Cubs vs Giants: Clark's '89 NLCS, Bullpen Implosions, Life as a Champion

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Episode Transcript

Benjamin: Hey Giants fans and welcome back to the San Francisco Giants edition of For The Fans By The Fans podcast where we bring you your weekly dose of all things, San Francisco Giants, baseball from the fan's perspective. I'm a lifelong giants fan, and your host Benjamin Shapiro. As the Giants hover around 500 heading into their road trip through Chicago and Colorado, we welcome in my fellow Kappa Sigma fraternity brother, the best backyard football player I've ever seen and a die hard Chicago Cubs fan, Kirk Benson. But before Kirk reminds us about Giants playoff bullpen implosions, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you on behalf of our friends at Fanatics. Fanatics is the global leader in licensed sports merchandise. They have the world's largest collection of official sports apparel from the leagues, teams and players you love. So if you're looking for your Mitch Williams or your Andre "The Hawk" Dawson jerseys had over to Or just click on the link in the show notes and our friends at fanatics will kick us a couple of bucks to help pay for the production of this show. When you buy your cubs or of course your giants gear. With that said, Kirk, welcome to the Pod, my friend. Good afternoon, excited to be here. Since this is our first comes podcast, I think it's only fitting that we start this off with the worst Harry Carey impression you ever heard. So Kirk, if you were a hot dog, would you 

Kirk: each or sales? I'd have 10 of me. I'd be delicious. Sandberg, spelled backwards. Is grabbing the moon. Were made of cheese. Would you eat it to sean connery versus Harry Carey? I think 

Benjamin: it was a little Vato of yours was a little bit of a higher register that Harry Carey, but just to honor him, let's start the podcast off by obviously embarrassing ourselves. 

Kirk: Well, we've been doing that for about 20 years. So that's about on par 

Benjamin: it feels about right. So speaking of embarrassing, I want to run through two different games where the giants and the cubs faced often the playoffs. And I'm going to do you a favor. I'm going to start with a 1989 nlcs. One of the highlights of my childhood as a giants fan. I'm guessing it wasn't one of yours? 

Kirk: No, it wasn't. I think losing in five games isn't a highlights, 

Benjamin: so I just looked back over the youtube video of the classic Mitch Williams. Will Clark at bat and wanted to run you through some of the things that I saw. So first off, two outs. It was the top of the ninth. Mitch Williams. Will Clark in the box bases are loaded. I think the count was three to two. Maybe it was two to two, I don't remember exactly, but will Clark singles hits a bullet back up the middle, almost takes Mitch Williams head off. Maldinado scores. Butler scores Thompson slides into third. The camera pans back to Clark as he flexes with this gigantic Nineteen Eighties Jersey on. Then the camera pans back over to Andre Dawson on the bench looking depressed. Mitch Williams looking down the crowd's going nuts. Tell me, how did that one feel? 

Kirk: Well, I think it was 89 

Benjamin: 98. So it's about a nine year hangover 

Kirk: before we made it back to the playoffs. So pretty bad, we have a lefty on lefty matchup with your. 

Benjamin: What else could you have for not having the greatest giants of the eighties and early nineties in the box? 

Kirk: That is correct. 

Benjamin: That bat is the single moment that sticks out in my head when I think about baseball and how exciting it can be from my childhood. Being a kid in the San Francisco Bay area, I will always remember, will Clark just hitting that bullet? I remember watching the game, me and my dad going bananas like that was the highlight of my baseball life as a unit and it's a mented. Will Clark was my childhood hero? 

Kirk: Well I think the comes with the giants were really diverged at that moment. So for the nineties, the giants and the cubs were bad. That comes up this one peak and 89 and from there they wouldn't. Different directions. 

Benjamin: Yeah. You know, the funny thing is the giants think of the cubs and I think most baseball fans do traditionally as the lovable losers and they were obviously good in 89, almost made the world series almost when the giants were pretty good. You know, we've made the playoffs a couple of times and it wasn't until later in the bonds euro when we made it back to the world series against the angels, but we sort of were a middle of the pack to upper middle class team and the cubs obviously fell on some rough times, but more recently the cubs have rebounded and actually got over the hump. Finally, let's talk a little bit about 2016 obviously that the giants faced off against the cubs in the playoffs and we were watching that series pretty closely together and all I remember from the beginning of the series was whispering in your ear, cubs are the best. You can't blow it. You're the best team. 

Kirk: Well, luckily we didn't define that whole season as like a magical summer and you were whispering into my ear, they're the best all summer. 

Benjamin: There's no way you can blow it. You're too good. They're too dominant, they're the best. 

Kirk: Let's put a five game series with bumgarner going two or three times. There's definitely a way that could have blown. Right. 

Benjamin: We hadn't lined up like we had that game one, we're up what three runs in the eighth, that the fourth game at a five game series and we had quite a on the mound for game six, you know the giants. It's Kinda like where the warriors stand right now, like yeah, down a game going into the last two games of the series, but, and we had, were added to that bullpen throwing up on itself. I actually had the box score up a little bit to try to like figure out where it all went wrong and I'm looking back now. It was Lopez Romo, Smith Strickland all blowing up four runs, eight giants lose six to five. How does that happen? A loaded Chicago cubs line up our thoughts from my side, right? I'm bias between 16 and [inaudible] 17. The bullpen has been epically bad for San Francisco. Like epically bad. 

Benjamin: Yeah. It's been a rough couple of years with the pen and the truth is the overall bullpen I don't think has been epically bad that closer. Like the end of the line for us has just been a disaster. Bryant Fowler in that lineup was absolutely loaded, you know, the truth is it was painful to lose to the cubs. It was frustrating the way that the giants lost. We had the, even your magic. We'd won three world series in five years and it looked like we were just about to maybe tip the scales and knock what comes off and we sort of own the nationals and the playoffs before and just wasn't meant to be to me. And that was the end of the team, the dynasty that won the three world series in a row and now it's really a different team that's kind of hopefully reloaded starting this year. But that was the end of the line for me. 

Benjamin: There are parallels to the 1989. Right. So hopefully the giants come back. I don't hate the giants, but they sent the teams in different directions. Yeah. And last year, needless to say, was a certified disaster on our part. And this year we're looking in the words of my buddy Adam. Pretty 508. Gotcha. You could be a whole lot worse. So talk to me about this year's cubs team and we're actually playing right now. It looks like Gorkys Hernandez hit a home run in the third to tie the game up. One one. Tell me about what the giants fans need to know about this cubs team as this another world series champion, or how are they feeling about their chances this year? I'm feeling really hopeful. So from a talent perspective, the cubs are loaded, especially on the hitting side. So I think at the moment we're like four or five games over 500 your top to bottom on that lineup and there's people like Anthony Rizzo that's hitting 200 at the moment. 

Benjamin: So if he regresses to where he needs to be, then you're adding another two or three runs a week to your offense. And I'd say we've got a little bit above average pitching. So I'm feeling kind of really excited. I think the challenge is the NL central is full of a whole bunch of good teams. I think four out of the five teams or five games over 500. And I think the cubs similar to last year, as long as you feel a little 500, I think that comes also have some help the way through the minor. 

Kirk: So really excited. 

Benjamin: The interesting thing to me is looking at the standings which you mentioned and the cubs are in fourth place right now at a five and they're only ahead of Cincinnati Sidna camera to behind Pittsburgh and St Louis and then Milwaukee has been really good so far this year. And if you were in the nls you'd actually be in first place by half a game. So the West obviously with Arizona coming back losing I think 10 of their last 11 coming back to Earth. A tnl West just looks pretty rough right now. Becomes would be ahead. 

Kirk: I think the thing is going to be speaking of bullpens that comes have a pretty good full time. So that's what makes me confident and just need one more starter. So you. Dharmesh has not performed very well today, so if you get any result or darvish to come back, you are out in kind of a ton of wins above replacement. Back into that and should be smooth sailing. 

Benjamin: Yeah, you darvish is a fan favorite and San Francisco for his performance in game seven of the world series for the dodgers. So, um, you know, I hope that he rebounds because he did us a solid. The mantra for the giants, at least around my house, is we hope to be competitive this year. Maybe we'll sneak into the back end of the playoffs. Probably not, but it's a successful season if it's entertaining and the dodgers don't win the world series. 

Kirk: Let me turn that back on you. How are you feeling about the giants? 

Benjamin: Five hundred eight. I think that the team is entertaining. It looks like we can hit, which is new. There's a couple of young guys that have come up. It's nice to have Mac Williamson back in the lineup. The off season signings sort of started off incredibly slowly. Both Longoria and mccutcheon were under 200 for a good part of the season and they're starting to rebound, so it's an entertaining team. The problem with the giants right now is the rotation is your third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh starters because you have bumgardner that went down at the beginning of the season and Kwaito catch five games. All quality starts has an era of like point eight, nine and he's on the shelf for four to six to eight weeks, so really went into the season thinking we got two starters and a couple of hopefully 500 pictures and you took those two qualities starters out and now what do we have? We have three, 500 pictures maybe in a couple of guys that are bottom of the barrel. The guy that's pitching today, Derek, Colin can't be very excited about that. And then we have unproven rookies who are trying to find their way. So hopefully a lot of high scoring games when we're edging it out, but that's not really how we play to the park. And that ends up being hovering around $500, assuming bob and they'll come back and are relatively healthy, but that's just this humble man's opinion. 

Kirk: Bumgarner's on my fantasy team. 

Benjamin: Let's get them back buddy. Let's get them back. Get them back. No more bike riding. Right? So talk to me about the cubs. What's life like as a cubs fan now that you're over the Hump, you've been a world series champion, you got one and 110 years. Are you still in and a happy tune after the world series? 

Kirk: I think there's a lot of commonalities between being a giants fan and a cubs fan. Had a lot of heartbreaking moments before bringing home a couple of championships in a row on the giant side. Brought it home on the comp side. I don't think the cubs for the giants fans have turned into complete jerks either. So we're still relatively hungry and humble. So the stands are full of knowledgeable fans that are excited to be champions now. And I think we also. There's a little bit of a, obviously a checkered past in the nineties and the two thousands with people like bonds and so I think there's a montage of feelings that you can kind of touch on, but as a cubs fan one, I have never owned as much cubs paraphernalia as I do now and I've always owned a lot so I'm very happy, proud to walk down the streets and what I'll say is anywhere I'm walking in San Francisco with my cubs hat on, I get asked all the time or get shouted at go cubs. We're in a really good place. We've got solid ownership. We've got a good manager and we've got a good 

Benjamin: general manager, Theo, Theo. The ironic thing about you guys having Theo and us being on this podcast together as Theo was in Boston when we went to college and he built that Red Sox team that won multiple championships and that was kind of like our college team because Boston University where we both went, didn't really have sports. Like I went to more red sox games than anything I ever did at in college. That was affiliated with the school, like those were our college teams in my mind. Definitely feel is following you around is my point. 

Kirk: Guardian Angel. He's a god in two cities. Effectively he'll never pay for a meal at a restaurant in Boston or Chicago and it's been fun. I mean I can't even over analyze it and analyze it. It's just a fun ride. It's great to be a fan. I mean fan is short for fanatic. It's brilliant. 

Benjamin: Dot Com slash. Excuse me. I'm sure. There you go. Well, you were saying you brought your cubs gear. I feel like I need an a shameless plug somewhere and click on the show links in the show notes. Come on. We gotta pay for the show. We didn't even rehearse that. So talk to me a little bit more about life as a cubs fan. Let's talk about what the Mount Rushmore of cubs would be. Who's on the Mount Rushmore? 

Kirk: Well, for me, in my personal life, so I became a cubs fan 19 going to my first game, setting up the left field line, kind of behind the dog out. Probably not far from where Ferris Bueller was sitting in the movie, so the Mount Rushmore for me kind of starts and ends with Andre Dawson, so number eight, 1980 7:49 home runs on a last place team, but the cubs led the league in attendance that year just because of Andrea's army and Wakefield and all that sort of stuff. So you start with Andre Dawson, then you of move into 

Benjamin: Ryan Sandberg. So arguably, and we can maybe get an argument here with Jeff Kenton, different ages of who's the best second basement of all time. Joe Panik. Then you've got billy Williams and our banks before my time. Greg Maddux. And then you've got some asterisks people. So you've got Sammy Sosa, you've got to put on there. You're giving me the possible ballots. So what number are you looking for? Well, it's Mount Rushmore. I think there's four. And you're also excluding the guys that actually won the championship. What about Rizzo Arietta or like not lifelong cubs and haven't gone through their whole career, but like they had put one on the board. They gave you the chip. They haven't fulfilled the term yet, they haven't been around for four years. So give me your four as it stands today. So in the lore of Chicago cubs, Andre Dawson, Billy Williams, Ernie banks, and then we'll throw. 

Benjamin: You got put Greg Maddux on. Who would you put on the Mount Rushmore? Willie mays mccovey, Michelle, and then like bonds with an asterix. I'm sorry, Posey is on there. Are you going to take off Marisha? Okay. I think that for me it's maize. Bonds are mandatory. Take your asterix and put it where the sun don't shine. He won three mbps before roids and on roids he was still better than everybody else. He was the best baseball player I've ever seen posing as the leader on the most successful team in the franchise's history. So one three. He's been an MVP. He was the rookie of the year and I'm throwing well Clark on there because it's my mount rushmore. And Will Clark is my childhood hero. And you know, 1989. Mitch Williams the head, that's what I think of baseball. So as a child of the eighties, I got will on there. 

Benjamin: To my good friend in Barrington, Illinois would agree with you. He somehow turned into a huge giants fan growing up and he was a huge fan. So there you go. You know what? Whenever I ask people who's your favorite giant and they're a fan of the other team, I had to stop asking the question because everybody's like, well, will clark the sweet lefthanded swing? I mean, how could you not have that? Maybe somebody throws into bonds every once in a while, but will was it for guys our age? So who are you going to take off where you blasting some more rock to put a fifth one on there? No, no, I mean for me, you get a nod to the older era when you put in maize and so I would probably take mccovey off because I never saw him a copy. So I think that what most people would put or historians would put his mccovey over me is. And that's your four. And I don't think anybody on the cubs modern day team has enough of a portfolio to take any of those other people off. So Brian was the current front runner to. 

Kirk: He's only been in the league for effectively three years, not there, obviously Rizzo is closed, is by far my favorite player in the major leagues at the moment. Unbiased. Obviously 

Benjamin: I think lester is a candidate to be on a mount rushmore, but the problem is he played for too many teams. It went from the red sox to the AES. They traded cesspit as forum and that's when the haze were looking like they were going to be the best team in baseball and it totally backfired. The lineup lost all their Mojo and they just tanked in the rest of the season and we didn't win it and ended up, I think he left in free agency. He didn't undermarket deal, which is always good and the giants were trying to sign him and what he went somewhere else. They ended up picking up Waco. Credit's been great. Yeah, he was pretty average last year, but he was dealing with blisters and now he's hurt again. So who knows how that contract's going to end up, but when it matters quite as good, pretty good. Better than Barry. Hey Barry Zito, be Justin verlander and gamble, one of the 2012 world series. When Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs. I know because I was there. 

Kirk: He was a Gamer, right? Clearly didn't have the best stuff for about seven years. Giants, but definitely not his fault. Somebody offered him 180 million bucks or whatever it was. 

Benjamin: And like how you say he was a Gamer. He didn't have his best stuff for, I dunno, eight years. Yeah. 

Kirk: I could have thrown as hardest 

Benjamin: berries, you know, had a very good playoff run in the 2012 season, which made that contract completely worth it because the Chinese don't win the 2012 world series without him. No. So we'll take it, we'll take it. So you're feeling okay about the cubs, you thinking you got a chance to be a contender in the playoffs? He had no terrible ill will toward the giants. Why don't we take a couple of sharp parting shots and get out on those. What are your parting shots? 

Kirk: Well, my parting shot would be. I'm glad the giants are $500 and I hope it continues because it means my stubhub ticket prices are very cheap when I go to the game up. Your prices are now. 

Benjamin: Any other stories that you want to tell him before we let you go? 

Kirk: Well, I think my two most memorable moments that I can remember is extra extra lead off home run in game seven. In terms of feeling like when you were whispering, it was the best. 

Benjamin: It started to feel real at that moment. The best. It was like two straight weeks of me whispering in your ear. 

Kirk: There's only two times I've let down my guard with that one gained six before the Bartman incident when we had been six and seven at home to go to the world series and Carrie would hit a home run and that was. That felt like Karma. Lo and behold, bartman happened and we went back to being the losers and the second time and obviously amazingly and some Tequila shots at celebration that comes, went on to win the world series, and that Dexter Fowler homerun really opened the floodgates and that's just the magic of so pretty amazing. 

Benjamin: Well Carrie, I'm glad you had your moment and I think that if there's a team that I root for that in the national league, the cubs are probably high up on that list and a lot of that goes with a lot of friends that root forum, but you know the lovable losers getting their shot when the giants are a little down. I can deal with it. So good luck this year. Hope you guys make the playoffs. Take it easy on us. This series looks like we're still tied one to one with Gorkys Hernandez, hidden his fifth home run of the season. And with that we'll wrap up today's show. Our plan is to do this every week, so if you either want more giants, baseball and your podcast feed, or you just love baseball, click that subscribe button on your podcast feed. Uh, since we're just getting ramped up, we'd love for you to also give us a rating and the apple itunes store or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Benjamin: You can always send us questions, give visit our You could also just go to FTF,, or you can find us on twitter, instagram, facebook, you name it, FTF bts. Thanks again to our friends at fanatics. If you're going to go buy your giants here, your cubs gear, click on that link in our show notes or go to FTF And our buddies at fanatics will kick as a couple of bucks to help pay for the production of the show. Thanks again to kirk for joining us and until next time, swing and a miss and that's it.

Benjamin Shapiro