Results tagged ‘ Inside the Clubhouse Show ’

Play Ball (Well, Almost . . .)

Opening Day is two months away, but for Giants’ fans the season unofficially begins tomorrow night at the Britannia Arms in downtown San Jose with the first glimpse of the 2009 team.

The team has flown in the entire roster (except for guys who couldn’t make the trip for personal reasons) plus coaches and broadcasters to meet fans in San Jose on Thursday night and at AT&T Park in San Francisco Saturday.

Both events are free.

In San Jose, 30 players and coaches will be signing autographs, posing for pictures and perhaps even tending bar from 4:30 to 7 then heading over for the Sharks game – where Tim Lincecum will drop the first puck.

On Friday, the players have a day of in-house meetings, starting with a breakfast gathering with Bill Neukom and other management. They’ll do media interviews mid-morning then have lunch with the Giants staff – all the folks who make everything happen behind the scenes. In the afternoon and early evening, a handful of players will be shooting TV commercials. (I had a peek at the scripts. You’ll love them. Funny and irreverent and completely San Francisco.)

Then the players are back at AT&T Park on Saturday from 10 to 3 for the annual FanFest, which draws around 20,000 people. This will mark the first appearance of Randy Johnson, who has other obligations preventing him from attending Thursday’s San Jose event.

Here’s a complete list of players, coaches and broadcasters attending each of the public events.

San Jose:

Affeldt, Bowker, Burriss, English, Flannery, Frandsen, Hinshaw, Holm, Howry, Kelly, Krukow, Lansford, Lewis, Lincecum, Joseph Martinez, Misch, Molina, Rohlinger, Romo, Rowand, Sadler, Schierholtz, Taschner, Wilson, Winn, Wotus, Yabu and Zito.

 

San Francisco:

All of the above plus: Vida Blue, Bruce Bochy, Cain, Cepeda, Will Clark, Dave Flemming, Mark Gardner, Randy Johnson, Kuiper, Martinez, Jon Miller, Righetti, Dave Roberts, Sabean, Sandoval, Lon Simmons and J.T. Snow.

See you there.

Programming notes:

The second episode of Inside the Clubhouse, which features Giants manager Bruce Bochy, outfielder Fred Lewis and infielder Kevin Frandsen, will air on Friday, February 6 at 7:00 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. It will also be available at Comcast Cable’s ON DEMAND Channel 1 and at sfgiants.com beginning February 7.

The third installment, which features bullpen pitchers Jeremy Affeldt, Bobby Howry and All-Star closer Brian Wilson, will premiere on Wednesday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. It will also be available at Comcast Cable’s ON DEMAND Channel 1 and at sfgiants.com beginning February 12.

Here’s a complete listing of the air-dates:

Inside the Clubhouse #2

Fri 2/6/09 7:00 PM

Sat 2/7/09 9:30 PM

Sun 2/8/09 8:30 PM

Tue 2/10/09 6:30 PM

The Fifth Beatle

Jim Moorehead, Giants’ senior media relations director, flew back to New York over the weekend to watch Tim Lincecum accept his Cy Young Award at the Hilton Hotel. Jim says Tim looked dapper in his black-tie tuxedo, though his floppy hair had people calling him the fifth Beatle. And he seems to be almost as popular – the Giants are constantly deluged with requests for appearances and memorabilia and interviews. Tim’s doing a lot of it, but he’s not one to seek the spotlight. So the Giants are trying not to lay too much on him too soon.

After Jeff Idelson, president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, introduced Tim as the NL Cy Young winner, Tim — a man of few words, at least publicly – succinctly thanked all the right people — the Baseball Writers of America, which sponsors the awards, the Giants’ organization, his family, his teammates.

Then he thrust the plaque in the air, leaned into the microphone and said, “This is for you, Pops!”

At a table in the audience sat Lincecum’s dad, who famously invented his son’s unusual pitching mechanics and raised him as a single dad after Tim’s parents split. Also at the table were Lincecum’s girlfriend, his agent Rich Thurman, Bill Neukom, Larry Baer, Bobby Evans, John Barr, Dick Tidrow and Moorehead.

Lincecum will be at the ballpark Thursday for a photo shoot for Giants Magazine, so I’ll try to catch up with him then and fill you in on what he’s been doing during the last few months (besides photo shoots, interviews and accepting awards).

Another highlight of the awards dinner in NY, says Jim: Former Yankee Bernie Williams playing a wonderful rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on his guitar. Now that he’s retired, Williams says, he is devoting himself to music, which has been such a passion that as a teenager he nearly chose it over baseball as a career.

Programming Note: The next “Inside the Clubhouse” on Comcast airs Friday, Feb. 6, at 7. This one features Jon Miller, Bruce Bochy, Kevin Frandsen and the reborn Fred Lewis. (See my earlier post on Fred’s lively appearance at this event.)

My excused absence: I was away at the Inauguration during the early part of last week, so that’s my excuse for being a little lax in writing. Had a great time, though I admit I gave away my standing-room tickets to the event itself. I knew, from standing in line for 90 minutes the day before to GET the tickets, that I am not made of the stuff necessary to withstand 10 degree temperatures (factoring in wind chill) for six or seven hours without moving. I watched it on TV at a friend’s place in D.C. then we jumped on the Metro to experience the crowds at the Mall and attend a hot-chocolate-and-cookies reception in Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s office on Capitol Hill.

Loved every minute, but I was envisioning those warm Scottsdale days just around the corner.

A Set-Up Guy Who Does Stand-up

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Look for new Giants LH reliever Jeremy Affeldt to become “The Player Most Likely to Deliver the Most Quotable Quote on Any Topic at Any Moment.”

At the final “Inside the Clubhouse” chalk talk for season-ticket holders last night, Affeldt bantered with host Jon Miller and bullpen mates Bob Howry and Brian Wilson as if he were Denis Leary on Letterman.

If you haven’t seen him, he’s a good-looking, 6-foot-5-inch 29-year-old with a perpetual half-smile that brings to mind those boyish soldiers in old war movies who were always ready with a wisecrack. It turns out Affeldt’s father was, in fact, a bombardier in the Air Force in the final years of the Cold War, who, Affeldt says, would fly off suddenly in a B-52 from the base in Guam and then just as suddenly reappear, never saying where he had been.

When asked during the Q&A about the toughest hitter he faced, he said Garret Anderson of the Angels (though at the moment unsigned).

“He’s like 12 for 10 against me,” Affeldt joked. “He hit a ball so hard off me they gave him two hits.”

He said he has been known to be a little wild. He told of firing two fastballs against the backstop – and not with any intention of intimidating the hitter. “They were accidents. But it made the curve ball way more effective.”

Howry, who is 35, is quieter and more introverted than Affeldt and Wilson, but his two teammates and Jon Miller had him laughing so hard that he began telling tales on himself, too. During a high school game, after he had hit his fourth batter, the opposing coach stomped out to the umpire and demanded to know why he hadn’t tossed Howry out of the game.

“He’s having a good game,” Howry said the umpire replied. “I’ve seen him hit a lot more than that.”

When someone asked under what circumstances he shook off a catcher’s signs, Howry laughed. “Sometimes the catcher will signal for me to shake him off,” Howry said, “to make the batter think I have more than one pitch.”

While he was in town for the day, Howry checked out a condo across the street from the ballpark as a possible residence during the season. His wife and two children – ages 9 and 6 – will stay in Glendale, Arizona, and visit during long weekends and the summer.

Affeldt had a tougher time finding a place for his wife and 17-month-old son to live in the city. The challenge: their three-year-old, 90-pound mastiff, Kylie. They finally found a three-bedroom loft on Beale Street.

Affeldt is no stranger to SF. After living in Guam, the family moved to Merced, where Affeldt spent fifth through eighth grades. The family occasionally drove up to San Francisco to watch a Giants or A’s game or visit Fisherman’s Wharf. Affeldt spent his high school years in Spokane, where he married his high school sweetheart, Larisa, and recently built a home.

In other news:

Tim Lincecum was out at the ballpark on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, he spent about two hours in an interview with writer Tim Keown for an upcoming story in ESPN Magazine. Tuesday he was photographed on the field by 2K Sports. He flew out to New York on Thursday for Sunday’s Cy Young dinner.

Before last night’s taping of Inside the Clubhouse-

Jeremy Affeldt:

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Bob Howry:

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Brian Wilson:

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Screenshots from MLB 2K9 courtesy of 2K Sports:

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A Brand New Fred Lewis (and other notes)

 

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I attended Wednesday night’s “Chalk Talk” for season-ticket holders in the Giants clubhouse, where the featured guests were Fred Lewis, Kevin Frandsen and Bruce Bochy with their genial host Jon Miller. I’ll get to the odds and ends in a second, but this was the headline for me:

Fred Lewis has blossomed. I have never seen this kind of dramatic transformation in such a short time.

Those of you followed Lewis last season know he was just about the quietest guy on the team. He rarely made eye contact with reporters or staff, though he had begun to loosen up with his teammates by season’s end. He spoke in a low monotone and kept his answer short.

Wednesday night, he walked into the pressroom like a movie star — in a cream-colored suede sport coat, a Burberry scarf, jeans and Gucci athletic shoes. He talked with three beat writers before the Chalk Talk, and instead of appearing as if enduring an inquisition, he joked and laughed and spoke with a confidence and ease that had me exchanging glances with Kevin Frandsen as we both listened with surprise bordering on astonishment.

In answering a question about the possibility of Ramirez coming to the Giants (and taking his LF position), Lewis said, “I just have to worry about Fred.” Chron writer Henry Schulman teased him about sounding like Rickey Henderson, famous for talking about himself in the third person.

Lewis lowered his head and laughed, saying he had hoped nobody noticed, that he knew as soon as the words left his mouth, that he sounded like Rickey. (“Can you even imagine that Hall of Fame speech?” Frandsen said. Surely Vegas odds-makers will post an over-under on the number of times Rickey says Rickey.)

When a season-ticket holder asked him the same question during the Q&A, Lewis said, “Whatever it takes to help the team, I’m down for it,” prompting a round of applause.

Pretty polished. Could be a future for him in politics back home in Mississippi.

I chatted with Lewis in a small office after he spoke with the beat writers.

“Do you mind me telling you that you’re like a different guy?” I said. “What happened?”

Lewis said this version of himself is the real Fred Lewis. This is who he has always been around his family – easy to laugh, engaging, confident — and now, he said, the Giants are family.

Great answer.

He said he spoke recently with both Jonathan Sanchez and Alex Hinshaw in Arizona, where they were working out together, saying that he and the team needed them to have big years, that he expected them to have big years because the team couldn’t win if they didn’t. I have no idea how Sanchez and Hinshaw reacted to the comments – was Lewis overstepping his bounds? – but I can tell you that the Giants’ leftfielder is feeling a sense of ownership and responsibility for the team’s success. It will be interesting to see how his newfound confidence and leadership play out this season.

As for his rehab from foot surgery, he’s back almost to full speed. You can get the relevant details from Henry at sfgate.com, Chris Haft at mlb.com or Laurence Miedema at the Merc.

Kevin Frandsen, as you know, had a great few weeks in the Arizona League and is ready to challenge Velez and Burriss for the second-base job after missing last season with an Achilles injury. Asked if he felt extra pressure this spring to prove himself, Frandsen said he felt pressure every season to prove himself. Athletes in any sport at the professional level know that what matters is today, today, today, what can you do for us today?

“I spent all last season watching major-league players,” Frandsen said. “I took that into the fall league. It was like a master’s program and I was working on my thesis. I had gathered all the information I could and I was finally able to put it into practice (in the fall league).”

Other notes from Wednesday night:

Bochy said the order of his starting rotation right now is Lincecum, Johnson, Cain, Zito and either Sanchez or Lowry.

Bochy recently returned from a cruise that included stops in Mexico and Belize. “The plan was to go into the ship’s casino and pay for it all,” he said of the trip. “It didn’t work out so well.”

Jon Miller just got back from a 16-day cruise that started in England and ended in Dubai, with stops in Nice, Gibraltar, Rome, Malta and a trip through the Suez Canal.

Bochy said he expects the “break-out” minor-leaguers to be Baumgartner, Alderson, Noonan and Posey. “They’re all on the fast track,” he said. “Brian (Sabean) isn’t afraid to bring young guys up quickly.”

Lewis said he doesn’t believe in slumps. “I believe in bad games,” he said. When Miller asked Bochy if he ever had slump as a player, the manager smiled. “Oh, yeah. Ever see my baseball card?”

Bochy said he and batting coach Carney Lansford would be focusing on improving the team’s abysmal on-base percentage. “It’s an area we’re going to stress this spring, to be a little more patient at the plate. If you have a good on-base percentage, you’re going to create more opportunities.” But he also cautioned one questioner about criticizing strikeouts too harshly. “Strikeouts are not as bad as you think,” Bochy said. “It gets the pitcher’s pitch count up. You’re working the pitcher.”

Lewis said that among his 2009 season goals, which he writes down and keeps with him, are a .315 average, 20 homers and 20 triples.

I end this post with a happy reminder: One month until pitchers and catchers report!

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