The Giants are teasing and torturing us yet again. I’m looking for a long run and another orange and black Halloween!
This morning, before the Giants put the Nationals away and headed to the NLCS, I was on ESPN radio in South Dakota, talking Giants with Jeff Thurn, a very knowledgeable host who has had me on many times in the past. You can listen to it here.
All season long, even diehard Giants fans seemed certain that this team did not have the same championship intangibles that the 2010 and 2012 squads had. I wondered: Had we forgotten how little like champs the 2010 Giants looked in the dog days of August, when the pitching staff led the league in walks, and a waiver wire pickup named Cody Ross hardly seemed like salvation? Or how dead the Giants seemed in 2012 when they lost the first two games at home to the Reds, and had to win three in Cincinnati – to say nothing of then falling behind 3-1 to St. Louis, while relying on journeyman utility infielder Marco Scutaro?
So when all hope seemed lost in 2014… when the Dodgers won 17-0…. when the Giants had to scratch to back into the second wild card…. let’s just remember the magic that happens when Bruce Bochy, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner and a few other key cogs from our even numbered glory years put their October caps on and start competing in the playoffs. It’s a whole new ballgame.
I love the arrival of spring, and all the hope it brings that a new year — even-numbered! — will cleanse the pain of the last one. (I also hope a good rainfall will come along for the cleansing, to end California’s drought.) While 2013 was decidedly painful for the Giants, I see plenty of signs for a turnaround in 2014.
Pablo Sandoval is lean and motivated.
Tim Lincecum is ready to complete his reinvention as a crafty pitcher, instead of a fastball chucker.
Tim Hudson is here to help Lincecum — and he can still deal.
And those are the three and four starters, behind the horses Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner.
Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford keep improving; Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro are healthy; Buster Posey and Hunter Pence anchor the meat of the order; and Michael Morse has arrived to make sure there are no weak spots. The bullpen is deep (love Sergio Romo!); the bench is capable (lurve Hector Sanchez!); Bruce Bochy is the best in the business.
And best of all: I have a new Giants book coming out!
The Giants Baseball Experience: A Year-By-Year Chronicle From New York To San Francisco will be published by MVP Books and will be available April 3. I’ll set up a new Web site, and start planning events. The last time I had a new Giants book out — with Willie Mays on the cover, naturally — was 2010, and we all know what happened then!
With the 2011 season rapidly approaching, so approaches the release of a revised “Giants Past and Present.” Among other things, the updated edition will have a new cover, featuring the Giants World Series celebration. I just got a glimpse of it for the first time, so here it is:
The new edition will also feature praises from Giants Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King and KNBR’s Brian Murphy. There will also be some updates in the World Series chapter, obviously.
Although the 2010 season will be hard to top, the Giants are looking strong and hungry to defend their title. Hopefully 2011 will bring a new chapter to Giants history, and a call for much more Giants literature!
Last month, I finished up the revisions to “Giants Past and Present,” polishing up the tidbits about that magical 2010 season that now takes its rightful place at the forefront of Giants’ history. The plan is to have books ready for sale by Opening Day.
It should be great. MVP Books is putting a new cover on it, featuring the Giants’ World Series celebration, and the book will have blurbs from Giants Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King and KNBR’s Brian Murphy.
Murphy, a former Chronicle colleague of mine, had already written a fantastic book for the Giants, on their 2008 golden anniversary in San Francisco, and now he’s got another one coming out. He teamed with photographer Brad Mangin on “Worth the Wait,” which is the Giants’ official book honoring the championship.
The championship is certainly spawning a literary tidal wave. In addition to the updated “Giants Past and Present” and Murph’s book, Triumph Books had a quickie look at the Giants’ title out in time for Christmas 2010, “Giant Surprise,” and they’ve got another one on the way, which should be of higher quality, as it’s by Bay Area News Group beat writer Andrew Baggarly (one of my favorites), “A Band of Misfits.” My old pals at the San Francisco Chronicle also put out a book, “San Francisco Giants: Torture to Rapture, 2010 World Series Champions,” but it seems to be out of print already. I looked for it on eBay and only found a special Sports Illustrated commemorative issue on the Giants (which is excellent) and something called “SanFranTastic!”
My own publisher, MVP Books, also has a book coming out that should be of interest to Giant fans past and present: “Juan Marichal: My Journey From the Dominican Republic to Cooperstown,” in which the Dominican Dandy and writer Lew Freedman set down Marichal’s own story for the first time.
I just went to my eye doctor and ordered a new prescription of glasses, so I’m ready to read.
When the Giants won the World Series (yes!), the Record, the newspaper in Troy, NY, went on a crusade to bring the trophy to Troy, arguing that the Giants had their start as the Troy City Trojans in 1879.
Troy is getting its way: It’s close enough to Cooperstown so I guess the Giants capitulated, and will bring the trophy there on its national tour in the spring. But it’s a pretty thin connection.
I don’t know the sources that Troy Record writer Kevin Moran used — particularly in his pivotal assertion that John B. Day and Jim Mutrie bought the Troy franchise and moved it to New York. In the excellent book, “The Giants of the Polo Grounds” (Doubleday, 1988), author Noel Hynd lays out the history of the National League, including how after the first year, 1876, the cash-strapped New York and Philadelphia teams were booted out of the league.
In 1881, Day, a wealthy businessman, and Mutrie, a baseball enthusiast, formed an independent team, the New York Metropolitans, or Mets, and then in 1882 applied to be in the National League , along with a team from Philly. The NL pressed Worcester and Troy to resign from the league – the two last place teams; Troy drew 25 fans to its last game, and the year before had drawn TWELVE to its last game!
According to Hynd, the NL gave Day the New York franchise – and he then put the Mets in the rival American Association, and decided to start a new team for his National League venture. Hynd writes: “With the Troy club conveniently disbanded, its roster – even those players under ‘reserve’ – was free to be pillaged. Day promptly signed the best of them,” Roger Connor, Buck Ewing and Smiling Mickey Welch. Other players went elsewhere, including some to the Mets, and other players came from elsewhere.
I think it’s nice that the Giants are doing it for Troy – but it’s not quite historically accurate to say they started in Troy. They started in New York as the Gothams, winning their opener in 1883 at fields that actually had been used for polo (and which were owned by New York Herald founder and publisher James Gordon Bennett), before a crowd that included former President Ulysses Grant.
Well, even though I had every bit of confidence in the Giants on their march to the 2010 world championship (I just love saying that!), I have to say the supply of “Giants Past and Present” was not adequate to keep up with the demand. The book is becoming hard to find.
My publisher, MVP Books, just sent me the last of their copies, and I’ve sold all of those. I bought what seem to be the last copies available on Amazon.com, and now it looks like Barnesandnoble.com is sold out as well. There are probably still some books at some Bay Area bookstores, but I don’t know if they’ll last through Christmas.
You could try looking at your local independent store, using the Indiebound site. On the site for my local shop, Book Passage in Corte Madera, it says the book is a “special order, subject to availability,” which doesn’t sound promising.
That means we’ve sold 5,000 books. I hope to have a new edition – a World Series edition! – out in early 2011, and will offer details here as I get them.
Thank you, everyone, for your support – thanks to everyone who bought the book, and thanks to all the bookstores and others who sold it. And thanks to the Giants, who brought all of us so much joy, and helped make the book such a hit!
Don’t take my word for it – the San Francisco Chronicle recommends “Giants Past and Present” as one of its top holiday gift books. In the roundup, books editor John McMurtrie writes:
Giants Past & Present, by Dan Fost (MVP Books; 144 pages; $25). It turns out to have been not a bad year to publish a coffee-table book honoring the hometown team and its bicoastal history.
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