Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

PLAY BALL: Baseball to the rescue

At least here in the Bay Area the 2006 Major
League Baseball season will be welcomed.
The San Francisco 49ers were bad, like bad,
before the kids meant to call bad=good.
The Oakland Raiders were also very bad, the
Warriors have not made it to a playoff since
the Korean War, the San José Earthquakes
moved out of San José into Houston, Texas
and the San José Sharks playoff hopes are
hanging in the rafters of the HP Pavillion.

By Amaury Pi-GonzálezBoth of our Bay Area teams have been picked
to win their respective divisions.
The season gets under way Sunday April 2
with four teams taking the field and the rest
of the teams begining on Monday the 3rd,
including the Giants at San Diego and the
A’S hosting the New York Yankees.

The Oakland Athletics, a team that in the past
has lost much talent,like: Damon,Foulke,Giambi,
Tejada,Hudson,Mulder, this winter improved
their team with some new players. And this
could be key for the A’S who on paper might
have the best young pitching in all of the majors.

Frank Thomas is healthy and if he stays healhty
that is bad news for the rest of the American
League. Milton Bradley could be another big
factor offensively for the future Fremont A’S
and Esteban Loaiza is well aware that with this
pitching staff he doesn’t have to win 20 games
to be effective. The American League West is
not an easy division. The Angels are still contenders and the Rangers signed three starters in the off season. Vicente Padilla,Kevin Millwood
and Adam Eaton. The Mariners are still a team
for last place but they picked up a few guys to spark their weak offense, guys like Carl Everett
and Matt Lawton. Adrian Beltre lost 15 pounds and
has a new batting stance, he had an excellent spring and WBC with his Dominican team.

At AT & T Park the Giants begin the season relatively healthy. The Giants are also picked
to win their division, but a lot will depend on
Bonds and Benitez health(both hurt much of last season) their rotation has to improve with Matt Morris and the young arms of Noah Lowry and
Matt Cain. Cain has great stuff and a very good
approach on pitching, not afraid to throw inside
to trust his stuff. Their defense is still good, anchored by 10th time Gold Glove Omar Vizquel, one of the best defensive shortstops ever and catcher Mike Matheny who won his 4th Gold Glove last season. The Dodgers have a new infield, with
Garciaparra at 1B, Rafael Furcal at shortstop
and Bill Mueller at third base and a respectable
outfield but their starting pitching (mostly hurt last season)is not very solid.

Barry Bonds will play under a dark cloud, now an
investigation in Washington, D.C. There is a reason
why Sammy Sosa retired prior to this season and
why nobody is employing Rafael Palmeiro anymore
(a guy that can still hit).

“The Book” from the two SF Chronicle reporter is
not only about Bonds but a lot about Conte and
the BALCO Laboratories. The book is basically
a vehicle to prove that Bonds used steroids and
that is the biggest reason that is selling, but the
book is definetely more than just about Barry
Bonds. So the Giants will open the season on the
road, which might be the best for that organization
at this time. Bonds will be cheered at AT & T Park,
but when he hits a home run in Chicago, New York,
Cincinnati ? that could prove to be very interesting.
If he gets close to breaking Ruth record, it would be wise if he did that at home.

I do not think the game of baseball will suffer much
from this steroids scandal. Unfortunately, like many
thing nowdays, baseball is reactive and not proactive. The Commissioner is ordering this
investigation, when baseball really never did much
when everybody was hitting 40,50 and 60 and yes 70 home runs. Everybody looked the other way,
they questioned the ball. Remember “is the ball lighter than before”, they even questioned the
bats, remember cork in bats ? They questioned
everything but what some players were taking
clear or creme or whatever. Like I have writen
prior to this column, there is a lot of hypocrisy
here, including the people that pays to see these guys hit the ball 550 feet. If they don’t care and
they pay the freight, why should we ? Because
baseball is a game of rules and rules should be
enforced. Sure, say tell that to any man or woman
working for INS in the San Diego/Tijuana Border.
In our “loco”society sometimes things that are
illegal all-of-a-sudden are legal. Baseball is not
the only thing that is reactive, how about our
great politicos of both parties in D.C ?

Today is time to Play Ball, let baseball continue
and whatever is going to happen is going to happen.
But still the biggest play in baseball, what fans
love the most, what people like to remember
is the Home Run.
Amaury Pi-González is on his 4th season as the
Mariners Spanish Radio Network announcer for all
81 home games of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco
Field,Seattle. Also on his 12th season as play by play announcer doing selective hoem games for the
San Francisco Giants. His columns in Spanish in
the Bay Area in El Bohemio News of San Francisco and La Oferta News in San José . Also a correspondent on XM Satellite Radio(Español) “Hablando Béisbol” (Talking Baseball)show hosted by ex-major league player Orestes Destrade with studios in Washington,D.C.


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