Should Giants change Oracle Park dimensions? Triples Alley hosts debate


Should Giants change Oracle Park dimensions? Triples Alley hosts debate

Editor's Note: Immediately after Giants Postgame Live on Friday night, tune into Triples Alley on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app. Therese, Carmen and Cole will break down the Giants-Dodgers game.

Not only is Triples Alley the name of our beloved show, but it’s also the area of the ballpark that is filled with memories… good, bad, and ugly. 

The talk about bringing in the fences has always existed but now more than ever, it’s become a reality. The ball is juiced but it doesn’t seem to matter when the Giants are at home - this season the Giants are hitting .229 avg at Oracle Park and are ranked 29th in home runs at home this season. So much for home-field advantage. 

The Triples Alley crew weighs in on this...and discuss what might happen to the name of their show if Triples Alley goes belly up. 

THERESE: I don’t know how this topic is even a debate other than people being hung up on the nostalgia of “Triples Alley” at Oracle Park, but if we must then we must. CUT INTO TRIPLES ALLEY AND MOVE THE BULLPENS THERE. It’s the most logical place to put the bullpens in Oracle Park. I know Larry Baer says there are other potential changes, but I don’t see it happening without major spending costs for the organization. 

The bullpens need to be moved as soon as possible. Must one more player suffer a devastating injury at Oracle Park for the sake of aesthetics? Have you forgotten what happened to Mac Williamson? **Gasp** Or what about Steven Duggar? Enough is enough. In fact, WIlliamson summed it up best: “The point isn't to move them so we can win or move them so it's easier to hit home runs. Sure, that's a byproduct of it, but in my opinion it's move them for safety.” Safety kids… safety. 

COLE: 🙄 Come on. There are so many places within the confines of 3rd and King to stash a couple of bullpens. Slide them into the right field wall, they can double as an event space! Relievers would even have a nice view of the Cove. I mean, if the Giants can fit a bowling alley at the ballpark, I’m sure they can find room for the bullpens without altering field dimensions.

Because let’s be honest. We can talk about safety all day, but that’s not what this is really about. People are desperate to get rid of the deep right-center to jack up home run numbers.

But I’m all about that deep Triples Alley. Give me that Ichiro All-Star Game inside-the-parker. Give me the Jonathan Sanchez triple off not-friend-of-the-show Mat Latos. Give me the broadcaster pump fakes when the ball gets blasted but ends up off the wall. And more than anything, give me the beautiful epic catches.  

CARMEN: I’m all for the beautiful defensive plays - beautiful defensive plays are a big part of my favorite moments in Giants history. Gregor Blanco in Matt Cain’s perfect game? Pence on the Fence? All the Angel Pagan things? We all love watching a good diving play, especially in Triples Alley, but enough is enough. Defensive plays mean nothing in terms of scoring runs to win games. 

This season, the Giants had a better road record than the Dodgers - you know, the winners of the NL West? But because they couldn’t produce at home, they are eight games below .500 instead of above. This season at home the Giants are only hitting .229 and only have 61 home runs. 61 home runs. That means they are battling it out with the Kansas City Royals for the cellar position in terms of power. Just for comparison purposes, San Diego, another ‘pitcher-friendly’ ballpark has 101 home runs and Seattle has 106.

Not only are home runs suffering at home, the Giants don’t even have the most triples in baseball even though they have a designated area to hit them! San Francisco has 16 whereas other teams like the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Royals, and Pirates have more. C’mon! Let’s just cheat a little bit by just scooting the fences in a smidge. 

COLE: Trying to appease the masses by inserting more home runs into the game? That’s starting to sound a lot like pro-DH talk. And around here, that’s considered high treason. HIGH. TREASON.

THERESE: This very much sounds like a “get-off-my-lawn” rant. In the words of Phoebe Buffay: “Get out of the bitter barn and play in the hay.” The hay being more RBI and more home runs. It’s fun in the hay… OK enough with this analogy LOL. But seriously if something isn’t working, why not fix it to make it better?! The Giants offense and the bullpens are trouble at home. Times are changing in baseball and Oracle Park needs to adapt. 

However, I will miss sections 101-104 doing the high-pitch and low-pitch “whoooop….whoooop” when the visiting team has a pitcher warming up in the bullpen. 

CARMEN: As much as it pains me to admit this, Cole is starting to convince me with all his “logic” aka threats of treason. The only thing that is really making me hold back is… um, the name of our show?! What are we supposed to call our show if they kill Triples Alley? I don’t want it to be a bad omen for the fate of our show… Do you guys have any suggestions for name changes? 

COLE: Maybe it would give us a chance to stop blaming the lack of home runs on “Triples Alley” by just straight-up calling the show “Warning Track Power.”

But, obviously I like the “Triples” aspect because there’s three of us. So “E-3?” “Bases Loaded?” “Golden Sombrero?” Wait, that one would be for four people.

[RELATED: Beede shows potential before injury]

THERESE: I could roll with the “E-3” but only if E-40 would be willing to do the intro to our show. But I’m thinking we play to our audience and name our show “Last Call” since we give the last thoughts on the game that night and are probably the last show when all the bars close down. **Bonus** Maybe then we’ll get a beer company to sponsor our show :) Cole - I know I had to win you over with that logic. 

COLE: I’ll cheers to that. DM me, breweries.

CARMEN: Well, if none of those get picked up, we could always just stay “Triples Alley” and be vintage ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Brandon Crawford creates Giants fan favorites bracket to fill tournament void

Brandon Crawford creates Giants fan favorites bracket to fill tournament void

When the Giants moved into their new clubhouse at Scottsdale Stadium last month, a young reliever looked up at the ceiling and smiled. There were 10 flat screen televisions hanging all around the room. 

"This is going to be great for the tourney," he said, smiling. 

Yes, when it comes to March Madness, the Giants are no different than their fans. They fill out brackets, pay close attention to games ending in the morning, and check in on scores when they come out of Cactus League games. That was one of the many experiences that was missed this month when COVID-19 shut down the sports world, forcing the NCAA to cancel the men's and women's basketball tournaments.

But Brandon Crawford has tried to fill some of that void for Giants fans. 

Crawford put together the #BCrawBracket, which is being voted on by his followers on Twitter and Instagram. The shortstop and lifelong Giants fan seeded 64 players from the 1990-2009 teams and asked Giants fans to vote for their favorites. 

On Monday, I asked Crawford how this all came together.

"First of all," he said, "I love brackets."

On what would have been Opening Day, Crawford asked his Twitter followers to choose between four bracket ideas: Best cereal; best candy; best hip-hop artist/group; and favorite Giants player. The last category won with 45 percent of the vote, although Crawford -- knowing how much research would go into that one -- wasn't necessarily hoping it would. 

"Then I was thinking, do I go all-time Giants? Do I go current Giants or recent?" he said. "But then I'd have to rank guys that I've played with or am currently playing with. So that didn't seem like it would be very fun."

Crawford ended up ranking fan favorites who got any service time between 1990 -- the first year he can remember going to games -- through 2009. He didn't debut for the team until 2011, but set the cutoff before 2010 because that first championship team would have skewed the voting. 

"I thought what would be kind of cool for me also is that it's kind of my entire Giants fan years," he said. "I was thinking like a fan, kind of, during those years for the most part. I was trying to think about (this bracket) how a fan potentially would."

Crawford grew up attending games at Candlestick Park, so he was able to put together most of the bracket just off memory. He called his dad, Mike, and got some additional names -- like Rick Reuschel -- from the early 90s teams. He also sprinkled in a few of his own favorites, like Emmanuel Burriss, an infielder who never turned into an everyday player for the Giants but did have a huge impact on another young shortstop coming through the system. 

"There's obviously some personal bias in a couple of them," Crawford said. "He was almost like my mentor coming up. He was telling me what was expected of me."

The voting started Saturday on Crawford's Twitter page and Instagram story (there will be two different end results). Most of the early matchups were blowouts, although Russ Ortiz -- who would solicit votes in Round 2 -- did beat Jose Uribe 52-48. He said he hasn't been surprised much thus far, and on Monday he unveiled the Sweet 16, which included 15 of the top 16 seeds, with only Brian Wilson crashing the party after beating No. 3 seed Robby Thompson. 

[RELATED: Kapler revealed Crawford created self in 2K]

Crawford has been getting about 4,000 votes in every Twitter poll, with fans confirming his initial suspicions that players who were on that 2010 team would get extra support. For instance, Royce Clayton, one of Crawford's childhood heroes got blown out as the No. 9 seed against No. 8 Edgar Renteria. 

"That was a tough one. That was a tough one for me," Crawford said. "Did he really deserve a nine seed? I don't know. He got beat out by a World Series MVP, though, so it's understandable."

Gabe Kapler highlights three Giants who stood out in spring training

Gabe Kapler highlights three Giants who stood out in spring training

At this point, Gabe Kapler was supposed to have his first handful of regular-season games under his belt as the Giants' manager. Just like everything else in the sports world, though, all has changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Before MLB canceled spring training games and delayed Opening Day, the Giants did go 6-4 this spring. Wins and losses are far from the most important result during camp, but Kapler certainly will take a winning record any way he can. 

Before baseball hit pause, a trio of players really stood out to Kapler. One of them still has a ways to go before making his MLB debut, but this prospect made a great first impression on his future manager. 

"I thought that Hunter Bishop coming over made a really good impression on all of us," Kapler said. "And he's a first-round pick, he's got the pedigree, he's got the power. I thought about his swing and it's so violent, very similar to the way Bryce Harper is. Harper's is violent."

Make no mistake. Kapler doesn't want Bishop to be labeled as the next Harper. Top prospects already have enough pressure on them.

"By the way, I'm not comparing Hunter to Bryce Harper," Kapler said. "What I am saying is there's some similarities in their personality and their hustle and the way they play the game like their hair's on fire.

"So, Hunter made a really strong impression."

Bishop, the Giants' top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, only had one hit over eight at-bats in big league camp. He clearly caught Kapler's eyes, however, and the Giants expect a big year from the powerful outfielder.

As far as the major-league side of performances go, two pitchers really impressed Kapler: Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly. 

"I think we all got excited about Kevin Gausman," Kapler said.

Kapler praised Gausman's splitter and breaking ball. The veteran right-hander went 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA over 10 1/3 innings. 

Kapler managed Smyly, who didn't allow an earned run this spring, last season on the Philadelphia Phillies. Kapler said this was the best he has seen the lefty in quite some time. 

[RELATED: Kapler reveals Crawford created self in NBA video game]

"Drew Smyly's arm looked great," Kapler said. "This is a guy who really started to get stronger and stronger as the season went on last year in Philadelphia when I managed over there. And he looked great then, but he looked better now. The ball just really was carrying through the zone.

"His ability to put his slider at the backfoot of a right-handed hitter, the ability to drop a curveball in for a strike, all of those things are reason for excitement when we get back to baseball."

Both pitchers are expected to be key contributors in the Giants' rotation. As we wait for baseball to eventually return, these two hurlers gave their skipper plenty of reasons for optimism out in Arizona.