and today she’s married, a college graduate and 27 years old.  

Having lived in three rival NL West cities in my lifetime, (Phoenix being the third, prior to the D-Backs arrival), the San Francisco years have definitely been the most difficult.  After many years of ineptitude, the Giants got good.  Initially through their players chemical enhancements and then they figured out that pitching is the name of the game and they shored up their rotation.
Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow in mourning after the game (photo capture, CSN Bay Area)

Now here we are, the Giants having won two World Series and the globe continues turning normally on it’s axis.  This is something that I never imagined happening.

Madison Bumgarner vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu tomorrow night.  It should be another good one.

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