Giants

Raiders in San Francisco makes sense -- for right amount of money

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AP

Raiders in San Francisco makes sense -- for right amount of money

The hot news dump of the day is that the San Francisco Giants are “considering” the conversion of their ballpark to the home of Black Hole 2.0.

And by “considering,” we mean trying to figure out how much money they can squeeze out of Mark Davis’ claws to let them tear up the ball field 10 times. Or, more practically, whether they can allow the ball field to be torn up a minimum of three times for a ten-figure rent check.

For starters, this isn’t the first time the subject has been broached. The Raiders discussed the idea of playing at AT&T while the Coliseum would have been renovated several years ago, and Davis was considered to be bullish on the idea, according to two sources. Those renovations never happened, as events in Los Angeles and later Las Vegas intervened. It is not known how far along the Giants were in these discussions or whether they were involved at all.

Second, the number of potential options are almost nonexistent, as more than one source has said that San Diego is a complete non-starter in the eyes of the NFL with the Rams and Chargers up the road. Both teams are marketing heavily in San Diego and don’t want their efforts damaged by even a year of the Raiders.

Third, nobody -- including the league -- is very keen on Santa Clara except in a disaster scenario, which a deal at AT&T would avert.

And fourth, Oakland is still considered by most people around the process to be the most viable result, with a bit of lawyering between the city and the team the only real obstacle to a temporary cessation of hostilities.

But if Oakland is truly out of the picture, let’s consider the logistics.

The 2019 regular season will open September 5, a Thursday night which is traditionally reserved for the home opener of the Super Bowl champion. So no Raiders then, we can safely say ...

Thus, the season actually begins on September 8, which means that conceivably the Raiders could play their first three games on the road and then have their “home” opener in either London or Mexico City on the 29th, which also happens to be the final day of Major League Baseball’s regular season. They could also be among the first teams to have their bye week in Week 4, so assuming the Giants are not a playoff team (which is awfully safe even with Pat Venditte), the Raiders wouldn’t have to play a regular season game at AT&T until after the Giants season is over.

In addition, the Raiders could play at least one, if not both, of their exhibition games at neutral sites, which would mean they would only need AT&T for eight rather than 10 dates. That way, their cleats would only foul the hallowed grounds of the National League West’s last-place team twice at most and zero times at best, and Davis wouldn’t have his delicates in a clot over the shame of paying for more infield dirt.
 
Other possibilities, though less likely, include the Giants and Dodgers swapping their season-ending series so that the Raiders could have their home opener on the 29th, or the Giants swapping their last series with Colorado so that the Raiders could open on Thursday the 26th. Those are longshots, though, and would have to be cleared with Major League Baseball and its players association, if for no better reason than the optic of conciliation.
 
So that’s the logistics -- maximum money, minimum damage to the pasture of the real cash cow.
 
Now the psychic issue -- football on said hallowed grounds. Nice try, but no sell. The Giants have taken rent money from Vince McMahon for his XFL team. That means they would take money from nearly anyone as long as the amount meets the current industry standard of “all we can grab.” And the Giants are not averse to taking money.
 
Finally, there are the aesthetics of Raiders fans at Third And King v. the snobbery of your San Francisco sporting intellgentsia. Again, this is a minimal issue; they can tailgate on the ferries from Alameda and Oakland, or on BART, or if they’re really elitist, on the limo from Concord. There will be Parking Lot A for a precious few, but it might take some convincing just to get Raider fans to give the Giants the money they already are paying to cover Mark’s lease payments.
 
In short, this is not a difficult do logistically, financially or emotionally, unless the fans rise as one (or, in case there is only one fan left) and say they will not watch the Raiders play as the home team in San Francisco.
 
But as a cynical matter, Davis surely must regard the 2019 season as something to get out of the way before the fun of owning the team resumes in 2020. In that way, he’ll be a bit like Dean Spanos, killing time as the cost of doing business, only the likelihood of the Raiders winning the AFC West next year is a lot less than that of the Los Angeles Chargers winning it this year. Jon Gruden might complain about a potential competitive disadvantage, but having eight of the last 12 games at home would mean his objections would be effectively muted. That, plus the fact that the team he would bring to bear in 2019 would still be at least a light year from playoff contention, would nullify his objections almost as much as Mark Davis saying, “You make $10 million a year, play with pain.”
 
So yes, it can be done, for the right amount of money (the Raiders were willing to give $7.5 million to the city of Oakland, so Larry Baer would surely be looking at $10 million as a starting point for negotiations, or in the alternative the parking and concessions, making the Raiders a cash-poor team yet one more year). And if either Giants or Raiders fans find the concept objectionable, well, I think we can honestly figure that if the fans ever figured into this at any point, the Raiders wouldn’t be in the position they’re in today -- homeless, desperate, and willing to take a short-term punch in the face for a long-term home.

Watch Giants prospect Jacob Heyward get ejected on call by robot umpire

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AP

Watch Giants prospect Jacob Heyward get ejected on call by robot umpire

Players getting angry towards an umpire is synonymous with baseball. And during the Arizona Fall League, it's no different ... even if you're arguing with technology.

During a Tuesday fall league game, Giants outfield prospect Jacob Heyward, the younger brother of Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, was ejected after striking out on a call made by a robot umpire:

Looks low and inside, right?

But if you scroll to the next photo of the Instagram post, the pitch tracker shows it was, indeed, a strike. 

So who (or what) was Heyward yelling at if he was unsatisfied with the call? Heyward appears to claim his displeasure wasn't with the home plate umpire -- who simply was relaying the call from a computer system -- but he was ejected nevertheless.

This year, the automated ball-strike system (ABS) has been implemented to use at all games being played at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The independent Atlantic League first tested the technology, which includes a real-life umpire still manning duties behind the plate. The ump receives communications via an earpiece that's connected to an iPhone, and then relays the call from the TrackMan computer system.

[RELATED: Giants infielder Dubon engaged at Disneyland Paris]

Yes, it's complicated.

Despite Heyward's reaction, the data shows the pitch was a strike. And even if this is the case from now on (MLB will sometimes adopt these "experiments" down the line) the human element of emotions still will always come into play. 

MLB rumors: Giants interested in Royals' Mike Matheny for manager job

MLB rumors: Giants interested in Royals' Mike Matheny for manager job

The carousel continues to turn for the Giants manager job.

Former Giants catcher Mike Matheny has drawn interest from San Francisco for its managerial position, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.

Matheny played his final two MLB seasons with the Giants and retired from baseball in 2007. The four-time Gold Glove winner managed the Cardinals from 2012-18, finishing with 591 wins and 474 losses, good for a .555 winning percentage. 

He has spent the past two seasons with the Kansas City Royals as a special advisor for player development. 

[RELATED: Source: Giants interested in Cubs' Venable for manager job]

It is important to note the Giants have not been reported to have reached out to Matheny or brought him in for an interview.

As the process continues, Matheny is not likely to be the last name we hear associated with interviewing to take over for Bruce Bochy in San Francisco.