Giants

Rob Manfred says MLB could cancel season if coronavirus does not pass

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USATSI

Rob Manfred says MLB could cancel season if coronavirus does not pass

Could the entire MLB be season be in danger?

MLB would "have to accept that as a reality" if health experts did not deem the coronavirus pandemic contained enough for the baseball season to start, commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday night.

"I think that if in fact the situation with respect to the virus is such that it's not safe to resume play," Manfred told ESPN's Scott Van Pelt on "Sportscenter" on Wednesday night, "whether it's in alternate sites, empty stadiums, whatever it is, we have to accept that as a reality. It would be a tremendous hardship (to cancel the season). It would be a hardship for our fans, it'd be a hardship for our players and, frankly, it'd be a huge economic hardship for our owners.

"It would be a real tragedy, but the one thing I know for sure is baseball will be back. Whenever it's safe to play, we'll be back. Our fans will be back, our players will be back and we will be part of the recovery, healing in this country from this particular pandemic."

Opening Day was supposed to occur Thursday, but MLB most recently pushed back the start of the season until at least mid-May following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention barring gatherings of 50-plus people. Numerous local and state governments, including California, have issued shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders since then in an effort to halt the coronavirus' spread and limit the impact on hospitals and public health systems.

COVID-19 cases in the United States continue to climb, with NBC News reporting confirming over 54,000 nationwide. Manfred said Wednesday he hoped for a regular season with a "credible" number of games, but MLB will first need approval to start the 2020 season before determining its length.

"Obviously our fans love a 162-game season and the postseason format that we have," Manfred told Van Pelt. "We're probably not gonna be able to do that this year. I think that's clear, and it does give us an opportunity to do some different things, to experiment and to make sure that we provide as many games as possible and as entertaining a product as possible."

[RELATED: Pence doesn't think shorter season cheapens World Series]

Manfred said MLB wants to play as many games as possible this season, while also considering "the limitations associated with the public-health concerns."

The decision on the season's length, then, largely is out of baseball's hands.

Former Giant Randy Winn describes feeling of month-long hot streak

Former Giant Randy Winn describes feeling of month-long hot streak

A starting pitcher can take control of a game and singlehandedly lead his team to a win, but in general, it's hard for baseball players to will their team to victory day after day.

Starters pitch once every five days and position players know that even on a five-hit night, you're dependent on your own pitchers standing tall, and every time you reach base, you have to wait a couple innings for another chance to impact the game.

But every once in a while, a hitter gets so hot that it seems he's carrying his team for weeks at a time. The Giants last truly experienced this in 2018, when Brandon Crawford briefly thrust himself into the MVP race and earned an All-Star selection with an absurd stretch in May and June.

Buster Posey won the MVP award with his second half of 2012, and Melky Cabrera dragged the Giants to plenty of wins earlier that year before failing a PED test. In the first half of this century, Barry Bonds could carry the lineup for weeks, even seasons, at a time. 

Randy Winn experienced that after being traded to the Giants from the Mariners in 2005, and that year he had his own hot streak that to this day is one of the most impressive in franchise history. Over the final 30 games of that season, Winn had 54 hits in 123 at-bats, good for a .439 batting average. He hit 11 homers, 13 doubles and three triples, with a slugging percentage of .862 and OPS of 1.331. 

On this week's Giants Insider Podcast, Winn recalled what it felt like to get that hot for such a long period of time. 

"Nothing felt different -- everything just felt really, really easy and really slow," Winn said. "Whenever I felt like I wanted to take a pitch, the pitcher would throw a ball. If in my mind I was thinking, you know what, he might throw me a changeup, and he would throw me a changeup and it was very hittable. When anybody describes 'the zone' or being on fire, what they say is always the same: Everything was really slow, I was really relaxed, and my mind was really clear.

"When I think back on that time or other times when I was hitting really well, those are always the things that I remember. I didn't feel different, I wasn't really doing anything different. It just feels like you're in control of everything."

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Winn was having a solid season to that point, with a .273 average and .742 OPS. He opened September with eight hits in a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks and never looked back, finishing the year with a .306 average. Winn had 17 multi-hit games in September, including three four-hit games. His 51 hits that month set a San Francisco Giants record that Cabrera tied in May of 2012. 

"It was a great situation for me," Winn said of the midseason trade that brought him to San Francisco. "Coming home, still live in the Bay Area, grew up in the Bay Area, my wife is from the Bay Area, our parents at that time lived in the Bay Area, so for us it was a homecoming and it was just great to be back home."

[RELATED: Why "Champ" Timmy is the best version of former Giants ace]

On the podcast, Winn also talks about how he would handle this layoff, what it was like playing college basketball with Steve Nash, what made Bonds and Albert Pujols so great, and much more. 

Giants fans vote 'Champ' Tim Lincecum as best version of former ace

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AP

Giants fans vote 'Champ' Tim Lincecum as best version of former ace

You the fans have spoken.

We asked you to designate your favorite version of former Giants ace Tim Lincecum, and the social media response was overwhelming.

Lincecum was a part of all three World Series-winning teams in 2010, 2012, and 2014 in San Francisco.

During his first postseason run in 2010, Lincecum put together an impressive stretch of performances, solidifying himself as a franchise icon.

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He kicked off the 2010 MLB Playoffs by throwing a 119-pitch shutout with 14 strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1, propping up an offense that only mustered one run of support to give the Giants a leg up in the five-game division series.

He followed that effort up by striking out eight Phillies in a Game 1 road win in Philadelphia, when Cody Ross’ two home runs led the Giants to a 4-3 win.

[RELATED: Forbes values Giants as worth $3.1B, fifth-highest in MLB]

Lincecum wrapped up the postseason by earning two World Series wins, including the series clincher in Game 5, striking out 10 Texas Rangers over eight innings as the Giants won their first Fall Classic since the franchise relocated to the west coast in 1958.

Although Lincecum earned plenty of nicknames during his legendary career in San Francisco, “Champ” definitely has a nice ring to it.