Entries in Joe Panik (3)


For Giants, a markdown on Panik items, loss on the field

By Art Spander

SAN FRANCISCO — They reacted quickly at the Giants Dugout Store, the one at Oracle Park. Joe Panik was dropped, or in baseball-ese “designated for assignment,” and within hours of the announcement there was a 40 percent markdown on all Panik merchandise.

Cruel, but strictly business, a term you hear quite often about baseball, an activity some think of as a game. What makes the jersey valuable, and thus sellable, is fans identifying with the player who wears it. He’s their guy.

But now their guy, if it was Panik, is no longer a Giant. He’s gone.


Then, not long after Panik was released Tuesday — he could have joined Sacramento, the Giants Triple A team, but chose to deal for himself — San Francisco’s chance for a wild card were all but gone.

Completely unrelated, unless there was lingering shock over the departure of a longtime teammate, the Giants on Tuesday evening were whipped by the Washington Nationals, 5-3.

It was a third straight defeat for the Giants, who fell two games below .500. That rollicking July, when San Francisco was 19-6, has turned into a stumbling August, so far 1-5.

“We’re not going to be putting up numbers like we did,” Bruce Bochy, the Giants' manager, pointed out to those who don’t understand the sport’s historical balance. “It was going to be hard to keep that pace.”

At least on Tuesday the Giants made it exciting, contrary to the 2-0 loss to the Nats on Monday, a dreadful game for San Francisco. On Tuesday, they had a runner on in the bottom of the ninth and at bat Pablo Sandoval, who already had two doubles in the game. But like Casey in the famous poem, Sandoval struck out.

This had a to be tough emotional day for the Giants' personnel. Panik may not have been Buster Posey or Barry Bonds, MVPs, superstars. But Panik made a load of big plays, and he was both an All-Star and at second base a Gold Glove award winner.

We’ve been taught there’s no sentiment in baseball, or sports in general. Just as in life, everything is temporary. And as Barry Bonds’ late father, Bobby, a great player in his own right, used to say about the unpredictability, “They traded Willie Mays, didn’t they?”

Indeed. And Babe Ruth, although not Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron or Carl Yastrzemski, whose grandson is on the Giants and, apropos of nothing but pertinent to a great deal, went 0-for-4 Tuesday against the Nats.

Bochy didn’t believe the players were affected by the departure of Panik, which may or may not have been considered a surprise. A few days ago the Giants traded for Scooter Gennett, a second baseman (he had a double in three at bats on Tuesday).

He wasn’t going to be on the bench. Which meant after six-plus seasons with the Giants, who took him in the first round of the 2011 draft, Panik was.

The Giants' head of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi, was brought in to change the team’s direction. That had to mean a change in personnel.

The axiom is it’s better to trade a player a year early then a year late. Panik wasn’t traded literally but was symbolically. He’s a part of the past, not the future — ironic for someone only 28 years old. 

Bochy said telling Panik he had to be released was one of the most difficult things in a managerial career that’s lasted for years and is nearing an end with his retirement at the end of this season.

“He’s a Giant,” Bochy said about Panik. “He’s done so many good things for us, helped us win a (2014 World Series) championship here.”

And now he’s been dispatched, as the Giants seek a way to win another.


Just another game for Giants — and just another loss

By Art Spander

SAN FRANCISCO — Just another game. That’s what it was for the Giants. Another game and, yes, another defeat, if at home as opposed to the one the day before on the road.

For the Giants, it is obvious, it doesn’t matter who they play or where they play — or in many games, how they play.

In fact, Monday night they played well, relatively speaking. They had fine pitching, especially by starter Drew Pomeranz. He made only one mistake. At another time, the mistake is irrelevant. But for the Giants of 2019, there are no irrelevant mistakes.

The Colorado Rockies beat the Giants, 2-0, Monday night at Oracle Park. The runs came on a home run in the third by David Dahl with Charlie Blackmon on second. Blackmon had a bloop double and Dahl’s homer barely cleared the left field fence.

But those guys can hit. They’re both batting .300-something. Nobody on the Giants can hit, other than Pablo Sandoval. Which is why San Francisco scored no runs after scoring only two runs on Sunday against the Diamondbacks.

Two runs in 18 innings. Not exactly overwhelming.

Just another game in what sadly isn’t going to be just another season. It’s not even July and the Giants are 11 games under .500.

Attendance already is rotten (tickets sold Monday night, 30,018; people in house, maybe 20,000). Where do the Giants go from here?

The main man, Larry Baer, is supposed be back from his suspension at the end of the month to provide leadership. Is it too late to sign Bryce Harper? Sorry.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy came out to face the media after this one, as he always does every game. Poor Bruce, in this lame-duck season. Poor Giants, in this going-nowhere season.

Bochy has too much class to be rude or abrasive like Mickey Callaway of the Mets, a franchise at war with itself. So Bruce simply offers platitudes and occasionally, as when asked why in the fifth he pinch hit for Pomeranz — who equaled a career-high with 11 strikeouts — an explanation.

It was a necessity, that’s why. There was a runner on second — Joe Panik had doubled — and one out. Brandon Belt became the batter instead of Pomeranz and walked. But then Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson each struck out.

Yaz and Dickerson could be part of the new wave, if there is going to be a new wave. Each came up from Sacramento within the past few weeks. Might as well learn what they can do. When you’re not very good, why not make some changes?

The dreaded Dodgers keep hitting home runs and winning. About the only thing the Giants seem able to hit is rock bottom. 

In the seventh, with Panik on first and two outs Yastrzemski doubled to left. Panik was sent home. You have to gamble now and then. The throw clearly beat the runner who was called out, but might have been safe. The Giants can’t win games. The Giants can’t win TV replay decisions, either.

“I didn’t look at it,” said Bochy. “It was that close. The ball beat him, but I don’t know about the tag.” The officials back in New Jersey, doing the review, knew about the tag. Or thought they did.

Pomeranz has been inconsistent this year, but he was sharp Monday night. So, unfortunately for the Giants, was Colorado starter Jon Gray, who in six innings gave up just four hits.

“I just simplified my approach,” said Pomeranz. “I quit trying to set up guys. I didn’t want to walk guys.” On Monday night, he walked two.

“On the home run, I was trying to stay in on him and it just kind of cut back to the middle of the plate. That’s the one pitch I’ll probably think about the rest of the night. That’s baseball. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes one pitch decides the game.”

Even when it’s just another game.


S.F. Examiner: So much happened in Game 3, all that matters: Giants stay alive

By Art Spander
San Francisco Examiner

Yes, it’s an Even Year. What else needs to be said?

Except Conor Gillaspie and Joe Panik are the new Miracle Workers. And there will be a fourth game in a National League Division Series that for most of a somewhat unbelievable and totally hysterical Monday evening seemed destined to end in three games.

Read the full story here.

©2016 The San Francisco Examiner