It was “Metallica Night” at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The band was on hand and even performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the pre-game ceremonies.
Even better, the Giants players on the Jumbotron have been “Metallica-ized”.
Dont’t forget tonight’s starter Barry Zito getting to have a jam session with the metal legends.
Things could get awkward though if “Enter Sandman” is played and Mariano Rivera doesn’t appear.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Forgive my giggles. But when I see a gigantic, inflatable rubber ducky sitting in a harbor in Hong Kong, I laugh uncontrollably. There is something innocent, hilarious and charming about a rubber ducky of any size, but this Godzilla-sized specimen is special.
Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman displays his creation in major waterfronts in major cities in order to “revolutionize the way people view public spaces.” For my money, the giant rubber ducky does a great job of accomplishing that goal.
And while I wanted to be selfish and capture it for my backyard, I will share this with the rest of the baseball-loving world: My personal renderings of the three best MLB locations for Mr. Quackenbush (I know, I know…I shouldn’t name him, I’ll become attached.)
1. McCovey Cove at AT&T Park in San Francisco
Those kayakers out there are going to have some stiff competition for any splash hits. Unfortunately, the Giants were still able to charge $50 a pop for floating room only tickets. And yes, I had to add that little touch on top…
2. PNC Park in Pittsburgh
That bridge sure is pretty, especially when half of it is obstructed by our giant rubber ducky floating on the Allegheny River behind the right-centerfield bleachers. Chances are, the duck is going to have a field day snatching popcorn from fans in the back row.
3. Kauffman Stadium Fountains in Kansas City
I can’t think of a better place to chill in the summer heat and watch a game than in a constant stream of nice, cool water. The Royals are finally relevant, so the ducky would have something to quack for! Heads up when the water cannons go off, though.
Do you think the artist, again of Dutch origin, would adorn the duck with a #Honkbal cap if it was sitting outside a MLB stadium? I really, really hope so. Because this whole #DuckyInfiltratesMLB thing must happen, and happen soon!
Tweet us @3u3d with your suggestions of other MLB-related places for the ducky to squat. Make sure to hashtag #DuckyInfiltratesMLB and we will retweet the best ones! There are plenty of water features among MLB stadiums to choose from, but don’t limit your selections to that. And are they all going to be in right-centerfield??
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
I tweeted an honest question out earlier, and I got a pretty significant amount of responses. The natural next step was a blog, so here we are: If two baseball fans were to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, splitting gas and food and each buying one bleacher ticket for a game at Dodger Stadium, would it cost less than $200 total?
The reason I ask is because I’m butt hurt. Very much so, in fact. I’m a diehard Dodgers fan born, raised, and still living in San Francisco, who wants nothing more than to go see Clayton Kershaw embarrass the rival Giants on their home turf on Friday night.
The only problem? I get paid a small stipend every month, and Mapes continues to “lose” my 3u3d paycheck. The next problem? AT&T Park is charging nearly $100 a pop for standing room only for that game.
I know. Don’t get me started.
Anyway, let’s get down to the math:
From the city of San Francisco to Dodger Stadium is 382 miles, according to our good friend Google Maps. Assuming we start with a full tank in a standard mid-size car getting about 33 miles to the gallon with a 14-gallon tank (the specs of the car I would personally drive in this scenario), we can figure out how much the gas would cost each way.
As of last week, the average price of a gallon of Unleaded gas in California was 3.94. So this car needs a tank about every 450 miles. It’s very fair to assume, even accounting for fluctuation between highways and city streets and any adventuring in between, that it would take two fill-ups to get there and back.
That’s $110.32 in gas. Let’s just throw in $30 for a stop at In-N-Out before the game and Taco Bell on the way home (SO WHAT? DON’T JUDGE ME!) and head to the home stretch. Bleacher seats for the next Dodgers home game against the Giants top out around $25 each right now.
Adding in the fare for tickets and food, you’re looking at a $95 trip per person. I live in San Francisco. And it would cost me $5 more to just walk to the ball park and watch my team play (standing up, no less) at AT&T Park.
It’s a beautiful stadium, but that is atrocious. I’ll keep my spot on the couch instead, thanks.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
In about six weeks, the World Baseball Classic will be upon us again and Team USA will look to win its first title in the competition’s history. They’ve got a good shot — manager Joe Torre released his roster on Thursday, and they are absolutely loaded.
Unfortunately for fans of Team USA, one glance at a few competing rosters will stop the celebration in its tracks. Can someone unseat two-time defending champions, Team Japan? Will Team USA improve upon their 4th-place finish in 2009?
We can’t predict the results down to the wire, but we’re here to do what we do best at Three Up, Three Down. We rank the rosters! So strap in, baseball fans, and see if your favorite team stands a chance:
**The “Stick to Soccer” Group**
Notable player(s): Barry Larkin, Manager (and Hall of Fame Reds SS)
International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Ranking: 20
Breakdown: Good thing for their dominance on the international soccer scene, because Brazil isn’t going anywhere in the Classic. Yan Gomes was the first Brazilian player to ever reach the big leagues, and the country itself only has 14 players signed to Major League contracts. How they will win: They won’t. Why they won’t: See “How they will win.”
Notable player(s): Bruce Chen, SP, Royals
IBAF Ranking: 18
Breakdown: The Chinese baseball team is a decade away from being a serious contender, but they are headed in the right direction. They’ve made steady improvements over international tournaments since a decent showing at the 2009 WBC, in which they eliminated Chinese Taipei. How they will win: Hustle, starting pitching. Why they won’t: Not enough of either.
Notable player(s): Paco Rodriguez, RP, Dodgers/Engel Beltre, OF, Rangers
IBAF Ranking: 16
Breakdown: I’m not sure what to think about Spain. They lack star power, but did knock off Israel and South Africa in qualifiers. The roster is dotted with promising Major League prospects, but I don’t foresee Spain winning more than a game, maybe two in the WBC. How they will win: Breakout tourney from Beltre. Why they won’t: Their Pool C competition is stacked (Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic).
Notable player(s): Jason Grilli, RP, Pirates/Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees/Nick Punto, IF, Dodgers/Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs/Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres
IBAF Ranking: 9
Breakdown: Not only did we miss out on a Hall of Fame induction for Mike Piazza, but he won’t be participating on Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic either. Props to the Italians for back-to-back Euro Championships, but the competition is pretty weak over there right now. I think they will be humbled in the WBC. How they will win: Play with a chip on their shoulder. Why they won’t: Even the MLB-level hitters are thin.
#12: KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS
Notable Player(s): Jair Jurrjens, SP, MLB Free Agent/Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox/Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers/Jonathan Schoop, 3B, Orioles/Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves/Roger Bernadina, OF, Nationals/Andruw Jones, OF, MLB Free Agent
IBAF Ranking: 7
Breakdown: The Dutch soccer team is one of my favorites to watch. And for the first time in recent memory, so will their baseball team. They just missed my “dark horse” cut, due to sheer overall talent of the rest of the field. But the Major League potential of some youngsters on this roster is extremely intriguing. They’ve won 20 of 32 Euro Championships ever played. How they will win: Infield of dreams breaks out. Why they won’t: Not all the youngsters will perform.
**The Dark Horses**
#11: SOUTH KOREA
Notable player(s): Jae Seo, SP, former Met, Dodger, Ray in MLB
IBAF Ranking: 4
Breakdown: I feel ridiculous ranking Korea this low, considering their past successes in the WBC. But, it’s the third time this tournament has been played and each team has scouting on the opposition now. I don’t think South Korea will sneak up on anyone this time around. How they will win: High on-base percentage, good defense. Why they won’t: Too much good competition.
Notable player(s): Peter Moylan, RP, Dodgers
IBAF Ranking: 10
Breakdown: There’s a handful of good Major League players (like A’s closer Grant Balfour) who hail from the land down under, but there isn’t a whole lot of MLB experience on this roster. Team Australia still has a shot at advancing, but they may have more trouble than in years past. How they will win: Pure grit. Why they won’t: Not enough runs, upstart opposition in Pool B.
Notable player(s): Jesse Crain, RP, White Sox/John Axford, RP, Brewers/Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates/Russell Martin, C, Pirates/Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays/Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
IBAF Ranking: 6
Breakdown: We all know that Canada produces some bona fide stars in MLB (Joey Votto, anyone?), but not all are present and accounted for on this roster, similar to Team Australia. They still have the talent to make a run with Lawrie, Morneau and Martin in the middle of the lineup though. How they will win: Dominant bullpen, good middle of the lineup. Why they won’t: Too much youth in the rotation.
#8: CHINESE TAIPEI
Notable player(s): Chien-Ming Wang, SP, MLB Free Agent
IBAF Ranking: 5
Breakdown: There’s a reason that Team Chinese Taipei is a top-five ranked country right now. But their proudest current professional representative (Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen) is not on the team yet. This team is still legit, and has a very winnable pool group. How they will win: Small ball. Why they won’t: Overall talent is lacking.
**The “Justtttt A Bit Outside” Group**
#7: PUERTO RICO
Notable player(s): Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals/Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals/Angel Pagan, OF, Giants/Mike Aviles, IF, Indians/Javier Vasquez, SP, MLB Free Agent
IBAF Ranking: 12
Breakdown: There may be no more high-ceiling-yet-average team in the WBC this year. Team Puerto Rico has finished fifth at both tournaments preceding this, and killed Team USA in 2009 before being ousted by them two games later on a walk-off hit. Even with players such as Molina, Beltran and Pagan, they won’t even be favorites in their own pool. How they will win: The Major League talent they have is relentlessly good. Why they won’t: Lack of depth in the rotation.
Notable player(s): Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers/Luis Cruz, 3B, Dodgers/Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers/Danny Espinosa, 2B, Nationals/Sergio Romo, RP, Giants
IBAF Ranking: 11
Breakdown: In their pool, Team Mexico will have to deal with Team USA, but other than that they should be favored to top Team Canada and Team Italy to move on. They have a decent infield, top-of-the-line ace, and one of the best closers in baseball. How they will win: Adrian Gonzalez goes off, Gallardo is dominant. Why they won’t: Romo is neutralized unless they have a lead late.
Notable player(s): None
IBAF Ranking: 1
Breakdown: Don’t let the lack of notable players deceive you — this team is good. Really good. They have played in the IBAF World Cup 29 times and won 25 gold medals, finishing second the other four times. In the WBC, Team Cuba has finished second and fourth (which, at the time, was their lowest finish ever in international competition). They just can’t legally have players like Aroldis Chapman or Yoenis Cespedes on their squad, otherwise they might be even better. How they will win: Hard-throwing starters, handful of five-tool prospects. Why they won’t: The top four teams are just too stacked.
Notable player(s): None
IBAF Ranking: 3
Breakdown: Again, don’t let the lack of Major League firepower fool you. Much like Cuba, Team Japan has been a hotbed for MLB stars over the years (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Yu Darvish). Even though none of them joined the fray in 2013, this team is stacked. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of future MLB players come off this roster after good WBC performances. After all, they are two-for-two in WBC titles up to this point. How they will win: Ichiro-style on-base scavengers, deceptive pitching. Why they won’t: Not having Ichiro and Darvish, among others, will end up costing Team Japan.
#3: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Notable player(s): Santiago Casilla, RP, Giants/Octavio Dotel, RP, Tigers/Alexi Ogando, RP, Rangers/Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays/Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Pirates/Edinson Volquez, SP, Reds/Carlos Santana, C, Indians/Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers/Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees/Edwin Encarnacion, DH/OF, Blue Jays/Hanley Ramirez, IF, Dodgers/Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays/Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers/Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays
IBAF Ranking: 13
Breakdown: The only reason Team Dominica is ranked so low by the IBAF is because all those notable players are stars in the big leagues, and don’t regularly compete internationally for their country. But now that the WBC has rolled around again, this is one unbelievably good team. My only concern is their starting pitching depth. How they will win: Scoring 15 runs per game (no…really). Why they won’t: Like I said, starting pitching depth. Will Volquez and Rodriguez be enough?
#2: UNITED STATES
Notable player(s): Jeremy Affeldt, RP, Giants/R.A. Dickey, SP, Blue Jays/Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves/Kris Medlen, SP, Braves/Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants/Chris Perez, RP, Indians/Joe Mauer, C, Twins/Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds/Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies/David Wright, 3B, Mets/Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees/Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers/Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins/Adam Jones, OF, Orioles/Joe Torre, Manager
IBAF Ranking: 2
Breakdown: I didn’t even pick all the “notable players” I could have for this team. It’s Team USA’s equivalent of the MLB Dream Team, and Justin Verlander still is undecided as to whether he’ll join the rotation. This team is already a favorite with a balanced lineup and very strong pitching staff, but adding JV would be a coup. Check out fellow Three Up, Three Down host Bryan Mapes’ grades-by-position for Team USA. How they will win: Veteran experience, explosive pitching. Why they won’t: The bane of their existence, Team Japan, will come along eventually.
Notable player(s): Anibal Sanchez, SP, Tigers/Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners/Francisco Rodriguez, RP, MLB Free Agent/Ronald Belisario, RP, Dodgers/Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks/Salvador Perez, C, Royals/Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers/Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians/Miguel Cabrera, 3B/1B, Tigers/Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants/Marco Scutaro, 2B, Giants/Carols Gonzalez, OF, Rockies/Gerardo Parra, OF, Diamondbacks
IBAF Ranking: 8
Breakdown: The quantity of star power on Team Venezuela might not match up to Team USA or Team Dominica, but the quality is far and beyond. When you start your rotation with Hernandez and stack the middle of your lineup with the reigning Triple Crown winner between Gonzalez and Sandoval, you are a very, very scary team. Even though their WBC pool is very tough, it would be a momentous upset to not see Team Venezuela make moves in the 2013 tournament. How they will win: A large margin of victory. Against anyone. Why they won’t: Slumping hitters or being outplayed by one of the other favorites.
And that’s a wrap. This writer believes Team Venezuela is the team to beat, with Team USA, Team Dominica and Team Japan not far behind. But in all honesty, there are about 10-11 teams who could potentially take home the title in 2013. Root for your team and country to take home top honors, and stay tuned to Three Up, Three Down because we’ll have all your World Baseball Classic coverage.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Baseball is full of rivalries. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Giants vs. Dodgers. Cardinals vs. Cubs. Mapes vs. Jeremy. Alright, maybe not the last one. An underrated rivalry though is the battle of garlic fries between AT&T Park in San Francisco and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. I’ve broken down the deliciousness that is the Yankees version in a previous Chowin’ Down. I went to San Francisco for the first time this past weekend and had one objective, garlic fries. After having had both, let’s see if we can see which ballpark has the greater garlic fries.
Yankee Stadium: Small-$7.00, Large-$9.50 and add cheese for $.50
AT&T Park: $7.50, $11.50 with chicken tenders
Where Can I Buy Them?
Yankee Stadium: One stand in each section, behind 108, 205 and 331
AT&T Park: Behind sections 103, 118, 130, 311, 323, 331 and in lower center field
Advantage: AT&T Park
Can I Get a Cheesesteak in the Same Place?
Yankee Stadium: No
AT&T Park: Yes
Advantage: AT&T Park, though always make sure you bring a friend to stand in the cheesesteak line while you’re in the garlic fries line
Do They Make Your Mouth Water?
Oh come on, they both did: Advantage: Push
I can assure you both are near the pinnacle of ballpark delciousness. Giants fries were crispier, but had a little more olive oil. Yankees fries were soggier, but the garlic meshed better with the fries. Advantage: Yankee Stadium, slightly
Both are awesome choices on either coast. Rejoice Giants fans, I’m giving your fries the edge just based on the the fact that I can get them in more places in the stadium and I don’t have to wait in line for my 2nd favorite ballpark food, the cheesesteak.
Which garlic fries do you prefer? Is there another ballpark’s that I need to try? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Our dear friend Ally Williams (@itsallyduhh) has the fortunate job of the Real Time Correspondent for the San Francisco Giants. That also means that she was present for the 22nd Perfect Game in MLB history. We asked her to recall what it was like throughout the experience and post it for you here. Enjoy!
“It’s been six days and the euphoria that followed Matt Cain’s perfect game hasn’t worn off quite yet. I had the pleasure of experiencing history first hand on Wednesday night as a real-time coordinator for the San Francisco Giants. I take fan photos, video and interviews, so I was out in the thick of things for the majority of the game.
It’s hard to judge just when it’s okay to start thinking the words “perfect game.” After watching Cain sit down nine straight batters, it was clear he was having a good outing—as usual. In the sixth, Chris Snyder drilled a ball out to left, only to land in Melky Cabrera’s glove right at the wall.
Gregor Blanco’s catch in the top of the seventh solidified the feeling that something big was meant to happen that night. I understand there’s no cheering in the press box but it was nearly impossible to stay silent after a play like that. I failed to stifle a shriek and figured it was time to head back out into the stands.
You can’t plan to go to a perfect game. It’s not something on your ticket description, something you get an email alert for. That makes games like this even better. The feeling that you get at a perfect game rivals any other Major League Baseball experience. There have been several amazing moments at AT&T Park in its short 12 years of existence but Matt Cain’s perfect game may be the best memory those fans in attendance could ever have.
June 13, 2012 not only solidified Matt Cain’s already established reputation, but also put him in the spotlight for one of the first times in his career. The Giants are full of characters, plus a talented and decorated pitching rotation that has been led by Tim Lincecum. Cain may not get the same attention as some of his teammates but has been one of—if not the—most reliable players since he came to San Francisco. He’s a horse with the lowest WHIP in the league, currently leading the National League in innings pitched and strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s near the top of most of the other important stats, too. When Matt Cain is pitching, you’re going to see a great player at work.
Despite the lack of attention, he goes out every night and delivers, and this perfect game is all the more special because he was the one on the mound. The crowd was electric that night and the next day fans all around the ballpark emphasized the fact that they were thankful Cain was the one who got it done. The consensus was he deserved it more than anyone. Cain brings stability and humility to the field and the fans feel it. It doesn’t get better than watching a guy like that pitch his way into history.
27 outs. 14 strikeouts. He even scored a run that night. Matt Cain can do it all.”
Does any city in the world do clam chowder better than San Francisco? Methinks not. And as much as I despise the seagulls, prices and fans (not to mention the team) in AT&T Park, I won’t deny its beauty.
San Francisco is a fantastic place to take in a ball game and root against the hometown Giants. Which is exactly what I did last night. I donned St. Louis red and became the biggest honorary Cardinals fan in the history of baseball for three hours.
Whatever I did worked, because the Cards pulled out a win on the road and sent this Dodger fan home happy with a full stomach. Wait. What?
Oh yes, people. In true Three Up, Three Down fashion, I hunted for the most unique meal in the ball park and chowed down on it like there was no tomorrow.
One thing that helps AT&T Park stand out from the pack as far as concessions go is that they have a plethora of interesting food options. From hot fudge Ghirardelli sundaes, to fancily-cut sandwiches and the infamous Cha Cha Bowl, the stadium has it all.
My peers voted on a very specific treat for me to try: a crab sandwich. Naturally, my mouth started to drool at the prospects of eating something so fancy and delicious at a baseball game. Then, after walking around the entirety of the stadium to find it, I discovered that for only $16, I could purchase and eat a crab “sandwich” that was more like half a claw’s worth of meat, topped with a tomato, squished between two tiny crackers.
I kid you not, that sandwich looked as big as an infant’s fist. A very small infant. So I passed. And doubled back to the soup stand, where I instead bought a big bread bowl of New England clam chowder.
And it…was…GLORIOUS. Extra bonus points for cold weather, making the soup even more delicious than it would have been otherwise. It was only about $8-9 for a full bread bowl. The bread was a tiny bit stale, but hardly noticeable. The chowder itself warmed me to the core and was loaded with potatoes and clams.
The vendor definitely didn’t skimp on the soup, heartily filling the bowl to the brim. I’m a huge fan of chowder, and somewhat of a snob since I live in the Bay Area and get to experience delicious clam chowder whenever I please. And despite all that, I was thoroughly impressed with the clam chowder at AT&T.
Naturally, it was the only thing about the Giants that impressed me. But we’ll save that for a different day.
For now, just take my word: If you go to a Giants home game at any point, make sure to check out the clam chowder stands and nab a delicious bread bowl of fresh, local soup. You won’t regret it!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)