The Long Road to the Playoff's

Welcome to the 11th Czar’s blog of 2016.

This is a special blog in that it covers the rest of this home series, and the next.  That is because the Czar is heading to Indonesia for almost three weeks of scuba diving and trying to pick up the Giants scores from what internet might be available in the far reaches of the Labuanbajo-Maumere corridor. 

We are at the beginning of August and anyone who watched today’s Casilla meltdown (3 run HR in the top of the ninth to finish the bullpen blowing a 6 run lead) that cost us a series win against the Orioles, understands torture, frustration and gnashing your teeth so hard that a visit to the dentist is not only mandatory but desired, just for the pain medication.

The Orioles, who now have the identical record of the Giants (66 and 51) and are a half game back of Toronto in the AL East, are a good team (huge guys with big bats – true monsters) with an excellent closer and will be in the playoffs.  But they are not that good, and today’s game should not have been lost. We hope that the kick in the teeth administered today by the Orange birds shakes something up, like demoting Casilla and establishing Law as the closer.

The only saving grace in all of this is that the Dodgers (one of the best hitting teams in baseball mind you) also lost.  That leaves the Giants one game in front of the NL West, which at times (considering the 8 and 18 record since the All-Star break) should be considered a miracle. Someone out there is saying their prayers and its working.

It’s not all dark. The Giants are still 11th in MLB in hitting (.258 team BA), 4th in pitching (3.68 team ERA) and 10th in fielding (.985 fielding average).  That is, of course, reflective of the excellent play before the last 25 or so games when they have basically tanked.  Regardless, that also means there is room to come back in the next two home series (Pirates, Mets, Braves and Snakes), to see what can be done in the showdown coming at Chavez Ravine next week, and perform well at the beginning of the stretch run during the first week of September in Chicago against the rampaging Cubs.

There is a lot of baseball left and it’s time to suck it up.

What about the trades, will they pay off?

Most of the scribes agree that the Giants trade deadline moves improved the team.  I agree with the consensus but I don’t think that they did enough and I don’t think that the value exchanged was necessarily even.

Matt Moore was picked up from the Marlins. Matt has a career 3.86 ERA with good strikeout pitches. This trade cost Matt Duffy (still on the DL but playing now) going to the Marlins with some prospects.  

Getting Moore as a starter freed up Peavy to go to the bullpen for what will likely be the last few months of his major league career.  Peavy is enough of a gamer that even a few innings of vintage Jake out of the bullpen will be worth it in the playoffs.  Think Jeremy Affeldt against the Cards in the 2014 NLCS to advance to the WS. Seriously.

Duffy was expendable (no matter how much everyone liked him) because of the outstanding play of Eduardo Nunez, a .300 plus hitter and base stealer with adequate to good defense (great grab of the game today), who arrived from Minnesota earlier in the month in return for a well-regarded minor league left hander – Mejia.

Finally, the Giants picked up another middle to late inning reliever, Will Smith, from the Brewers for Andrew Susac and Phil Bickford.  Smith is an expensive player considering the trade value given up.  The rationale I hear was that Susac is stuck behind Posey and Trevor Brown and while Bickford was a top pitching prospect Smith is young and under team control for another three years. However Smith hasn’t shown much yet.  Now if he could have replaced Casilla maybe this would have been a good deal. Personally I’m ready to ask if Trevor Hoffman is ready to come out of retirement.

The trades were made specifically to improve the bullpen. Now consider the number of leads that the bullpen has squandered recently (including today) and tell me if the improvement is there. Just saying.

Can the G-Men put it back together?

The most important moves over the last four weeks have been getting Panik and Pence back from the DL. Panik is starting to hit with regularity and his defense is sparking, although he still looks like he should be on the inside cover of a high school yearbook as prom king.

Pence is an animal.  Check out his black eye from hitting himself in the eye with a foul ball.  He ranged all over the outfield today and hit a huge dinger.  If he gets untracked he and Buster can carry the team over the next seven weeks all by themselves.  Speaking of Buster, he is a hall of fame catcher and a true joy to watch.  Do not miss a Posey at-bat, ever, and check out his percentage of base stealers thrown out. I believe that it’s the best in baseball.

The hitting should be there, but hasn’t been for some reason. Belt looks like he is getting untracked, Crawford had the first 7 hit game in the history of the Giants (after another bullpen meltdown), Pagan is on a 12 game hitting streak and Span is getting clutch RBI’s.  It shouldn’t be as tight as it has been.  These guys are good regardless of the number of runners left on base with less than two outs. I don’t know where the clutch hitting went but unless it returns we are in for a very long seven weeks.

Finally, a word about the pitching.  Bum and Cueto look really good and we will see what Moore and Samardjiza can do but none of them can carry the team. The starters and the relievers need to pick up their game if they expect to taste anything more than the wild card or maybe the NLDS in October.

The answer to the question posed above is YES.  However they need to improve in every facet of the game and play like the champions they are.

The Upcoming Games

The Pirates come into town tomorrow after handing some pain to the Dodgers. The Bucs are chasing a wild card spot one game behind the Cards (in a division with the Cubs 13 games up) and just whaled on the Dodgers. The Lumber Company wants it and the G-Men had better be prepared. Everyone likes the Pirates, and Vogelsong will get one hell of a welcome when he shows up to pitch at AT&T.

Then the Mets come into town, one game over .500, hurting and out of sorts.  Of course that means they will play like the 27 Yankees against the G-Men.

The series after the show-down and shoot-out in Chavez Ravine will feature the Braves and the Snakes.  Two teams way down in the standings but two teams who have historically played well against the Orange and he Black. However that will start September and I will be back then with my glove in the stands trying to catch a foul ball while balancing an Irish coffee and eating a crab sandwich.

May the force, and seven innings from the starters, be with you always.

That’s it!

Ciao, and GO GIANTS!

The Czar

  1. National Conference of State Liquor Administrators – The Alcohol Industry gathers in Hawaii to figure out how to enforce the US “Highly Archaic Regulatory Scheme.”
  2. Founder John Hinman Honored with the Raphael House Community Impact Award
  3. ROUTE TO MARKET AND MARKETING RESTRICTIONS - NAVIGATING REGULATORY SYSTEM CONSTRAINTS
  4. Alcohol and Cannabis Ventures: Top 5 Legal Considerations
  5. ATF and TTB: Is Another Divorce on the Horizon? What’s Going on with the Agency?
  6. STRIKE 3 - YOU REALLY ARE OUT! THE ABC'S STRICT APPLICATION OF PENALTIES FOR SALES TO MINORS
  7. TTB Temporarily Fixes Problem with Fulfillment Warehouse Tax Credits - an “Alternate Procedure” for Paying Taxes & Reporting
  8. CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE HAD ONE TOO MANY - THE FREE TRANSPORTATION DILEMMA
  9. The Renaissance of Federal Unfair Trade Practices - Current Issues and Strategies
  10. ‘Twas the week before New Year’s and the ABC is out in Force – Alerts for the Last Week of 2017, including the Limits on Free Rides
  11. Big Bottles, Caviar and a CA Wine Strong Silent Auction for the Holidays!
  12. The FDA and the Wine and Spirits Industry – Surprise inspections anyone?
  13. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: UPDATED REGULATORY AGENCY DISASTER RELIEF RESOURCES AT A GLANCE
  14. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: REGULATORY AGENCY DISASTER RELIEF RESOURCES AT A GLANCE
  15. Soon to come to your Local Supermarket– Instant Redeemable Coupons of the digital age!
  16. The License Piggyback Dilemma – If it Sounds Too Good to be True, it Probably is
  17. A timely message from our Florida colleagues on the tied house laws, the three-tier system and the need for reform
  18. ABC Declaratory Rulings – A Modest Proposal Whose Time has Come
  19. More on FDA Inspections - Breweries, Distilleries and Questions
  20. WHY THE FDA IS INSPECTING WINERIES
  21. Senate Bill 378—The Proposed Demise of Due Process for Alcohol Licensees
  22. ABC Enforcement - Trends and Predictions
  23. The Corruption Chronicles – Volume One: A New Hope
  24. New Alcohol Delivery Oversight on the Horizon
  25. Michigan: Canary in the DtC Coal Mine?
  26. California ABC and Federal Credit Laws – Active Enforcement and Lots of Questions!
  27. Big Bottles For The Holidays - The Highest Calling Of The Winemaker's Art
  28. FINAL COMMENTS TO TTB NOTICE 160 DUE ON WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 7TH – WE ARE ASKING THE TTB TO EXTEND THE COMMENT PERIOD AGAIN TO ALLOW FOR INDUSTRY NEGOTIATION AND ALIGNMENT OF INTERESTS
  29. SONOMA COUNTY WINERY USE PERMITS, EVENT RESTICTIONS AND DTC
  30. New TTB Labeling Requirement Regulations: Out-of-State Bottling Is Not Created Equal and Consumers Right to Know Where the Grapes in their Wine Come from is Compromised
  31. Isn't A Written Agreement With A Distributor Worthless In A Franchise State?
  32. Crowd Funding for Alcohol Producers and Retailers – Down the Rabbit Hole with the Tied House laws
  33. Everything you ever wanted to know about the BPA Warning Statement but were afraid to ask
  34. AB 2082 - A Hunting License for Police and a Lethal Weapon for Politicians that Deprives Licensees of Currently Available Due Process Rights
  35. “Better Late Than Never”-- Judge in Illinois Dismisses 201 Sales Tax Cases against Retailers
  36. The Day the Music Almost Died: The Story of the BottleRock ABC Accusations, the ABC Appeals Board and a Victory for a Common Sense Interpretation of the Tied House Laws
  37. The Arsenic in Wine Class Action Dismissal – what it means
  38. Counterfeit or Artisanal Mexican Spirits? Pick your Poison, or your lime wedge
  39. Warning - CA ABC enforcement teams are on the prowl this weekend!
  40. RELIEF AT LAST! ILLINOIS MOVES TO FIX THE SALES TAX LAWSUITS AGAINST OUT-OF-STATE SELLERS BUT PROPOSES TO PENALIZE WINERIES AND RETAILERS THAT SHIP WITHOUT PERMITS
  41. The TTB Speaks on Category Management or, be Careful What you Ask for Because you might Get it!
  42. Hinman & Carmichael LLP Announces the Addition of Jeremy Siegel to its team of top beverage law lawyers
  43. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part IV
  44. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part III
  45. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part II
  46. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part I
  47. Hinman & Carmichael LLP is Hiring!
  48. John Hinman Presents NBI Webinar on Basics of Alcohol Beverage Law
  49. ABC DISMISSES SAVE MART GRAPE ESCAPE ACCUSATION BUT REFUSES TO ADOPT JUDGE’S DECISION FINDING NO STRICT LIABILITY FOR ABC VIOLATIONS
  50. Speakeasies are still with us, and proliferating!
  51. The War for the Soul of Sonoma County – the Winery Working Group Battle
  52. Santa Claus isn’t the only one coming to town this Christmas!
  53. Arizona's Direct to Consumer Shipping Rules - An Exercise in Complexity
  54. AB 780 - Social Media and the ABC: The California Legislative “Fix” that Fails
  55. Illinois Finally Offers Certainty and Relief for Victims of Sales Tax Lawsuits, but Prompt Action is Required in Pending Cases
  56. A Modest Proposal – Adopt the federal rule on Tied-House liability in California
  57. The Grapes Escaped - Why the First Amendment Matters
  58. Appellate Court Ruling Strikes Blow Against State’s Arbitrary Beer Label Ban
  59. Illinois Attorney General's Office Announces Intention to Dismiss False Claims Act Against Liquor Retailers
  60. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part III
  61. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part II
  62. Craft Beverages: Social Media Marketing the Effective and Compliant Way
  63. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part I
  64. A LAYPERSON LOOKS AT ARSENIC IN WINE
  65. The Biggest Retailer in the World vs. the TABC
  66. Rebecca Stamey-White presents Emerging Issues in Wine Law
  67. Top Beverage Alcohol Law Firm Adds and Elevates Partners
  68. Illinois Qui Tam Lawsuits—Private Enforcement Of a State Claim: A Bonanza For A Plaintiff’s Lawyer And A Rip-Off Of Retailers
  69. BOOZE RULES OF SOCIAL MEDIA: The Retailer Right to Pay Exception
  70. LIONS AND TIGERS AND TWEETS, OH MY!
  71. AB 2004: Brewer's Incremental Parity with Wine Makers
  72. Expanding, Proud Of It, and Wanting to Tell the World
  73. DC Weighs in Strongly on Third Party Marketer Delivery Services
  74. “Visual Links” between Beer, Wine and Spirits Labels and Retailers Ruled Unlawful in California — the tied house laws run amok
  75. Hard Cider Legislative Update
  76. New Marketing Model for New York – Lot 18 and the NYSLA
  77. Sweeping Changes in Proposed NYSLA Bill Include Expansion for Craft
  78. Minimum Resale Price Policies - How to Control Price-Cutters
  79. AB 2130 – Gloves Off?
  80. “Gluten-Free” Labels for Wine, Beer and Distilled Spirits. We’re Still Waiting.
  81. AB 1252: Sanitation Overkill?
  82. Growlers: Not Just for Beer Anymore
  83. California Legislative Roundup 2014
  84. Build It and They Will Come: Craft Products Get New Privileges in CA and TX
  85. AB 1128: Veto of the “Serve a Minor” Felony Penalty Bill, or How to Lose a Winery in One Sale
  86. California Grocers Association v. ABC, Part 2: California Appeals Court Vacates ABC’s Adoption of a Trade Advisory That Correctly Guided Licensee Conduct
  87. California Grocers Association v. ABC, Part 1: California Appeals Court Prohibits Alcohol Sales at Self-Check Out Stands
  88. AB 1128: The “Serve a Minor” Felony Penalty Bill, or How to Lose a Winery in One Sale
  89. The New York SLA and Online Wine Sales: A Work in Progress
  90. California SB 635: What the 4am Bill Really Means for California Communities
  91. Electronic Invoices in California: Welcome to the 19th Century
  92. The History of Amazon and Wine: What Has Changed?
  93. Third Party Marketing Checklist
  94. BOOZE RULES – PROMOTIONAL APPEARANCES AND AUTOGRAPHS
  95. Washington State: Down the Rabbit Hole of the Tied-House Laws