Giants

Two main reasons why Giants, fans got iconic Oracle Park design right

Two main reasons why Giants, fans got iconic Oracle Park design right

Buster Posey has never done it, but Scooter Gennett has. Hunter Pence doesn't have one, but Denard Span has five of them. 

The most distinctive part of Oracle Park is not in play for the stars who have suited up for the organization but hit from the right side of the plate. In the two-decade history of the ballpark, no right-hander has hit a ball into McCovey Cove. But the list of left-handed hitters who have done it is fairly long, with 130 Splash Hits in all, including some from Span, Gennett, and guys like Tyler Colvin, Nate Schierholtz and John Bowker.

But what if right-handers were the ones taking aim at the Cove?

Over the weekend, MLB Cathedrals posted a fun photo on Twitter showing the ballpark with flipped dimensions:

It's a cool look at a completely different version of Oracle Park, but which way is better? Our NBC Sports Bay Area Giants account ran a poll on Twitter and the results were overwhelming, and they were correct for two reasons. 

The first reason is pure logic. Right field at Oracle Park is so short because it had to be that short. The footprint of the ballpark is small, and because it bordered McCovey Cove, there was limited space for right field. The Giants even had to get special permission from MLB to build with such a short right field.

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In an interview with the San Francisco Examiner 20 years ago, the late Peter Magowan explained what the vision was.

"Major League Baseball wanted 330 feet down the line, 375 to the power alleys, 400 feet to center and 8-foot high walls," Magowan said. "We wanted high walls and low walls. We wanted angles, and short and deep distances. We wanted asymmetrical things, and we wanted seats as close as possible to the field."

The Giants built a beauty, and because of the elements, the short porch in right hasn't proven to be an issue for pitchers. The high wall helps, and the thick night air knocks plenty of would-be homers a season. 

That brings us to the second reason the Giants and the voters got it right.

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The one person who hasn't been impacted by any of that is Barry Bonds, and Giants fans should be grateful that the park is shorter for left-handed hitters simply because that led to so many incredible moments for Bonds. 

Bonds had the first Splash Hit on May 1, 2000 and blasted two more into the Cove nine days later. In 2003, he hit a memorable walk-off into the water against the Braves. There have been 81 Splash Hits by a Giant and Bonds has 35 of them, so with apologies to all the right-handers who have played for the team over the years, the ballpark was built correctly, because the all-time home run king got to take aim at McCovey Cove every night. 

Barry Bonds closer comparison to Michael Jordan than Madison Bumgarner

Barry Bonds closer comparison to Michael Jordan than Madison Bumgarner

Michael Jordan and his exploits have dominated the internet for months since ESPN’s “The Last Dance” premiered. Comparisons and retrospectives have become a constant across social media. 

In that spirit, Bleacher Report tried to analyze who most closely resembles MJ’s legacy in MLB and identified two former Giants who possess Jordan-esque qualities: Madison Bumgarner and Barry Bonds.

For MadBum, his postseason dominance draws the closest parallels to Jordan. In over 100 innings of playoff pitching, Bumgarner has just a 2.11 ERA. That includes a dominant World Series in 2014 where MadBum closed out Game 7 with five scoreless relief innings, earning World Series MVP in the process. Bumgarner was critical to each of the Giants' three World Series titles over the past decade.

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Bonds, on the other hand, simply struck fear into the hearts of opponents in a way few athletes ever have. Teams were willing to walk players in with the bases loaded just to avoid giving up a grand slam to Bonds. His eye-popping seven NL MVP awards surpass Jordan’s five NBA MVPs, and the slugger owns all sorts of other league records. Bonds’ lack of a World Series makes this a tough comparison, but baseball is a completely different sport, and one player absolutely isn’t enough to win a championship. Bonds hit four home runs in the one World Series he ever appeared in, but the Los Angeles Angels managed to overtake the Giants in seven games.

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While neither player is a perfect correlation to Jordan, Bonds clearly is the closer comparison here. MadBum is phenomenal, but he’s never been considered the greatest player or even the greatest pitcher in MLB. Bonds was at the top of the sport for several years and is the greatest slugger the league ever has seen. 

As B/R's Jacob Schafer closes his article with, baseball doesn't have a person who perfectly matches up with Jordan's skillset, personality and impact on the sport.

One thing is for sure: both Bumgarner and Bonds could hit a baseball a heck of a lot better than Jordan ever did.

Nationals honor Gerardo Parra with 'Baby Shark' in World Series ring

Nationals honor Gerardo Parra with 'Baby Shark' in World Series ring

The Washington Nationals unveiled their 2019 World Series ring Sunday, and it has the usual bells and whistles.

Each custom ring features 55 genuine red rubies, 32 sapphires, 170 round diamonds and 23.2 carats of genuine gemstones.

Oh, and one Baby Shark.

What?

That's right. In honor #ForeverGiant Gerardo Parra, who started last season with the Giants before finishing it with the Nationals, the team engraved the "Baby Shark" on the inside of the ring.

Why "Baby Shark?" Because it was Parra's walk-up song for a part of the 2019 season in Washington, and it became the Nationals' rally call.

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According to NBC Sports Washington, Parra was going through a slump and wanted to change his song. He initially didn't want "Baby Shark," but it kept coming up on his phone because his 2-year-old daughter was continually listening to it.

“So, every time I pick, want to move the song -- every time move it -- the “Baby Shark” coming,” Parra told  NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas. “I said, no, I don’t want “Baby Shark.” I do it like three times like that. Baby Shark coming, “Baby Shark” coming. I said, hey, do “Baby Shark,” my song for my kids, my babies.”

Parra signed a minor league contract with the Giants last February, but he played in just 30 games before being released. Little did Parra know that his next stop would result in him winning a World Series ring.

And Parra probably never could have imagined that the "Baby Shark" song he never wanted would be immortalized on the 2019 World Series ring.

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In case you want a glimpse of the Nats' ring, here it is:

That's a nice piece of hardware.

While you wait for the global coronavirus pandemic to end, go ahead and sing "Doo doo doo doo doo doo, Baby Shark" to yourself.