EXTRAS: Bochy addresses team: 'We've got to get better'


EXTRAS: Bochy addresses team: 'We've got to get better'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Bruce Bochy sat in his darkened office, his pensivecountenance illuminated by the sudden flash of a match. The end of his cigar glowedorange as he inhaledOK, enough purple prose. I was describing the introductory sceneto The Franchise, which got past the corny bits and delved into quite a fewinteresting vignettes about a team trying to defend its World Series title.The Showtime documentary cameras moved on to South Florida. Theyre probablyfollowing Ozzie Guillen around Bed Bath and Beyond right now. Bochy can lighthis cigars with the office fluorescents less dramatically switched on.And the Giants are better off for it.

Its something we talked about, said Bochy, who met withthe players for 20 minutes before they took the field for the first full-squadworkout of the spring. We had our distractions last year. They earned that.That goes with winning the World Series. I think we can do a better job withpregame preparation. That was a subject that we covered today.The rest of the meeting was mostly introductions for the new guys. But Bochyalso challenged the team to be better in all phases. Ready to run through a brickwall. All that stuff.We talked about things we wanted to accomplish, he said. Wevegot to get better. You look at last season, and I thought about it quite a bit Sure, you look at the offense, but there were other facets of the game wevegot to get better at. Weve got to get away from being too one-dimensional.--As mentioned earlier, Buster Posey worked with the firstbasemen during infield drills. They spent most of the time practicing pickoffplays. But Bochy reiterated that Posey wouldnt go through intensiveinstruction at the position.He may stand there for a fundamental (drill) when he has awindow, Bochy said. I want his focus to be on catching. He seems prettycomfortable over there (at first base). We do need to make sure he stayscomfortable.--Brian Wilson (right elbow) played long toss one day afterthrowing hard in a bullpen session, and told trainers that he was feeling noill effects.Wilson wont be among the pitchers facing hitters when livebatting practice begins on Sunday, though. Thats always a fun exercise.Nothing like Timmy vs. Pablo to make everyone stop and watch.--Aubrey Huff didnt need to be humbled last season to honehis self-deprecating humor. Thats always part of his game.He clanked a ground ball in infield drills and exclaimed,First one, had to be me. It couldnt be one of the young guys?Huff also added silly string to his daily torments for thefriendly neighborhood beat reporters. I hope those cans run out fast.--Jeremy Affeldt on Twitter, after a goalie for the OttawaSenators cut his hand while preparing a meal: Been there!

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role


Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role. 

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. The job was previously held by Shane Turner. At the end of the season, team officials hinted that Turner could be one of several members of the organization to be reassigned. 

In a statement, general manager Bobby Evans said Bell will "help shape our ongoing strategy and continued commitment to player development."

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS.

Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered


Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.