Angels, Padres and the Marlin's - 10 game series

Welcome to the 3rd Czar’s blog of 2015 celebrating our World Champion San Francisco Giants! 

 

The Giants really are that bad but if so how come they are doing as well as they are?

Anyone who has watched the Giants in April should be wondering how a team that appears to be so wretched has actually won10 games.  The Giants have a team BA right north of the Mendoza line, have stranded 174 men on base, have hit into more double plays (21) than any other team in baseball (thank you Casey McGehee), are scoring an almost MLB low of 3.0 runs per game (thank you Phillies for being worse) and have a pitching staff ERA somewhere above 4. In short, when you only score an average of 3 runs per game and give up an average of 4 runs you can’t expect to win many games.

Sure there are excuses, plenty of them. Injuries abound. Pence is still out with a broken arm (due back at that end of May), Cain is still out with a tight forearm but is starting to throw and may be back this month, Peavy is out with back problems and Ishikawa has a bad back. However a lot of team have much longer injury lists than the Giants.

So how come the G-Men are only 4 and half games back in the NL West (maybe the toughest division in MLB) after the worst April start since 1991 (not a memorable year)?

The answer to the question, I think, is Bruce Bochy and the bullpen.  The pen continues to be exceptionally strong and most of the games the G-Men won (like last night with a bottom of the 9th walk-off) were one run nail biting affairs. Those kind of games tell you that the manager has kept the team in the game until something good happens (like taking two out of three from the Dodgers or winning on the road).

It’s now May and let’s see if the torture of one run games can’t be abated a bit in favor of better baseball. However I still suspect that we are in for low scoring tense games for quite some time to come.

Who is good, who is not good and who cares?

The good includes the team’s only .300 hitters, Aoki and Pagan.  Nori is a gamer and the best lead-off hitter we have had in quite a while.  He gets on base, leads the team in steals (with 6 as of last night) and is an all-around pesky player. Pagan (clearly healthy now) hitting in the three hole has been a revelation.  He has been a tough out and leads the team in hits (with 32).

The RBI and HR leader is Crawford, who continues to be probably the smoothest shortstop in the game.  Maxwell has been a breath of fresh air with good defense in RF, the most dingers behind Crawford (tied with Posey who is, well, Buster Posey) and a dazzling smile.  However, and watch this when you see the game, the league is starting to figure him out and he is now getting a steady diet of off-speed pitches and junk, which he is going to have to learn to handle

After that it gets really thin.  Belt is really scuffling, McGehee should be sent down to the minors to get rid of the yips (and his reputation for hitting into double plays is, as it turns out, well deserved – how much rope Bochy will continue to give him is the real question) and find his stroke and the bench has been quiet. The G-men have very little power, and it shows.

Future bright lights continue to be Panik and Duffy (and Susac off the bench) but they are basically rookies and it shows (although Panik’s walk off last night was a thing of beauty).

The real problem is the starting pitching.  The best pitcher on the team (from an ERA perspective) right now is Heston. Bum however looked great beating Kershaw this last week and I think that his season is going to just get better and better.  Beyond that it’s a wasteland. Peavy was a train wreck before he went on the DL, Vogelsong is giving up HR’s in bunches (it’s tough to come back from two three-run dingers in 4 innings) and may be done. As for Timmy, well which one are we going to get is always the question, the Timmy that throws strikes and pitches like an All-Star or the one that is throwing batting practice to the other team?

Hudson, for his part (and he pitches today) looks ready to retire.   He is adequate if the bullpen can support him but I don’t see any fire there and if that is the case it’s going to be a long year for him  before he retires at the end of this season.  We need a healthy Matt Cain back for starters. There is no pitching depth in the farm system so maybe Sabean has something in mind; if so, we will have to wait and see what happens.

The bottom line is that the G-Men are lumbering along like an old car not hitting on all cylinders but doing just enough to get us to the next stop. Maybe Pence returning (to continue the analogy) will be the sparkplug we need to start playing better in every facet of the game

I guess that we all have to remember that THE GIANTS  ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS and everyone else is not.  That felt good to write.

The Upcoming Series - a cage match

This series coming up, the Angels, Padres and Marlins are important from a number of perspectives.  All three teams are playing around, or below, .500 ball so it will be a good test of the Giants will.  All three teams have better team ERA’s, BA’s, runs scored (and every other conceivable stat) than the G-Men so we will be underdog’s in every series.  If the Giants can hang in there at home, or win more than they lose (and last night was a great start) then we can start to move up the ladder of the NL West.

It’s time for baseball!

Ciao, and GO GIANTS!

The Czar

Welcome to MASH -- McCovey Cove style

Welcome to the 2nd Czar’s blog of 2015 celebrating our World Champion San Francisco Giants!  

 

It is hard to believe how many injuries have occurred four games into the season, and how quickly many of them seem to be healing.  Pence broke his arm in the spring but the cast is off and he should start hitting soon, meanwhile he is a super cheerleader.  Cain was scratched before his first start with forearm tightness and is on the DL, hopefully not for long. Belt hurt his groin on a pop fly but didn’t get put on the DL and is expected to be playing this weekend. Ishikawa remains in Sacramento where I expect he will be for a while and Peavy’s back stiffness seems to have abated enough for him to start Sunday against the Padres.

Regardless of this litany of owies, the G-men are 3 and 1 in their first 4 games. They took their first series of the year against the Snakes, and won a 12 inning stunner against the Padres last night behind Hudson, who looked very good, and a parade of relievers including Kontos, who got the W.

Does anyone else feel like we are still in the playoffs?

 

How are the pre-season offensive projections working out?

Well, it is really early but right now the top of the order looks REALLY good.  Nori Aoki (.412) and Joe Panik (.250 but timely hits) are setting the table, Pagan (.333) is hitting like the second coming of Joe DiMaggio, Buster is hitting game winning HR’s and Crawford (.278)  is absolutely awesome, with clutch hits and clutch defense.

Casey apparently has a case of the yips (at least looking at his two errors last night) but is still hitting .293 with a dinger in his first three starts.  We haven’t really seen Belt break loose yet but Duffy, with 7 at-bats, is hitting .429 and Hector Sanchez, with 8 at-bats, is hitting .375. Not too shabby.

The point is that the lack of offense in the pre-season hype is not what we are seeing at the beginning of this season, at least in Arizona and San Diego so far. The G-Men are scoring runs with style, grace and regularity. It is a really fun team to watch, especially when stuff like Pagan getting brushed back in the “gum” incident and taking it out on Craig Kimbrell for a triple happens.

 

Is the pitching there, as advertised?

With the exception of Cain going down and Vogelsong giving up two 3-run dingers in Arizona in the game that was lost down there (you don’t win games where you give up runs like that), the pitching has been strong.  Last night was awesome. Hudson for 6, then the bullpen through 12 in a one-run game that felt like the playoffs.

Tonight is Lincecum. Saturday is Bum, Sunday is Peavy and Monday is Heston.  Not like they drew it up last week but the G-Men are carrying 13 pitchers to get through this run of 23 games without a day off so the depth is there.  The bullpen looks strong and everyone is contributing, with arms in Sacramento if we need them.

I think, based on what we have seen so far, that we can feel  real good about this team.

 

The Defense – just hit it to Crawford

The defense has been good. The runs against isn’t bad defense but three-run homers (we are a little worried about Vogie, he needs to pitch less innings), which are not defendable.  Crawford is starting out the year like a human highlight reel, reaching balls beyond the range of any other shortstop in the game, doing trick tosses for double plays and having an arm like a cannon.  Supposedly Tulo is the best SS in the game.  You will have your chance to compare them next week.

What impresses me the most is the team balance and the coaching.  Lose Pence and put Blanco or Maxwell in, shift Duffy all over the infield (he is taking balls at 1st base in practice today), Lose Belt and shift Posey to 1st and put Hector behind the plate so he can get two hits and catch a great game.  Because of the managing, coaching (except for Roberto Kelly getting the yips in his first game) and the set-up of the team the Giants right now are playing like a well-oiled machine - - like, dare I say it - - world champions!

 

The NL West and the next series

The NL is certainly going to be a dogfight.  There are three games left against the Padres and, frankly, if we split in San Diego that is a great opening road trip.

On Monday the Rockies come into AT&T, as yet undefeated (but they opened with a sweep of the Brewers and are playing the Cubs right now – the G-Men will be their first NL West series). The Rockies will be a test for the pitchers and I’m just sorry that I’m going to miss that series. Things to watch are, obviously, all of the Rockies hitters who have a team batting average right now hovering around .400. This will be a serious test of the defense.

On Thursday the Snakes come back into town.  I don’t expect them to do much better than they did in Arizona but they are not a group to be overlooked.

Then, starting on Tuesday the 21st the Dodgers come into town for their first series of the year.  LA might only be 2 and 1 at this point but they are not to be trifled with considering Kershaw and Grienke and the ability of Adrian Gonzales to hit 7 HR’s in 3 games and to be batting almost .800

That’s it. It’s time for baseball!

 

Ciao, and GO GIANTS!

The Czar

2015 Baseball is Here

Welcome to the 1st Czar’s blog of 2015 celebrating our World Champion San Francisco Giants!

First, some history to get you ready for 2015 baseball, Giants style

2010 – a season never forgotten, a rally thong from a veteran and Buster Posey as rookie of the year. 

2012 – we are the champions, Zito pitches for the ages, Lincecum comes through and the Panda destroys Detroit.

2014 – Ishikawa’s channels Bobby Thompson, the most electrifying baseball moment most of us under 90 have ever seen.


A short offseason, a spring training that did not look good and the last position battles

The G-Men went to Arizona. 19 losses, 9 wins and 2 ties later the G-Men are ready to come home tomorrow night and Friday and then go on the road again for 8 games before they come home to start the regular season on April 13th.

What happened in Arizona?  Hunter Pence broke his arm (he got hit by a pitch) and is out through the end of April (the only saving grace is that it happened early in spring training, it was a simple fracture and Hunter continues to work out). The play was generally sloppy in Arizona and Bochy got on the players for it.  The good news is that the Giants started to play better about two weeks ago and are now looking like a major league team. Can they up the intensity now? That is the big question.

The question mark for the next four games (before the opener in Arizona against the Snakes) is who is going to finally make the team. There are only a few positions waiting to be finally decided, with the most important being the last utility infield position, which is between Adrianza and Matt Duffy. 

Duffy is batting .385, with 2 HR’s (including a 2 run shot today) and 13 RBI’s.  He got the players Barney Nugent Award for the most inspirational player in camp. Adrianza is batting .234 with no HR’s and 4 RBI’s. The difference between the two, however, is that Duffy has minor league options remaining and Adrianza doesn’t.  If the Giants try to send Adrianza down they might lose him. The betting position right now is that Sabean is on the wire trying to trade Adrianza.  Duffy not making the team would not be the end of the world but I think that we need him and losing Adrianza would not be the end of the world.  After all, we lost Ishi that way, and then got him back when he was released by the Pirates.

Other battles that are over include Justin Maxwell (perhaps the only real consistent HR threat besides Posey and Pence) beating out Juan Perez for the final outfield spot, Hector Sanchez beating out Andrew Susac for back-up catcher (not a bad thing, Susac should play every day and he can’t behind Buster) and Duvall being sent down again (he’s not ready is the consensus).

On the pitching side of things, Machi beat out Kontos and Strickland for the last spot in the bullpen, and Lincecum retained his starter role over Vogelsong with strong games over the last week.

The Team Right Now

The 2015 Giants look a lot like the 2014 Giants with the exception of Michael Morse going to Miami and the Panda defecting to Boston (where he gets to eat freely without being hassled).

The Infield

Around the horn in the infield will be Buster Posey (who is looking really good!) behind the dish and ready for a great year, Brandon Belt at 1st (also looking for a break-out power year after all the injuries last year), Joe Panik (who hurt his ankle today, but the reports are that it’s just a sprain) at 2nd, Brandon Crawford (who us trying to channel Ozzie Smith with trick plays – there is a great video of his trick plays on line) at short and newcomer Casey McGehee at third.

Casey is a respected and loved player wherever he goes. He was the comeback player of the year last year in Miami, hits for high average (lots of doubles), is a solid defender and a good teammate. He just should try not to keep hitting HR’s.  His story (from his days with the Brew Crew onward) is inspirational and he fits well with the G-Men.

The Outfield

In the outfield, Maxwell and Ishikawa will probably split time with Blanco at right, Pagan (if healthy) will be in Center and Aoki (a slick fielder and good hitter for average) will take left field. This is all waiting for the return of Hunter Pence to his place at the wall

I suspect that Maxwell will go down when Pence comes back but it depends.  If Ishikawa is cold and Maxwell is hot it could be Ishi reporting to the Sacramento Grizzlies. Pagan’s health is still a question, although he swears that his back is fine and the only reason he got the shot  in his back was so that he could sleep on a soft bed. We will see.

The Pitchers

The Giant’s front line pitching staff looks strong.  Bumgarner is the best in the game (and that is taking Kershaw into account). Cain is looking good after his recuperation from surgery. Is he the Matt Cain of old?  We will see but I’m betting that he is. Peavy is a question mark because he hasn’t looked good this spring but then again he didn’t look good last season until he did.  Peavy is a gamer. 

This is Hudson’s last year and Rags is going to coddle him I expect.  He will come out of games early for Vogelsong or Petit, which is just fine.  If he can give five innings of classic Hudson ball he’s worth it.

Lincecum is starting.  He worked with his Dad on his mechanics all winter and, as usual, sometimes he has them, and sometimes he doesn’t.  This is a contract year for Timmy and he wants to go into his next uniform (probably as a Mariner) wrapped in glory.  We are all counting on him doing exactly that.

As for the bullpen, the G-Men have the best and most experienced pen in the game. Affeldt, Casilla, Romo, Lopez, now joined by Machi, Vogelsong and Petit are an experienced and awesome crew.

The Intangibles

Bruce Bochy, Ron Wotus, Dave Righetti, Billy Hayes. Roberto Kelly and Brian Sabean (not necessarily in that order).  Tim Flannery retired and there has a little shifting of responsibilities, but not much.  This is a tested group of coaches led by the best manager and the best General Manager in the game.  This is one of the main reasons why the Giants win, and why the G-Men are going back to the playoffs in September (you heard it here first J).

The Division

The NL West may be the toughest division in baseball this year. The scribes generally pick the G-Men to finish third at .500, with the Dodgers first and the Padres second. The Snakes and the Rockies have their strengths but obvious weaknesses (pitching in the case of both teams).

The Padres are loaded (they got power up the yin-yang with Matt Kemp, Maybin, Quentin, and Upton in the outfield and a solid infield) and then they picked up James Shields to bookend Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy (always a Giants killer).  I think that if the G-Men don’t take the division the Padres have a real shot. They are the real deal.

The Dodgers are once again the best team that money can buy with Kershaw as the face of the franchise, followed by Puig (he of the infinite mustard). They picked up Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick, Adrian Gonzales is one of the best and Andre Ethier (now free from the shadow of Kemp) is hitting the stuffing out of the ball.  Their new centerfielder (Joc Pederson – very LA, three letter first name, sounds like he should be playing for a prep school or someplace like USC) looks like he may in fact be the second coming of Mike Trout, as advertised.  The only question marks on the Dodgers are the pitching. Ryu is on the DL, Kenley Jansen hurt himself and after Kershaw there isn’t a lot to talk about.

26 of the first 30 games (and the first 23) are against division rivals so we will know pretty quickly how the Giants stack up against the real opposition. The key to the division might be in the first series in Arizona,  If the Giants can handle the Snakes, then they get confidence going into the first home opening series against the Rockies and the Snakes, followed by the Dodgers.

Meanwhile, the last two exhibition games against the A’s (who are looking VERY good) loom large as a test, starting tomorrow.

Ciao, and GO GIANTS!

The Czar

 

Hot Stove Edition

Greetings to the Giants fans who hung in there through thick and thin, in the good years (certainly 2010 to 2014 qualify), and in the challenging years (every year since 1954 J).

 

The purpose of this blog post is to review some of the events that have taken place since the Parade on Halloween (what a day that was!) and the immediate post-season MLB movements that affect the G-Men.

 

Say it ain’t so Pablo!

 

The big news is that the Panda is going to the Red Sox, who essentially made him the same offer that the Giants did ($100 million for five years, with an option for six). He is taking his nick-name with him and we all wonder what a red Panda hat will look like.

 

Why did this happen ? Hunter Pence (after the Parade) got the crowd worked up with a chant to “re-sign the Panda.” Pablo got three WS rings with the G-Men. Pablo was the WS MVP in 2012. Pablo was one of the faces of the Giants and his energy and infectious enthusiasm touched everyone who ever saw him play (to quote Justin Verlander in Game #1 of the 2012 WS – “Wow”!). He was part of the chemistry of the Giants’ clubhouse that created the team that won three WS titles in five years. He will be missed.

 

My theory is that Pablo’s posse (the boys from Venezuela who are part of his entourage) convinced him that the Red Sox were a bigger platform and he (and they) could do better in the long run there. I also don’t think that the posse really liked the Giants brain trust. I have no inside information on that, it’s just supposition based on years of reports of friction.

 

Regardless, the Panda is gone and we all wish him well at Fenway, where he joins Hanley Ramirez from the Dodgers in what is sure to be one of the most toxic clubhouses in baseball.  Good luck with that Panda - -  but always remember that we loved you here and always will. Giants fans are not fickle. We welcomed Orlando Cepeda and Will Clark back and we will welcome you back when the time is right. You will always be a Giant to us.

 

What are the Giants going to do?

 

Pablo’s departure is not entirely a bad thing.  Yes it opens a hole at third base (the Giant’s already have a hole in left field) that needs to be filled but it also frees up a lot of cash to fill the open positions. Pablo’s regular season OPS had been trending downward for the last three years (but his OPS in the post season was unreal) so there are a lot of candidates who could potentially plug the regular season Panda gap, so to speak.

 

The options at third include Chase Headley (just offered three years with the Yankees but maybe the best defensive 3rd baseman in baseball) or to fill the position from inside the organization. For example, Buster Posey (if the G-Men can convince him to move from catcher and put that duty in the hands of Susac), Marco Scutaro (if he’s healthy), Matt Duffy (he might just be up for the job; converted shortstops do well at third) or another young player.   The Giants do have some good young position players who will be going all out in spring training to take the job.

 

If the G-Men go inside or go with a defensive 3rd baseman they could afford to add real power in Left Field.  Right now speculation centers on the Cuban guy, Yasmany Tomas, a hitter with the talent of Puig (although hopefully more mature and without the attitude) or one of the excess Red Sox outfielders (like Allan Craig, or Cespedes or Shane Victorino) any of whom would look good in Orange and Black, especially Craig, a Cal guy like Jeff Kent.

 

Other possibilities (dream big folks) are bringing back Melky (is the Melk man forgiven? Tell us what happened Melky – we are an understanding town) who tore it up with Toronto last year OR one of the excess Dodgers outfielders (like Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier – wouldn’t you love that?).  Right now it looks like there are a lot of candidates out there and the Giants have the money to spend.

 

The Giants are also in the market for a pitcher.  The choices are to re-sign Peavy, go after Jon Lester or maybe try big for Max Scherzer or James Shields. Don’t forget that Sergio is still out there unsigned. Pitching next year will be a challenge once we get past MadBum.  Cain is coming off an injury, Lincecum will be in his last year (as will Hudson) and Vogie might just be retired.

 

What will the rest of the winter bring?

 

Some of us are counting down the days until Spring Training in February and treating the Hot Stove time as winter sport.  Next week are the winter meetings so more rumors will fly and more deals will be done.

 

One perhaps sad note (for Giants fans, not for him) is that Tim Flannery has retired after 33 years in baseball. We will all miss his energy behind third base and will always remember him waving runners home by following them down the line and acting like a wild man. Adios Flan!

 

See you next year at AT&T!

 

GO GIANTS!

 

Ciao,

 

The Czar

Giants v. Dodgers, Giants v. Padres

The decision this year that back-fired  

The Giants were worn out this year. The decision to allow 8 starters to play in the World Baseball Classic in March after going deep into October to win the WS was a terrible decision. The Giants rely on defense, finesse and pitching. When the starters get worn out they put more of a load on the bullpen and the pen that was so stalwart last October started to give up runs; which the poor offense (historically poor) could not overcome. The other terrible decision was not to sign a power hitting left fielder mid-season. I’m not saying that the right person was available but Alex Rios would certainly have looked much better in left field than Gregor Blanco.

 

The good decisions were to sign Pagan and Scutaro to long term contracts and to lock up Matt Cain long term. Unfortunately when Pagan went down following that incredible walk-off inside the park homer run on May 25th (I was there, it was awesome) it seemed like the spark went out of the team. June, July and August was a tail-spin that wouldn‘t stop. People were plugged into and out of the line-up and (with a few exceptions) no one sparked the team.

 

The G-Men have, however, been playing much better in September. They have pulled out of the cellar and took 3 out of 4 from the Dodgers in LA and were 6 out of 10 on latest road trip. The Dodgers series was really fun. They were denied on their home field and left frustrated. Loved it.

 

The Positives and what might happen

 

This has been a banner year for the Brandon’s.  Crawford did better at shortstop than anyone could imagine (he will be a gold glove shortstop yet). He spent much of the season in the .270’s and recently has slumped back to .253.  However if anyone had said that he would even hit .250 that would have been a surprise.  He is just going to get better and better.  Belt, once he accepted the need to change his batting stance, is suddenly a legitimate number 3 hitter.  He’s a big man (and a hell of a First baseman) and if he can learn to play left field he might be the answer to that question next year. He’s currently batting .289 with 16 dingers and 64 RBI’s. Not bad.

 

Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. Pray that they are both Giants for the long term. Buster is in a three week long slump (2 for 31 on the road trip) but his average is still at .295 with 15 homers and 72 RBI’s. Buster is the future of the franchise and should be shifted to First and Hector Sanchez should catch (he’s good back there!).  Hunter Pence is the big story. He’s a free agent after October with a .286 BA, 25 homers and 93 RBI’s. He’s an iron man who has played EVERY game this season. He might go over 100 RBI’s on this home stand. The Giants MUST sign Pence and they know it.  The current speculation is 4 years and $60 million.  In my view that would be a bargain. That’s what we paid for Rowand who wasn’t half the player that Pence is, and will continue to be (and Pence just turned 30; he’s a kid).

 

There are two other notable free agents that the G-Men should sign at all costs.  Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval. Timmy is a Giant and should stay a Giant. Yes he has had his ups and downs (10 and 15 record, ERA over 5 this year) but he is learning how to really pitch (only the 3rd pitcher in MLB history to strike out 1,300 by his 6th season) and he’s only 29 years old with 2 Cy Young’s and two WS rings. It doesn’t get much better than that. The Panda seems to be learning how to control his weight and his defense recently has been really good.  Anyone who can hit 3 HR’s in a game is our kind of guy, and he’s done it in the WS and in the regular season against the Dodgers. It’s hard to believe that he has only 13 HR’s and 73 RBI’s with a  .275 BA. This off-season will be really important for the Panda. Getting his brother as a live-in cook may be paying dividends.

 

If the pitching rotation comes back next year refreshed we could be in for a very good year.  I’ll take the playoff’s every other year, maybe with a ring J. Bumgarner is a stud and next to Kershaw is the best pitcher in the NL.  He’s only going to get better. Coupled with a fresh Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong (a question mark only because of his age, certainly not for his attitude –he is the pitcher equivalent of Will Clark, a guy who always played angry) the top of the order should be solid. The 5th starter must be Petit. What a story. I was there for the almost perfect game. Awesome. His pitching against the Yankee’s yesterday (on Mariano Rivera day when Andy Pettit pitched his last game) was a thing of beauty. He is deserving of a really good shot in the spring.

 

That frees up Gaudin for the bullpen (where he is strong) along with Casilla, Romo, Lopez (another awesome reliever) and hopefully Heath Hembree next year. Please (prayer to Brian Sabean) get rid of Jean Machi and Jose Mijares.  Every time they come in they seem to allow the men on base to score. I shudder.

 

The young guys that you will see in the upcoming series to watch: Jose Perez, a young fielder with a great arm and tremendous defense; Nick Noonan and Tony Abreu, both potential good bench players but both ticketed I suspect for AAA to season some more.

 

The Negatives

 

Our bench this year. The bench was very weak. The only player that could really be counted on was Arias, who had a .271 BA with 17 RBI’s off the bench and played every infield position except pitcher and catcher.  The bench is also where Blanco belongs.  He’s good in spots and is a professional but he shouldn’t be a starter.  That’s why I think that the brain trust is looking so hard at Perez right now. Peguero and Keischnick are headed back to AAA, as is Brent Pill (who might end up somewhere else where his right handed bat will be welcome, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a Cubs uniform with Nate). This will be an area that the management (I suspect) will be looking at long and hard in the off-season and in spring training, which for the young guys starts now.

 

What will the off-season bring?

 

Possibly a free-agent left fielder with power and maybe another starting pitcher.  There are a lot of starters going into free agency this year and the power hitters on the market like Curtis Granderson and Jacoby Ellsbury, maybe even Puig’s Cuban cousin (a team mate on the Cuban national team) the sensational Jose Abreu, will be available.  Of course Robinson Cano will be on the market but he is expected to demand A-Rod money and the Yankee’s are not going to let him go. If the owners go for it and the team payroll gets up around $150 million it could be a really interesting off-season.

 

The two home series

 

It’s the Dodgers and the Padres and the NL West.

 

The Dodgers may lay down and die because they have taken the division (they are crybabies in the best of times) but the Dodgers fans will be at the ballpark in droves and it might get ugly at AT&T. I hope not but I’ve been there with blue dressed drunks trying to blow up beach balls in our park. Back in 1993 a Dodgers fan jumped over my five year old and took a ball from him. Really bush league. Another good example is what the Dodger’s did when they took the division in AZ.  They dissed the Snakes by celebrating on their field and then jumping in their pool in centerfield. Very juvenile (even Senator McCain got in the act) but what do you expect from a team of high-priced superstars with prima donna complexes? Puig is the worst but Hanley Rameriz is right behind him. The Dodgers pitchers (except for Kershaw, who is the second coming of Sandy Koufax) are hot dogs and headhunters.  That’s also why I think that the three strongest playoff teams in the NL are St. Louis, the Reds and Atlanta. Personally I’m rooting for Dusty. This should be his year.

 

The Padres have always been the Giants nemesis. The two teams just match up well and we close the season against each other fighting for third place (maybe second if the Snakes take a dive) in the NL West.  Those games will be hard fought and fun.

 

It’s too bad that we are at the end of another season but it’s been (as always) a great ride.

 

Ciao, and GO GIANTS!

 

The Czar

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  4. Pride in a Job Well-done, or Blood Money? The Cost of Learning the Truth from the TTB about the Benefits to Investigators from Making Cases Against Industry Members
  5. How ADA Website Compliance Works – The Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself, Your Website and Your Social Media from Liability
  6. Supplier and Distributor Promotional “Banks,” Third Party Promotion Companies and Inconsistent TTB Enforcement, Oh My!
  7. “A Wrong Without a Remedy – Not in My America” – The TTB Death Penalty for Not Reporting Deaths
  8. Is a 1935 Alcohol Beverage Federal Trade Practice Law Stifling Innovation?
  9. Decoding the BCC’s Guidance on Commercial Cannabis Activity.
  10. Prop 65 - Escaping a "Notice of Violation"
  11. TTB Consignment Sales Investigations - What is Behind the Curtain of the TTB Press Releases?
  12. Heads Up! The ABC Is Stepping Up Enforcement Against Licensees Located Near Universities
  13. Coming Soon: New Mandatory Training Requirements for over One Million “Alcohol Servers” In California – September 1, 2021 will be here quickly
  14. 2019 Legislative Changes for California Alcohol Producers – a Blessing or a Curse?
  15. A Picture (On Instagram) Is Worth A Thousand Words
  16. Playing by the Rules: California Cannabis Final Regulations Takeaways
  17. Hinman & Carmichael LLP Names Erin Kelleher Partner and Welcomes Gillian Garrett and Tsion “Sunshine” Lencho to the Firm
  18. Congress Makes History and Changes the CBD Game for Good
  19. Pernicious Practices (stuff we see that will get folks in trouble!) Today’s Rant – Bill & Hold
  20. CBD: An Exciting New Fall Schedule… or Not?
  21. MISSISSIPPI RISING - A VICTORY FOR LEGAL RETAILER TO CONSUMER SALES, AND PASSAGE OF TITLE UNDER THE UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE
  22. California ABC's Cannabis Advisory - Not Just for Stoners
  23. NEW CALIFORNIA WARNINGS FOR ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AND CANNABIS PRODUCTS TAKE EFFECT AUGUST 30, 2018, NOW INCLUDING ADDENDUM REGARDING 2014 CONSENT AGREEMENT PARTIES AND PARTICIPANTS
  24. National Conference of State Liquor Administrators – The Alcohol Industry gathers in Hawaii to figure out how to enforce the US “Highly Archaic Regulatory Scheme.”
  25. Founder John Hinman Honored with the Raphael House Community Impact Award
  26. ROUTE TO MARKET AND MARKETING RESTRICTIONS - NAVIGATING REGULATORY SYSTEM CONSTRAINTS
  27. Alcohol and Cannabis Ventures: Top 5 Legal Considerations
  28. ATF and TTB: Is Another Divorce on the Horizon? What’s Going on with the Agency?
  29. STRIKE 3 - YOU REALLY ARE OUT! THE ABC'S STRICT APPLICATION OF PENALTIES FOR SALES TO MINORS
  30. TTB Temporarily Fixes Problem with Fulfillment Warehouse Tax Credits - an “Alternate Procedure” for Paying Taxes & Reporting
  31. CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE HAD ONE TOO MANY - THE FREE TRANSPORTATION DILEMMA
  32. The Renaissance of Federal Unfair Trade Practices - Current Issues and Strategies
  33. ‘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
  34. Big Bottles, Caviar and a CA Wine Strong Silent Auction for the Holidays!
  35. The FDA and the Wine and Spirits Industry – Surprise inspections anyone?
  36. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: UPDATED REGULATORY AGENCY DISASTER RELIEF RESOURCES AT A GLANCE
  37. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: REGULATORY AGENCY DISASTER RELIEF RESOURCES AT A GLANCE
  38. Soon to come to your Local Supermarket– Instant Redeemable Coupons of the digital age!
  39. The License Piggyback Dilemma – If it Sounds Too Good to be True, it Probably is
  40. A timely message from our Florida colleagues on the tied house laws, the three-tier system and the need for reform
  41. ABC Declaratory Rulings – A Modest Proposal Whose Time has Come
  42. More on FDA Inspections - Breweries, Distilleries and Questions
  43. WHY THE FDA IS INSPECTING WINERIES
  44. Senate Bill 378—The Proposed Demise of Due Process for Alcohol Licensees
  45. ABC Enforcement - Trends and Predictions
  46. The Corruption Chronicles – Volume One: A New Hope
  47. New Alcohol Delivery Oversight on the Horizon
  48. Michigan: Canary in the DtC Coal Mine?
  49. California ABC and Federal Credit Laws – Active Enforcement and Lots of Questions!
  50. Big Bottles For The Holidays - The Highest Calling Of The Winemaker's Art
  51. 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
  52. SONOMA COUNTY WINERY USE PERMITS, EVENT RESTICTIONS AND DTC
  53. 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
  54. Isn't A Written Agreement With A Distributor Worthless In A Franchise State?
  55. Crowd Funding for Alcohol Producers and Retailers – Down the Rabbit Hole with the Tied House laws
  56. Everything you ever wanted to know about the BPA Warning Statement but were afraid to ask
  57. AB 2082 - A Hunting License for Police and a Lethal Weapon for Politicians that Deprives Licensees of Currently Available Due Process Rights
  58. “Better Late Than Never”-- Judge in Illinois Dismisses 201 Sales Tax Cases against Retailers
  59. 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
  60. The Arsenic in Wine Class Action Dismissal – what it means
  61. Counterfeit or Artisanal Mexican Spirits? Pick your Poison, or your lime wedge
  62. Warning - CA ABC enforcement teams are on the prowl this weekend!
  63. 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
  64. The TTB Speaks on Category Management or, be Careful What you Ask for Because you might Get it!
  65. Hinman & Carmichael LLP Announces the Addition of Jeremy Siegel to its team of top beverage law lawyers
  66. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part IV
  67. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part III
  68. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part II
  69. 2016 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES: Part I
  70. Hinman & Carmichael LLP is Hiring!
  71. John Hinman Presents NBI Webinar on Basics of Alcohol Beverage Law
  72. ABC DISMISSES SAVE MART GRAPE ESCAPE ACCUSATION BUT REFUSES TO ADOPT JUDGE’S DECISION FINDING NO STRICT LIABILITY FOR ABC VIOLATIONS
  73. Speakeasies are still with us, and proliferating!
  74. The War for the Soul of Sonoma County – the Winery Working Group Battle
  75. Santa Claus isn’t the only one coming to town this Christmas!
  76. Arizona's Direct to Consumer Shipping Rules - An Exercise in Complexity
  77. AB 780 - Social Media and the ABC: The California Legislative “Fix” that Fails
  78. Illinois Finally Offers Certainty and Relief for Victims of Sales Tax Lawsuits, but Prompt Action is Required in Pending Cases
  79. A Modest Proposal – Adopt the federal rule on Tied-House liability in California
  80. The Grapes Escaped - Why the First Amendment Matters
  81. Appellate Court Ruling Strikes Blow Against State’s Arbitrary Beer Label Ban
  82. Illinois Attorney General's Office Announces Intention to Dismiss False Claims Act Against Liquor Retailers
  83. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part III
  84. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part II
  85. Craft Beverages: Social Media Marketing the Effective and Compliant Way
  86. Commercial Speech And Alcoholic Beverages - Part I
  87. A LAYPERSON LOOKS AT ARSENIC IN WINE
  88. The Biggest Retailer in the World vs. the TABC
  89. Rebecca Stamey-White presents Emerging Issues in Wine Law
  90. Top Beverage Alcohol Law Firm Adds and Elevates Partners
  91. Illinois Qui Tam Lawsuits—Private Enforcement Of a State Claim: A Bonanza For A Plaintiff’s Lawyer And A Rip-Off Of Retailers
  92. BOOZE RULES OF SOCIAL MEDIA: The Retailer Right to Pay Exception
  93. LIONS AND TIGERS AND TWEETS, OH MY!
  94. AB 2004: Brewer's Incremental Parity with Wine Makers
  95. Expanding, Proud Of It, and Wanting to Tell the World
  96. DC Weighs in Strongly on Third Party Marketer Delivery Services
  97. “Visual Links” between Beer, Wine and Spirits Labels and Retailers Ruled Unlawful in California — the tied house laws run amok
  98. Hard Cider Legislative Update
  99. New Marketing Model for New York – Lot 18 and the NYSLA
  100. Sweeping Changes in Proposed NYSLA Bill Include Expansion for Craft