Happy Trails to ‘Night Train’~~Javier Lopez


javier-lopez_jayne-kamin-onceaThe Giants are saying goodbye to another member from the championship runs in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Javier Lopez recently announced that he is retiring from baseball after 14 seasons in Major League Baseball. Lopez finished his career with an ERA of 3.48 and accumulated 30 wins to go along with 17 losses. He pitched in 839 games which translates into 533 innings pitched (he became a lefty specialist with the Giants, and so did not always pitch a full inning). Javy also recorded 358 strikeouts. All in all, Javier Lopez had a very solid career.

Lopez broke into the big leagues on April 1, 2003 with the Colorado Rockies. He spent another 2 seasons with Colorado before going to Arizona where he finished the 2005 season. In 2006, he went to the Boston Red Sox and won his first of 4 championships there. He was there until 2009. In 2010, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates and then was subsequently traded to the San Francisco Giants mid season. This is where Javier Lopez finally really made a home for himself.

Once he landed with the Giants, Javy’s career took off. He consistently posted very low ERA numbers and became the Giants secret weapon against tough left handed batters like Ryan Howard, Jay Bruce, and Adam LaRoche just to name a few. Lopez became an essential assent to the Giants during their playoff runs in all 3 World Series wins. It is my honest opinion that without ‘Night Train’, the Giants probably don’t win a few of those titles.

Giants fans soon came to love watching Lopez because of his fun and outgoing personality. When Jeremy Affeldt was with the Giants, (he retired at the end of the 2015 season) both Lopez and Affeldt seem to have a friendly competition to see who Bruce Bochy’s favorite left handed reliever was. It became YouTube material for fans to enjoy and appreciate. Lopez was instrumental in helping to maintain a clubhouse that had good chemistry. Every player got along with each other and having guys like Lopez, and Affeldt only helped to strengthen the relationship that the Giants players had then and still have today as we dawn upon the 2017 season.

There is some good news though for Giants fans. I recently heard that both Affeldt and Javier Lopez will be working in the Giants broadcast booth this season due to the health issues that Giants color commentator Mike Krukow is suffering from. Krukow said he is going to downgrade his workload to about 120 games this season, which will allow us fans to enjoy the vocal sounds of Mr. Lopez and Mr. Affeldt. It is sad that Mike Krukow has to work less because I have learned a lot about the game of baseball simply by listening to his commentary, and I still enjoy listening to him and Duane Kuiper, but at least we will be in good hands with the characters of these two former Giants.

So happy trails Javier Lopez! I hope that you enjoy life in retirement, I know your family will love having you around on a more permanent basis. I look forward to hearing you on the Giants broadcasts this season. Be well!

*insert Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing “Happy Trails to You” with a sunset image*

Super Bowl Heartbreak


ap17037035090294Well that was an intense Super Bowl we all witnessed! The Falcons got off to a blistering start which was clearly leaving the Patriots a bit bewildered. The first half was nothing short of surprising because the Patriots were not supposed to trail by that much; granted we all knew the Falcons had an explosive offense…but so to did the Patriots. The amazing thing though, was it was not the falcons offense that gave them that big lead, it was their defense. Brady threw two picks, one which was returned for an 82 yard touchdown. Coming into the game, the Falcons defense actually ranked closer to the bottom of the league (according to nfl.com), so when Dan Quinn’s defense came out with those 2 picks and the 3 or 4 sacks of Tom Brady, I was a bit surprised.

Then came the 4th quarter…and literally everything changed like I knew it would. The Patriots were just too good to play that poorly and I knew they would at least make a game out of it…and boy did they ever! As soon as Julian Edelman made that ridiculous catch, I knew the Falcons were going to lose. Everything was going the Patriots way at this point and there was going to be no way that the Falcons defense could with-stand the Patriots onslaught.

It was painful to watch the Falcons lose control of that game. As a 49ers fan, I was only rooting for the Falcons because their offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, was going to be our new head coach, which should be cause for excitement for Niner fans, but that is another blog for another time. The Falcons just simply ran out of gas, and against a team like New England, that is asking for trouble.

Overall, it was an exciting game to watch. This game seemed to have all the drama that a sports nerd could want. It had the excitement of the team you rooted for getting off to a sizzling start, then it had the moments of nervousness as you watched the opponent start to come back, and finally it had that disastrous moment of heartbreak, when you lose in overtime. This game had every emotion you could ask for. This is why we love watching sports. Yes, our teams will have moments of glory, but there are those other times when they (in this case the Falcons) must endure gut wrenching moments that sting you for the entire off season.

On the bright side, the Falcons still look poised to make another championship run, if they keep their core players intact and they can stay healthy, then I think they have a legit shot of returning to the super bowl. However, losing their offensive coordinator is going to be huge for them because Matt Ryan had a really good relationship with him and they both worked very well together. Whoever becomes their new OC will have to try and emulate the success that Matt Ryan and Kyle Shanahan built. Not an easy task.

Me and Baseball


indexHello world! My name is Matthew (Matt) Wilkie and this is my very first blog on here. I am pretty new at doing this so please bear with me. I think a good place for me to start on my first blog is to give a nice introduction about who I am and what I am doing with myself.

First of all, I am an older student at Sacramento State. I have my reasons for starting a bit later in life but those reasons I will keep to myself if you all don’t mind! haha. Anywho, I am a communications major with a emphasis in mass media. It is my goal to get into the broadcasting field, specifically into the sports arena. Sports is my life, and discussing sports is probably the one thing that helps me get out of my shell. If my friends discuss anything else, I basically become a bump on the log.

My love for sports is also what attracted me to become a DJ on KSSU. As soon as my training is complete, there will be a new sports/country music show that my listeners can tune into. The show date is still to be determined so please be on the look out for when that happens.

My favorite sport by far is baseball. There is just something about baseball in general, the smell of the grass, the crack of the bat and managers and players getting ejected that creates a special allure to me. In hockey, people sometimes say “we went to a fight and a hockey game broke out;” this is sometimes true in baseball too. Brawls are a fairly common occurrence and this adds to the appeal of baseball. However, it is not the ejections or the brawls that really captures my attention; I think it is the suspense of what will happen on the next pitch that really causes me to stop what I am doing and pay attention.

Baseball has received a bad rap for being “too slow.” I will agree it is generally not fast paced like football or basketball is, but it is a game that requires strategy, which is something I love. Now you might ask “how on earth is there strategy in baseball, I mean for crying out loud, all you have to do is hit the ball and run?” Well there is a lot more to this glorious game than that. First of all, the batter does not swing at just any pitch; he needs to be selective. It is imperative for a good baseball player to have a “good eye at the plate.”Secondly, the pitcher does not just throw one type of pitch, he usually has at least 3 or 4 different kinds of pitches he can use to try and confuse the hitter in hope of getting him out. Thirdly, base runners try to read the pitcher in a way that allows him to get a “good jump” in order to steal a base. These are just a few different kinds of strategies that baseball has and I could probably write another 1,000 words getting into more details about baseball, but I will end it here.

So that is a little about me and my passion for baseball. Please stay tuned for more blogs later on during this semester.