Manny, etc.

All the talk here in L.A., as you might imagine, is about Manny. Not so much in our clubhouse, although of course it comes up. But it’s splashed all over the newspapers and on TV and the all reporters want to know what we think.

Here’s what I think. I know he’s a rival and a Dodger, but he’s a good friend of mine, too. He’s a nice guy. You don’t want to see something like this happen to anybody.

My first reaction when I saw it on the news Thursday morning was, “Wow, why would he do that? He’s already a superstar. He’s a guy who’s so talented he doesn’t need any of that.” You start asking yourself all those kinds of questions.

When all the steroid stuff first came out, back a few years before the Congressional hearings, I had mixed feelings because a lot of the stuff that guys were getting in trouble for wasn’t banned yet in the major leagues. I’m sure they were thinking, “OK if this is going to get me over the hump, give me a little edge, I’ll try it.”

But now the rules are clear. Now there is no excuse to be using any of it. It’s against the rules, and obviously it puts the clean players at a real disadvantage. I don’t want to see Matt Cain or any of our pitchers going up against a batter who is on steroids. It’s not fair to that pitcher. It’s not fair to anyone.

Do I worry that the players who test positive make fans suspicious of all of us? I can’t let myself worry about it. People are going to think what they’re going to think. People need to remember there are plenty of guys who have had great careers who didn’t do any of that. Most players are successful because we have worked, and continue to work, really, really hard.

So I guess fans have to decide for themselves how they want to judge a player. I’m someone who stays away from judging anyone. All of us have our faults and have made our mistakes. So if I see my friend Manny tonight, if he’s working out with the team before the game, I’ll tell him just to hang there and that I’m thinking about him.

Yesterday, as you know, we had a great game in Colorado. I had two home runs in my first two at-bats. People ask sometimes, after a game like that, if I know right away I’m in a zone. The answer is hardly ever. Most of the time, the pitcher dictates what kind of swing you take. It’s not like you can put a ball on a tee and go out there with your best swing. I was lucky that I got a hanging slider my first at-bat and a fastball down the middle on the second. To tell you the truth, I haven’t been seeing too many of those pitches this season. Pitchers generally give me nothing in the strike zone.

My third at-bat, I got ahead in the count, which kind of frees up your swing. You can put more into it. (When you’re behind in the count, you take a little bit off your swing because you’re looking to just put the ball in play.) I really, really hit that ball hard – harder than the first two home runs. I thought it was gone when I hit it. But the wind picked up and was blowing in. When I saw the fielder get under it, I knew it wasn’t going out. If it had, it would have the first time I hit three home runs in a game.

Then I had the weird at-bat. I swung, the ball bounced off the plate, hit my hand then trickled down the third-base line about 40 feel from home plate. I didn’t run because I knew it had hit my hand and was a foul ball.

But the umpire didn’t call it. He said he didn’t see it or hear it, so he couldn’t call it. Our runner scored, but obviously I was thrown out at first base. So here’s a lesson to you Little Leaguers: Don’t assume anything. Run everything out. That’s what I should have done.

Another lesson for young players from yesterday’s game: Never give up. Did you see Matt Cain? He was really struggling, especially early on. He couldn’t find the strike zone. He was walking guys – three in the first inning. He had all kinds of trouble. But he got Todd Helton to hit into a double play and then struck out the next guy, I think, to get out of the inning.

He never found his rhythm yesterday, so it was a perfect example of just bearing down. He wasn’t hitting his spots and he knew it. But he came out with the win because just kept plugging away one batter at a time.

Matt and I didn’t talk too much during the game because he was trying to keep his focus. But after the game, he came up to me and said, “Thank you for getting me through that.”

I told him, “This is the type of game where you earn your money. It’s easy to come out and play when you have all your pitches working. It’s not easy at all to pitch when you don’t.”

So the Dodgers tonight. Can’t wait to get back on the field. Every game is important but the ones against the division leader – especially when the division leader happens to be the Dodgers – are especially exciting.

In my next post, I’ll answer some of the questions you’ve been leaving for me. Keep them coming. I really like hearing what’s on your mind.

14 Comments

Bengie – congrats on your great day yesterday! You really helped my fantasy team! lol! And the whole steroids mess – please know that there are still plenty of us fans here who will not judge every player just because someone else is stupid enough to use. Good luck! We need players like you to help save this game we all love.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Yesterday’s game was amazing!! You were great!! That seemed like a pretty crazy game. I think Matt Cain really showed how good he is when he was able to get through those innings even though he obviously wasn’t doing very well. And I’m sure you helped him out a lot with that, too. Good luck tonight!! I really hope you guys can sweep the Dodgers now!!
Lauren
http://sfgiantsgirl.mlblogs.com

Hey Bengie,

Great game yesterday. By responding to the beating the day before with a big win, you showed Giants fans that this team is a resolute group.

I couldn’t agree more with what you said in one of your earlier blogs about scoring more runs as a team to support our strong starting pitching staff. If Rowand and Winn can start hitting like you have been, I feel you guys can surpass the Dodgers during Manny’s absence. I see tonight as a great opportunity to get started down this road.

Despite having their home undefeated streak snapped last night, and the loss of their best player for nearly a third of the season, I see tonight’s game as the toughest of the series, primarily because of the starting pitching matchup.

What do you think about Billingsley as a pitcher? Why has he caused us and the rest of the league such trouble? Despite his early season quality starts, if Zito can pick up where he left off last game and keep us in it until the final third of the game, I feel we have a good chance.

Good luck tonight Bengie! You’re endearing yourself to Giants fans with your performances in the orange and black.

BEAT LA!

I’m not going to judge Manny because to be honest, I don’t know what to think. He did what he did and now he faces the consequences so I don’t think I should be one to judge. I wouldn’t worry about him though. He’ll bounce back from this. He’s strong. Anyway, I think we should give Manny a break and discuss other things! Congrats on the two homers! I really thought you were gonna get that third one. That wind came at the wrong time, that’s for sure. It would have been awesome if you did. And that next at bat. I wasn’t sure if it was foul or not. Thanks for adding that. It’s okay though. At least Eugenio scored! lol. Matt was really strong out there. Despite those walks, he got himself out of his messes. I was getting worried for nothing. You guys have strong pitching this season and I couldn’t be happier about that. Everyone has improved over last season, and this season will be great. Who do you think has been the most improved player since last season?
Good luck in this 3 game series and BEAT LA! =D
Best wishes and love to you and everyone else,
Katie

Great opposite field homer yesterday! Very Impressive!!!

http://kmcleod.mlblogs.com/

Bengie,

I am so glad that you guys are not thinking to much about what is going on with Manny. I was really impressed with Matt the other day too! I don’t get to see many games because of where I live so I keep up with them on the internet and through your blog. When do you think Noah will come back? I miss watching him pitch he was a good pitcher. It is sad that he got injured and still has not really come back from it. Well good luck I look forward to more of your blogs.

Hey there Bengie,

By now you’ve probably heard one of my calls to Mychael Urban on “Sportsphone 680, Giants Warm-up/Wrap-up” on KNBR 680, “The Sports Leader”.

I’m the one that always has a positive outlook about the Giants even in the hardest of times, like right now, lol.

Sure, you guys are struggling as a team with scoring runs, (3.52 runs scored per game, 30th in the league, ouch) but I see by your play everyday that you all haven’t given up and that at some point it will get going.

Bengie, as noted in my MLB.com profile, you are my favorite current Giants player.

I never fail to remind people in my calls to KNBR that you are No. 11 in all of Major League Baseball as far as the total runners on base driven in (TROBBI) during your plate appearances, at 24.69%.

Since the beginning of the 2009 season, through yesterday?s 8-0 loss to the Dodgers, you have driven in 20 of the 81 runners on base when you?ve come to the plate, which is phenomenal!

Keep up the great work Bengie!

Cheers,

Bowler Bob in Brisbane

Bengie..Thank you, I think you are the Giants MVP hands down. Congratulations to you and the Giants for a great hard fought LA series victory today. I appreciated your thoughtful comments regarding Manny and his situation. I wonder if this weekend series brought the Giants team together in a significant manner. From Zito’s determined effort Friday to today’s 13 inning team wide victory what have you noticed about the character of the 2009 Giants? You have seen many team starts each year, what makes for a great team?

Keep up the good work,it’s a long season that’s just getting started.I wish you guys were playin’ here at Fenway this year.Maybe in the World Series,huh?I thought I’d write to show my appreciation for your blog,it’s great to have a catcher’s insight to a game.Enjoy your season.
http://fruitgirl-at-large.mlblogs.com

Keep up the great work Bengie…. You’re playing some good ball, and I wish you continue sucess. Go Giants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~ King of Cali
http://kingofcali.mlblogs.com/

Hey Bengie,
Just wanted say how glad iam your a Giant your one of my favorite catchers of all times. You play the game right Just like some of my other favorite all time Giants Matt Williams, Will Clark, Robby Tompson, you get the picture hard nose baseball players. Speaking of those guys this young Giants team reminds me alot of them when they first came up but with better pitching. I am excited for the first time in a while about our chances if i was the rest of the league I would not count you guys out of nothing. Great job behind the plate and helping bring this young staff along. Yes one more thing thanks for the run production. Oh yes about manny I couldnt agree more on your take.

Lets Go Giants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I really liked this entry. Rather than focus on whether Manny’s innocent or guilty, you just mentioned certain aspects of steroid usage that I hadn’t thought about.

I’ve noticed that Matt Cain has a knack for keeping his cool. I really appreciate that about him. He keeps his focus and even if he’s not doing so well, you can tell he’s trying and you can still feel confident that the game’s not over.

Great win against the Nats tonight!

I think Bowler Bob in Brisbane has the right idea. Love your team through thick and thin, know your stuff, keep you stats up, and buy me some peanuts!!

Well lets just start off by saying I’m an A’s fan. I know trust me your thinking then why am I on the Giants page. But heres the reason Bengie is the best. I’m a catcher and its hard work back there day and night. He isn’t fast, but you don’t need speed while jogging around the basepaths while the crowd goes wild because of all the people diving in for the ball that you just smashed in the water. Bengie you have my vote for All-Stars you rock!

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