Monday, March 2, 2015

Giants Blueprint - built to win now, later, and some other time I forgot



It has been funny reading the articles during this Giants team semi-Dynasty run. Everyone wants to know how the Giants do it, and what is their blue print that has allowed them to win 3 in 5 years. 

From a local perspective, it is easy to see. Brian Sabean has had a way of building teams, a style he has remained consistent to, and over time its become obvious. 




First: - he never left defense behind. Giants fans have been maddened by the hitters he has passed by because they weren't up to snuff defensively. And it has shown in the playoffs. The Giants have routinely taken advantage of an error, and consistently seen offensive juggernauts slain by the Giants boring plan of not making mistakes. 

2nd - They keep their money in house. You wouldn't know it based on the complaints about this off-season, but the Giants were 6th in payroll last year. this year, they are 4th, with only the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox behind them. But How? Because they don't let their key players leave, they spend the money to keep them, Pablo Sandoval aside. Look at all the double digit Millionaires they have: Buster Posey makes $16.5 million this year (9/167 extension), Matt Cain is making 20, Tim Lincecum 18, Hunter Pence 18.5, Tim Hudson 12, Angel Pagan 9, Marco Scutaro 7, Jake Peavy 11, and they gave Madison Bumgarner an extension years ago so that he is only making 6.5 this year. Considering they legitimately offered Pablo Sandoval 20 million a year, how many 15+ million dollar a year position players can one team have?

3rd - The Giants find undervalued players. It has been their most consistent trait. Sure, Billy Beane seems to do it better than anyone else, but look at some of the most KEY players in the Giants recent World Series Runs: Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, Marco Scutaro, Gregor Blanco, Travis Ishikawa, Ryan Vogelsong, Jake Peavy - none of these players were very highly regarded as players when the Giants acquired them. But each one of them made key contributions in the playoffs that brought home a championship.  

This is no overnight Success. Sabean has been the head of the Giants for 18 years, and in that times has seen a lot of ways to build teams. And he has seen the flaws in his early playoff teams. In this era of pitching, you can never have enough - that's why the Giants go into this season with 7 starters. They took undervalued players to fill holes in Left field and Third Base. And they go into 2015 ready to compete, entertain the Bay Area, and if they are close at the deadline, make a move to try for their first ever back to back championship. And if all else fails, they have nearly 50 million in payroll coming off the books next off-season (Lincecum, Hudson, Vogelsong, Scutaro, Affeldt, Mcgee and Aoiki. With their track record of winning with pitching, I am sure they will be tossing their hats in the ring to the either improve offensive shortcomings (Juston Upton, David Freese, Yoenis Cespedes) or further strengthen the starting rotations (David Price, Jeff Samardzija, Jordan Zimmerman)

Even in an odd year, its still good to be a Giants fan.

Monday, February 23, 2015

NFL - The cruel mistress

When people ask me why I am not a big college sports fan, I usually reply that it is too hard to keep up with the turnover. You watch a player grow for four years (if lucky) and when they get really good - they are gone.

Well I guess pro sports isn't any different. Look at the team that Jim Harbaugh went 13-3 with in 2011

QB - Alex Smith                                   LE - Justin Smith
RB - Frank Gore                                   NT - Isaac Sopoaga
FB - Bruce Miller                                 RE - Ray McDonald
WR - Micheal Crabtree                        OLB - Aldon Smith
WR - Tedd Ginn                                  MLB - Patrick Willis
TE - Vernon Davis                               MLB - Navarro Bowman
LT - Joe Staley                                     OLB - Ahmed Brooks
LG - Mike Iupati                                  CB - Carlos Rogers
C - Jonathon Goodwin                         CB - Tarrell Brown / Chris Culliver
RG - Alex Bone                                    FS - Dashon Goldsen
RT - Anthony Davis                             SS - Donte Whitner

This was a young team! On the cusp of a championship, and really, better than the Giants that year - it seemed like we were about to enter a 5-10 year championship window with play-makers on defense and a great offensive line. Flash Forward to this off season. 4 years later. Reports are the 49ers are anywhere from 4-8 million dollars over the cap. Even after cutting Ahmed Brooks, the Niners are about even on the cap. Assuming most of their high profile Free Agents leave and Justin Smith retires, look at what we may be rooting for next season:

QB - Colin Kapernik                            LE - Tony Jerrod-Eddie
RB - Carlos Hyde                                 NT - Ian Williams/Glenn Dorsey
FB - Bruce Miller                                 RE - Tank Carradine
WR - Anquan Bolden                          OLB - Aldon Smith
WR - Stevie Johnson                            MLB - Patrick Willis
TE - Vernon Davis                               MLB - Navarro Bowman / Chris Borland
LT - Joe Staley                                     OLB - Aaron Lynch
LG - Brandon Thomas                         CB - Tramaine Brock
C    - Marcus Martin                             CB - Dontae Johnson
RG - Alex Bone                                    FS - Eric Reid
RT - Anthony Davis                             SS - Antione Bethea

What happened? How is this roster taking up the cap?? I am sure some players will be approached to restructure - Kap, Johnson, Davis, Willis all feel like candidates for restructuring their contracts to free up some space - but even if everyone is ready and willing, this likely means just freeing up enough money to perhaps bring back Frank Gore or one of our other free agents.

Jim Tomsula said he wont try and talk Justin Smith out of retirement - well fans should hope he does, because without him that defensive front looks a little light. Despite the draft picks spent in recent years, it seems like another large DE to eventually replace Smith should be a 2nd-3rd round focus. Every team has a blue print, and Trent Baalke's seems to be that pass rush can eliminate the need for a ten million dollar corner-back - so With Chris Culliver set to get paid and Perrish Cox also coming off a strong year, the 49ers will need to revamp the pass rush and their corner depth.

I look at that roster and think it is still a talented team, but it will take one hell of a draft for us to match up with the top teams in the league. The team is  also a year away from discussing getting rid of Bowman or Willis for cap reasons and to let Borland play. Veron Davis is coming off a down yer and is a year away from free agency. The NFL is a cruel Mistress - I miss the days where you saw a great unit of players play together for the majority of their careers. I might as well just get into college - I know I'll get to watch those players for at least 3 years.

Thank god I am not an A's fan!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Breakfast Burger

I remember the first time I saw egg on a cheeseburger I thought someone had gone crazy. One day my little brother ordered it and I finally tried it... Now it is one of my favorite burger toppings. So of course, loving breakfast, I wanted to make my own version of a Breakfast burger.

 The hamburger patty I use is pretty small - its bigger around than the English muffin but is really tihng, probably only 2-3 ounces. 
 So, cook your bacon til crispy and set aside. Oops, I made too much... Toast the English muffin long enough to toast it, but time it so it can cool a smidge before you start plating.


While the bacon is getting healthy under some paper towels, push the muffin down and start cooking your burger to a perfect medium rare, and coer with cheese - the cheese doesn't have to totally melt.


 Take out the muffin, place the burger on top.



Last - crack the egg - I wanted to make a fried egg, but when I cracked it I knicked the yoke and it became a little more scrambled. The end result is delicious mess - that should have been served with tater tots...









Tortilla Pizza

Now I wont lie - I am no master chef - most of my recipe's are stolen, or adapted, from someone else's... But who DOESN'T do that. Any ways, when its a hand me down from your parents, even better.

My parents used to make tortilla pizza when I was a kid, but they always fried them - Well, cooked them in a frying pan, almost like you would a quesadilla. Well, I took that idea and put the thing in an Oven, the way a pizza was MEANT to be cooked.

I cooked these ones with home made pizza sauce, mozzarella(I shredded it myself - don't but that pre-shredded crap, its got some chemical spray on it so the cheese doesn't melt right).

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the tortilla, the spread a thing amounf of cheese - you do't want to over do it with either, this is a very light snack, great for when you are craving pizza but don't want to blow your diet, or to serve as an appetizer for friends.


I decided to make one salami as well, to show these will crisp enough to hold some toppings. Remember, you don't want to pack it, but light toppings like salami, pepperoni, or anything sliced thin shold be fine.
 

 I actually place these directly on the stove racks - I bet you could very easily BBQ them - but the over crisps it pretty good. You could probably do it in a pan, but I don't think the tortilla would crisp fast enough.


 Take them out once the cheese is melted and starts to brown and the tortilla edges get crispy - it doesn't take long, maybe only 10 minutes. But keep an eye on them - they can burn easily if you aren't careful.


 I cooked mine at 400 degrees, but I think hotter is better - max it out to 500 for a crispier tortilla, but you see from the pictures it holds the toppings pretty sturdily. And it isn't greasy at all.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

49ers - why I refuse to be bitter

I was there - We all thought the same thing - Ball hits ground, nothing but white jerseys near it, season over.

The NFC championship game was a tough pill to swallow. As I have told people the experience from my POV, when my voice returned a week later, that there wasn't a point in the game I didn't think "We've got this, we are going to the Super Bowl" right up until Kyle Williams second fumble.
                                                      (How I looked on the drive home)

But I am not trying to dwell on fumbles blown dead, or 3rd and long TDs, or poor kick returning. No, that's for Raiders fans to do. I prefer to think about how bright the future is for our beloved 49ers, and how things that looked so bleak one year ago have totally turned around.

The coaching is in place. Its obvious from a 13-3 record, AP Coach of the year, and the fact a lot of the assistants were interviewed for head coaching positions. The front Office is in place - this is the most talented the roster has been in years, the GM was just signed to an extension, and they have 30 million in cap space for 2012. Oh, and Mount Singletary has been torn down to make way for our brand new, state-of-the-art stadium.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

BBQ'd Taco's - Delicious

So - I was always a little bit ahead of the curve with guys my age when it came to cooking. Granted, I hung out with a lot of non-cooking mofos, but I am no culinary genius, just a little more handy than most.

So I wanted to start blogging again, I will continue the sports coverage, and I can't wait to write about my beloved 49ers, but I also want to start blogging some Sam specific recipes. Granted, the first one is one I've stolen from my dad, but I believe I've perfected it (of course).

So... BBQ TACOS! I love telling people I am making these without explaining, they usually look confused. Hell, even explaining it usually confuses people, its not til they see how its done do they understand. So first, the Ingredients list.

Ingrediants:

Hamburger
Garlic Salt
Cayenne Pepper
Corn Tortilla (Smaller ones)
Black Beans
Cheese
Salsa
Sour Cream
Lettuce
ETC

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Giants - Go Young my friends

This Giants season has been maddening - at times looking like the best team in the league, and finally, after roster crippling injuries, have show their true colors - an offense that cannot sustain having two of its best hitters out of the year, as well as losing -um, everyone not named Aubrey Huff.

They performed admirably despite these losses, and had hoped the Keppinger and Beltran additions would reinvigorate their postseason run, but with them being hurt, and their few remaining position players being run into the ground, it is time to go young

Hector Sanchez is already up. Brandon Crawford, Emmanuel Burris and Brett Pill should be up here, playing. As should Brandon Belt. The vets are tired, beat up, and not hitting. It is time to infuse a little youth, speed, and possibly - POWER! Belt is their most powerful bat outside of Pablo Sandoval, yet Bruce Bochy just wont trust him. Since being sent down, both Crawford and Burris have hit over .300. Pill, probably the best bat in the minors but with no position, can play first and second.

This isn't just about playing young guys to get them ready for roles next year, its about this year too. I can only see so many combinations of .240 hitters disguised as lead off and clean-up hitters. Wouldn't this be a refreshing line up on September first:

1. Torres - CF
2. Keppinger 2b
3. Panda - 3b
4. Beltran - RF
5. Schierholtz - LF
6. Belt - 1b
7. Crawford - SS
8. Sanchez - C

Its gotta be better than what we are trotting out there now... Until then, play some young guys - they actually have a chance to improve

49ers - Big test

I re-watched most of the 49ers first preseason game last night and came away much more positive than most of the fan base did.

Sure - the results were disastrous, but the little details are what caught my eye. I saw a coach who changed up his play calling to match the strengths of the players he had on the field, very un-Singletary like.

Positives

- The schemes. From Nolan to Singletary, the team's play calling has been transparent. Seeing us run out of the shotgun, throw more, and have multiple formations is a big step in the right direction. Now a result of this big fancy playbook coming into town - alot of the pressure you saw was due to missed assignments, not getting overpowered [Well, that and the Saints trying to prove something, blitzing the house all game for preseason game #1].

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm back

School is over, and I am getting more and more of a hankering to do some writing, and Yelp just isn't quite doing the trick.

More to come soon...

Monday, November 29, 2010

UUUUUUUUU

Say it aint so, Juan!

One of my favorite players to root for, Juan Uribe, has become a Dodger

He might be the first Dodger I cannot Boo - after what he brought this team the past two years, he practically deserves a statue

BUT - I agree with Sabean for not re-signing him. Sabean kept the more popular player who had the better year - I would be willing to bet, if the Dodger are intending on Uribe starting 140+ games, they will be regretting that contract. As its been since the start of last off season, Sabean gets another A+ for this non move