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    Giants Baseball Experience

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    The Latest Book From Giants Author Dan Fost

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    Talkin’ baseball with Jon Miller

    I always love talking Giants baseball, but it was a special treat for me Monday, when I got to do so with Michael Krasny, host of KQED-FM’s “Forum,” and fellow guests San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ann Killion, CSN Bay Area columnist (and seeming king of all Bay Area sports media), my former Chronicle colleague Ray Ratto, and, with no disrespect to the others, best of all, the voice of the Giants, Hall of Famer Jon Miller.

    You can listen to the audio here.

    Highlights included:

    * Jon Miller telling the story of Travis Ishikawa in tears earlier this year when he was cut by the Pirates and signed to a minor league deal by the Giants, calling his high school coach in Seattle and asking, “Should he move on? Retire? Or persevere in the face of adversity?” He persevered, and Giants Nation is forever grateful.

    * Miller also sharing the story of Joe Panik, after struggling to hit Adam Wainwright‘s cutter earlier this year, studying footage of former Giant and Red Sox player Bill Mueller hitting a home run off the great Mariano Rivera‘s cutter — and then Panik hitting one of Wainwright’s cutters out of the ballpark.

    * Miller said Ishikawa would likely have been NLCS MVP, but the voting was tabulated in the eighth inning of game 5, before his historic home run, and therefore Madison Bumgarner got the trophy.

    * A listener gave this tidbit, which I had not heard: Apparently Brandon Crawford hid Brandon Belt‘s glove behind his back in the ninth inning of a tight game against the Cardinals, showing how loose the Giants were.

    * Miller showed his amazing candor when he gave this description of Buster Posey, comparing him to the Yankees’ Derek Jeter: “He’s not a great interview. He’s not likely to say anything other than platitudes and boring comments.”

    I’ll note one more thing: Krasny referred to my son Harry wearing a lucky hat, and I told the story. In 2008, an old New York Giants fan, Bob Leinweaver, gave me and Harry a hat from 1954, the last year the Giants had won the Series. Harry wore the hat faithfully, including the first two World Series wins in 2010. He took it off when we got to a friend’s house to watch Game 3, when they gave us NL championship hats. But when the Giants lost Game 3, we all agreed Harry had better wear the cap – and they never lost again!

    Harry showed off the hat when we were on the evening news during the 2010 Series.

    Talking Giants Baseball

    Ever since my first book came out in 2010, the Giants have been very good to me! Each World Series victory helps sell more books.

    Now that the Giants are once again in the Fall Classic, I will be talking about it with the wide-ranging Michael Krasny on KQED’s Forum, Monday Oct. 20 at 10 am Pacific time (1 pm Eastern).  You can listen live online or, if you’re in the Bay Area, on the radio at 88.5 FM.

    The audio will also stay online after the show, so you can listen any time afterwards!

    I will then get right to work on a special magazine that the San Francisco Chronicle is producing about the Giants’ magical 2014 season. We plan to have it out in time for the victory parade!

    Orange October, 2014 version

    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.

    World Series, baby!

    I almost did not recognize my San Francisco Giants when they started this postseason. And I’m not referring to the complete changeover in the starting eight from 2010 – with only Buster Posey remaining. (Pablo Sandoval rode the pine in that historic postseason.)

    Marco Scutaro drinking in raindrops in 2012 NLCS Game 7

    What I was wondering, less than one month ago: Where was the Torture? The Giants clinched the West so early, the world seemed upside-down.

    But through the National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds, and the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Giants have shown that even though they have so many new cast members, they all know the script: Torture.

    Having fallen behind two games to none against the Reds, the Giants managed to come all the way back. They proceeded to drop three of the first four games to the Cards, and once again won three straight to take the pennant.

    Memo to Bruce Bochy and the boys: Please just win this next series early!

    I had great fun the other day discussing this and other weighty matters on Michael Krasny‘s excellent program Forum on KQED. (Krasny graciously said that “Giants Past and Present” is “one of the best books about the Giants.”)  You can listen to the show here:

    The show opened with Giants’ President Larry Baer, and you could really hear how much fun he’s having. Larry is a lifelong Giants fan in his dream job, and you can’t help but smile every time you see him. Then Michael led a spirited discussion with me, KNBR’s awesome Marty Lurie, and San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy. I sure learned a lot listening to those guys – especially when Marty told us that, however bad Pete Kozma played shorstop for the Cardinals in the NLCS, he was not as bad as the Washington Senators’ Roger Peckinpaugh in the 1925 World Series, who made eight errors! (Another highlight: Marty let me try on his 2010 World Series ring – and it is a thing of beauty!)

    One thought I had that I did not get to share: As we discussed the Giants, and beautiful AT&T Park, I wanted to give props to General Manager Brian Sabean for building a team perfect for its ballpark. Instead of going out and signing home run hitters, who only get frustrated with the park’s wide open spaces, Sabean brought in gap hitters like Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Gregor Blanco. You could put Melky Cabrera in there too (even though we don’t really like to talk about him any more), and it looks like it’ll be a good fit for the Brandons – Belt and Crawford. Need I say Buster Posey?

    And maybe, if Hunter Pence hits more line drives like his famed “triple double” from game 7 of the NLCS – the ball that hit the bat three times – instead of swinging for the fences, the Giants will have the ingredients necessary to foil those big bopping Tigers.

    After all, Marty Lurie viewed Pence’s lucky-breaking line drive as karmic payback for Willie McCovey’s smash that ended the 1962 World Series. No one could have hit that ball any harder, but it went straight to the Yankees’ Bobby Richardson. Pence’s ball curved away from Kozma, and the Giants were in business.

    It’s good to be good. But sometimes it’s better to be lucky.

    Even if it’s a little Torturous.

    Damon Bruce loves the book!

    I had a great conversation with Damon Bruce last Friday on his show. We talked about Giants Past and Present. It was a great interview and a great treat for fathers day. Damon said, “It is a 1st class product all the way through – a well written, well crafted book.”


    Dan Fost on the Damon Bruce Show

    A great holiday gift!

    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.
    I’m in good company: other recommendations include the excellent biographies of Henry Aaron (“The Last Hero,” by Howard Bryant) and Willie Mays (eponymously titled, by James S. Hirsch), as well as “Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders,” by Peter Richmond and – my favorite – “Everything You Know Is Pong: How Mighty Table Tennis Shapes Our World,” by Roger Bennett and Eli Horowitz. (Bennett is coming to San Francisco for an event Dec. 14 that should be a blast; he’s a friend of mine and I heard his presentation on ping pong earlier this year, and it is both brilliant and hilarious.)
    In noticing my great timing — and hey, wouldn’t I love to say I knew the Giants would win the World Series when I wrote my book back in spring 2009 — McMurtrie is onto something: Since the Giants won the 2010 World Series, demand for my book has been through the roof. I’m humbled and gratified and, naturally, very grateful to the Giants! My publisher, MVP Books, tells me that they have fewer than 100 copies left in their warehouse, after an initial print run of 5,000.
    Other booksellers are running low. I heard the book was sold out at Borders in San Rafael earlier this month. Last month, I had to help out my friends at Laurel Bookstore in Oakland when they needed some in a pinch, and the Marin Country Day School book fair couldn’t get any more than 19 copies from the distributor, Ingram. We sold out of those in less than an hour on the first night of the weeklong fair; luckily I was able to provide them with 30 more copies, and they sold all of them!
    So whether you’re a bookstore or an individual fan, please let me know if you are having trouble finding the book, and I’ll do what I can to get you all the copies you need. And I’m happy to sell my copies at the author discount of $20 apiece. And with that, you can have a personal inscription as well!
    Please feel free to contact me at Happy holidays!

    Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Please!

    Dan Fost, his son Harry and two awesome bearded Giants fans

    OK, I’ll admit it: I am desperate.

    I’ve lived and died all year with the Giants, and now they are in the World Series, and I do not have tickets. Ouch!

    So I have an idea. A modest proposal. An offer that I hope somebody can’t refuse.

    Here’s the pitch: Take me out to the ballgame! Give me a seat at the Series. Let me sit in your box. In return, I will give you a copy of my book, with a special inscription just for you, and I will entertain you throughout the game with stories from the Giants’ history. (Feel free to make me a counter-offer as well – I’m all ears!)

    I have a full proposal up on Craigslist, which caught the attention of NBC Bay Area, who will have me and my son Harry making our pitch on the news tonight at 11 pm. (Harry is hoping you will have two tickets, and he’ll keep score for you, and he knows quite a bit about Giants history as well!)

    And if you decide you want to do it, you know where to find me – danfost (at) gmail (dot) com. Or call 347-338-8106.

    Giants boost the book!

    OK, time for some shameless self-promotion. The American Bookseller Association Web site reports:

    With the Major League Baseball post-season now underway, we present the Indie October Baseball Bestseller List, based on sales in independent bookstores nationwide for the eight-week period ending October 10, 2010.

    and Giants Past and Present is no. 19!

    I know a fair amount of the credit for that success goes first to the Giants, who are keeping fans interested in all aspects of their amazing history with their phenomenal run through the post-season.

    I also have to thank the folks at my publisher, MVP Books, who have been incredibly supportive, as well as my publicists — Diana Parker at Spoken Media early in the season, and more recently Susan MacTavish Best and Beth Cook at Best Public Relations.

    Since that memorable Oct. 3 game, when the Giants beat the Padres and catapulted into the playoffs, I’ve done at least 10 radio interviews. Interest in the Giants is soaring around the country! Here’s all the places I’ve been talking Giants baseball:

    Tuesday Oct. 5:

    FOX Sports New Mexico, AM1340, with Steve Borstein

    ESPN Radio Hawaii, KHLO AM 850 Hilo, KKON AM 790 Kona, , with Josh Pacheco

    Wednesday Oct. 6
    Gainesville, Florida WRUF 850 AM with host Steve Russell

    KQED FM 88.5 San Francisco, Forum with host Michael Krasny, and fellow guests Giants President and COO Larry Baer and Comcast and Sports Illustrated columnist Ann Killion

    Thursday, Oct. 7
    Johnson City, TN, WXSM 640 AM, WXSM with host Bobby Rader

    Portland, OR,  95.5 FM “The Game,” twice in one day:

    The Morning Sports Page with Chad Doing and Dwight Jaynes

    The John Lund Show

    Little Rock, AR, KABZ-FM/103.7 The Buzz/Buzz Radio Network

    Nashville, Tenn, WNSR 560 AM with host Jeff Thurn

    Friday, Oct. 8
    Phoenix, Ariz., KQNA 1130 AM/99.9 FM “Let’s Talk Sports,” with Sanford Cohen, Mike Austin and “The Doctor” Ron Corak.
    I am often asked my Amazon ranking, but I rarely check it – it’s not a particularly reliable barometer for regional books like mine. But it is #40 in baseball essays, whatever that’s worth.

    Fantastic feeling

    Dan Fost with a guy in a gigantic Giant Panda hat, feeling the love in an Orange October at Game One of the NLDS

    The sea of orange. The rally rags. The fake beards. The panda hats. The Lincecum wigs. The mohawks. The sign reading, “GET YOUR FREAK ON.” Everything about last night was just perfect.

    I sat in the center field bleachers and soaked in Tim Lincecum’s gem. The Braves never stood a chance. I was coming off a great day — I had done two radio interviews in Portland, one in Johnson City, Tenn., and one in Nashville just before game time, I had had lunch with some former Chronicle colleagues, I sold one book and signed another, and I had met with a Giants source I knew who told me great stories about the unheralded but incredible band of Giants middle relievers — Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo.

    And then: Game time!

    I knew when Lincecum struck out five straight Braves – the three through seven hitters in innings one and two – the Giants were in good shape, and I didn’t want the string of Ks to end. The word had been that the Braves’ defense and hitting were suspect, and they proved it last night – only two over .270 and two over .260. (For all their flaws, the Giants fielded three guys over .290, and three more over .260, and the other two are Juan Uribe and Pat Burrell, who I’m always happy to see step up to the plate.)

    Still, the moment that worried me more than any other was seeing crafty Bobby Cox bring in lefthander Jonny Venters to face Pablo Sandoval with runners on the corners and one out in the sixth. This was the Giants’ best chance to score — but I hate to see Pablo batting from the right side, with a runner on first. Everyone in the park knew he’d swing at the first pitch, and yup, he did, right into one of his patented double plays.

    I love Pablo, but I think he should give up on the switch hitting, like JT Snow did, and go lefty only. And I’d like to see Bruce Bochy outfit him for electric shocks every time he swings at a first pitch in a double play situation. Until either of those things happen, I think he should have been pulled for Mike Fontenot right then and there.

    But the best moment was the ninth inning. Brian Wilson was warmed up, I thought for sure he’d come in, as Lincecum had thrown 105 pitches. Wilson was at the top of the dugout steps, but then went back in, out came Timmy, and the crowd went crazy. The Braves had the top of the order up — no matter. One, two, three, and the Giants had a one game lead.

    No one wanted to leave. We were all high-fiving, cheering, drinking it all in. It felt so great.

    I love the way the Giants have brought the whole city together. I wish this feeling could last forever.

    The book goes local!

    A new venue is now selling “Giants Past and Present”: Diamond Sports, a baseball card and memorabilia shop in my hometown of San Rafael. I spend many happy hours there with my son, and we always come away with some treasure.

    Now they are carrying the book, with every copy signed, and the book will also be at their sister store in Concord.

    Diamond Sports is at 1144 4th St., San Rafael, and at 1280 Diamond Way, Concord.

    In addition, I was excited to see that the book is now in three Marin County libraries — San Rafael, Corte Madera and Mill Valley — and that it’s not only checked out in all three, but holds have been placed on its return in two of them! I hope everyone is enjoying the book!

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