Results tagged ‘ Derrek Lee ’

Worse than Candlestick? Quite possibly

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — One waited for trailers, cars and phone booths (excuse me, those are scarce nowadays) to blow through Scottsdale Stadium on Thursday night.

The Giants and Cubs played 6 1/2 innings through unforgiving winds before the game was called by agreement among the umpires and the teams’ managers. “You get the risk of injury. For the safety of the players, that was enough.”

The wind, which blew to right field, was measured at 25 mph with gusts reaching 30 mph at gametime. It was generally agreed that conditions worsened as the evening lengthened.

Giants right fielder Randy Winn resembled a cross between Fred Astaire and a drunk as he somehow caught three consecutive fly balls while battling the breezes.

“Miserable,” Winn said, describing the conditions which forced him to douse his eyes with Visine to remove the dirt that blew into them. “It was probably the most challenging outfield I think I’ve ever played.”

Winn never played at Candlestick Park, where the Giants dealt with infamous winds from 1960-1999. “If Candlestick was like that, I wouldn’t have wished that upon anybody,” he said.

Two drives to left field that appeared to be home runs upon contact — by San Francisco’s Bengie Molina in the first inning and Chicago’s Derrek Lee in the fourth — were caught in medium-deep left field, demonstrating the futility of hitting the ball into the wind.

Giants left-hander Barry Zito pitched adequately despite the elements, yielding three runs and seven hits in five innings.

“It was as bad as I’ve ever seen it, windy-wise,” Zito said. “It was really blowing you over in your windup. One time it even blew Bengie back out of his crouch. He had to call time out.”

Zito encouraged the Giants by striking out seven and even fanned the side in the first inning — retiring Alfonso Soriano, Mike Fontenot and Lee consecutively.

“It’s the result of being aggressive and just going after it,” Zito said. “I knew I had the ‘A’ lineup out there tonight. I wanted to come out and make a statement.”

– Chris Haft

Good news & a surprise for Giants’ Flannery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Being the bearer of good news was nice. But in this case, it also was a little unsettling.

Saturday, I congratulated Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery on being named to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ Hall of Fame, which I learned when a co-worker forwarded me a MiLB.com story on the subject. I also wanted to ask Flannery a few questions about it for either a short article or a blog entry like this one.

Flannery just stared at me. “I had not heard anything about it,” he said.

Well, now he knows. For the record, Flannery’s 1994 Quakes club finished 77-59 — despite, as he told me, losing their first 11 games of the second half. He said that they collected back-to-back hits only once during that stretch. “We thought it was going to be a tough, long summer,” Flannery said.

Flannery’s club, which won the only California League championship in Quakes history, included Derrek Lee, who was part of Rancho Cucamonga’s charter HOF class in 2007.  “He grew into a man that season,” Flannery said of the future Chicago Cubs All-Star first baseman.

Lee, then 18, played third base that year. “He could pick it,” Flannery said. “That’s why he’s such a great first baseman.”

– Chris Haft

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