Rockies vs Giants: Mile High Mount Rushmore, The Big Cat, 2018 Rocktober?

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Episode Transcript

Benjamin: Welcome to the San Francisco giants edition of the 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 hovered just around 500 in roughly third place in the NL West and they prepare for their series against the Colorado rockies. We welcome back a very special guest Yi-Jau Ku. Yi-Jau is a business development manager in global productivity solutions at the Intel Corporation. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and he is both a part owner in the Fresno Grizzlies Minor League baseball team and he's a diehard Colorado rockies fan. If you weren't here for yesterday's podcast, we talked about what it's like to own a minor league baseball team and today he's going to give us the lowdown on what life is like as a rockies fan, but before Yi-Jau tells us about his love affair with Charlie blackmon. 

Benjamin: 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 that you love. So if you're a rockies fan like my friend eats out and you want to combine a Charlie Blackmon Jersey with that old Brian Wilson beard that you have from Halloween seven years ago, then click the show notes in this podcast or go to, and our friends at fanatics will kick us a couple of bucks to help pay for the production of this podcast. And with that said, let's get back to our conversation with Fresno Grizzlies. Minority owner eats out. Cool. So you're a part owner of a Houston affiliated minor league baseball team, but you're a rockies fan. Deep down. 

Yi-Jau: Yes. So I grew up in a suburb of Denver, Denver Broncos are the number one show and still are. When I was growing up, all we had were the broncos and the nuggets. So at the time I was actually a giants fan as a kid. I was a big walmart fan. You and me too, brother. Yeah, he was my guy and I watched that San Francisco Oakland world series, so that's what got me hooked on baseball and then the rockies were finally awarded expansion team along with Florida who are now Miami and unfortunately they have gotten a few world championships swell the rockies. We haven't even won a division. And this is the 25th year of Colorado rockies baseball. But you've been to the world series twice? No, we've only been once. 

Benjamin: Didn't they play the Red Sox? Was that Rocktober? Yes. So that was the one time. 

Yi-Jau: That was the one time the Rocktober okay. But you've been to the world series that we've been to the world series. Yeah, so that was a magical run. It was like a crazy 22 out of 23 games. We caught lightening in a bottle and then we went through the playoffs. We swept every game there and then we just had to wait while Boston was playing on their side and I think that kind of killed the momentum a little bit and then we got swept by Boston. 

Benjamin: What I remember about Rocktober is Troy Tulowitzki diving into home plate to send his team to the world series and he slammed his face into home plate as he was scoring the winning run. And the question was, did he have a concussion? 

Yi-Jau: No, it wasn't troy. It was a holiday. Matt Holliday. Sorry. Yes. The San Diego padres are still bitter about that. I see fans constantly on twitter saying, Oh, Matt Holliday still hasn't touched on plate, but we didn't have replay back then. So it was kind of the call and that will kind of be one of those folklore type events. Like did he touch home plate or not? 

Benjamin: Who was the. He was in the crease. The band is on the field. Did he touch home plate moment? 

Yi-Jau: I think he had a concussion too. He slammed his face so hard into the ground. He was like bleeding and I'm pretty sure he was seeing stars for a few minutes. If he left a tooth on home plate, does that count as touching? I think it does. Okay. All right. Well then there you go. 

Benjamin: So tell me a little bit about this year's Rocky's team. What giants fans need to know about the team going into the series against the rockies. 

Yi-Jau: So you're dealing with a bizarro world rocky's this year. Yeah, the exact opposite. Pitching is an awesome. The off season $106,000,000 just on relievers. We got Wade Davis resigned, Jake Mckee signed branch off Cleveland. That's something, a lot of manual cleaning. Authenticity in runs scored at this moment where 26th and batting average, but we're eighth in home runs. So we're like a bunch of Mark Reynolds just swinging for the fences and not caring about on base percentage necessarily. 

Benjamin: So is that a factor of the small sample size beginning of the season where the team will eventually hit for a better average, still have power and the pitching staff has been out of their mind but we'll come back to where they should be. Or is this rocky's team really going to be pitching first and just strike outs and homer's? 

Yi-Jau: Well, what's interesting is so far we've had the most road games and I mentioned bizarro world rockies. We actually are 15 and eight on the road, which historically we've always been awful on the road and then were six and eight at home, so we've played more games than any team right now. So maybe that's a reason why we're pitching so well because we're not in court. But last year we started for rookie pitchers, so this year everybody was kind of seeing like, oh well we have kind of the sophomore jinx with the pitchers because last year he pitched pretty well. So this year they've been holding their own. Before yesterday they had a nine straight quality starts and that's a franchise record for the rockies. I have nine quality starts, which actually it's the second longest streak behind Houston this year for quality starts. So I think the pitching's there, we have some starters even at the AAA level that can step in one or two get injured. So I think the material to say it's the bats that need to wake up and maybe that will change when we started playing more home games. 

Benjamin: So I'm looking over the starting staff that you have John Gray who has a four point two, four era. Chad bettis with a two point. Oh five. So He's foreign one. He's been nailed so far 

Yi-Jau: and does a phenomenal story. He was out a bunch of the season last year. He got testicular cancer and it was like a second stint. So as he's been kind of a really great feel good story this year because he's pitching awesome. Coming off of it. Overcoming cancer. So what's awesome about the staff? It's really young. So Chad Bettis, it's the oldest guy. He's 29 years old. 

Benjamin: So you have kyle friedland who has a slightly under four run era and then tyler Anderson who's at four point two. So basically everybody is hovering around a four run era with the exception of Chad Bettis, who's too. That's a pretty solid starting staff. 

Yi-Jau: Yes. Historical staff or the rockies? We've never had a era this year. Only at one time where we've had uh, era of under four. Mike Hampton, not like Hampton. Not that year. No. Who Was it? No, as a staff. As a staff. Okay. I thought you, I thought you had one picture with an era under for that might've been the case. Maybe you Baldo Jimenez. Both. Amanda, is that first half season? He was untouchable. He threw that no hit or he was the starter of the All star game and then the shoulder melted. Yeah. Then it just all went downhill from there and then we traded it. But yeah, it wasn't magical. First half season for Ebola. 

Benjamin: So tell me a little bit about how the rockies fans think about San Francisco giants fans and how did they think about this year's team? 

Yi-Jau: Yeah, I think there's a respect for the diamonds. Obviously it's kind of one of those you hate them because they were winning when the giants were winning every other year or whatever. The world series respect the organization and you want to get over the hump on that, but now I don't know. I think we both have a, at least from my perspective, we both have that animosity towards the doctors more so then the giants. 

Benjamin: That's one of the things that stuck out to me, talking to fans of other fan bases. It's come up in our conversation with fans from Arizona with fans from Oakland, with fans from Colorado that it's like, we don't necessarily like the giants, but we agree that we hate 

Yi-Jau: the dodgers. That's right. The dodgers and for us, just because we lost to the red sox, maybe there's some animosity there. Punks in Colorado just in day. 

Benjamin: The only thing on TV was Mgen 

Benjamin: and so there were a lot of people from and moved to Denver because of the weather, but there's always a good healthy debate on who's the best third baseman between Chris, Brian, and so there's always some animosity there as well. You're not throwing Pablo Sandoval into that mix. Hey, kung fu panda is six slash 15. He actually is. He left to sign with the red sox. He signed a $95,000,000 contract. They cut him after two and a half years and now he plays for the giants for league minimum and he comes off the bench backing up Evan Longoria and the red sox are still paying them roughly $20,000,000 a year. Well, baseball is a known for sometimes. I mean bad contracts. We signed Ian Desmond last year for 70 million and he's playing the giants generally saved. They're terrible contracts for pitchers that are in the middle of their career and they signed them for $20,000,000 for the back half of their career and as much as I love them. 

Benjamin: Barry Zito who beat Justin verlander in the world series. Matt Cain had a rough and to his contract, we have some margin who that contract looks like it's going to be a disaster. Quedo has been good, but is now injured. Those are all like five year, $100,000,000 contract. So you know, we, we've had our fair share of like oopses, but you have three world series rings. It all worked out in the end for the giants for this decade. And going back to Pablo Sandoval, since you're the owner of a minor league baseball team, and a big part of your role is to think about the concessions and some of the marketing. I think one of the biggest reasons why the giants went and signed Pablo Sandoval was they make as much on merchandising from selling panda hats as they do. Paying him this year. That's a very good point. It's all about the merchandise. 

Benjamin: That's one of the reasons why we're so close with our friends at fanatics, but I'll save that for the exit of the podcast. So it's good. So you think that the rockies are gonna Win 90 one games this year? I'm optimistic. Optimistic and that puts them in the fight for an NFL west division or a wild card. Do you think they win the division? Do you think they end up at a wildcard spot or. I would love but Arizona looks pretty good. Is here. So as much as it pains me to say that I think that from the giants fans perspective, I look at Arizona at least so far this season looks like the class of the NL West. I think that everybody is still in fear of the dodgers putting things together and going on a run like they did at the end of the year and I think when it's all said and done they will likely be competitive. 

Benjamin: And the giants feel like a 500 team and really Colorado is the mystery to us whether they are going to be another 500 team or whether they're going to be in the mix. Kind of like they were for the second wild card last year. Yeah. We're kind of the unknown quantity, like no one really talks about the rockies ever been in the background. And sometimes even I think some of our top players, I don't necessarily get the credit that they're due. Everyone just kind of says, oh, forcefield like they can hit. But Charlie Blackmon, he said nine of his 11 home runs on the road. No one really talks about that. I'm still not convinced that it's not Brian Wilson, it's his twin brother. It might be him at a different uniform. And he's saying it's his twin brother. So what do the giants think about the rockiest as a giants fan? 

Benjamin: I think that the rockies have always been sort of middle to lower end of the division in terms of competition. So I think that they probably lumped Arizona and Colorado together as the expansion teams in the division. Arizona's had a little bit more success. They've won a world series but still relatively young teams, so organizationally I think that they're trying to build tradition. They're still trying to figure things out from the executive level leadership as opposed to San Diego, a team that's been around forever and has really fallen on hard times and isn't necessarily that interesting or competitive and then then you have the giants and the dodgers who were teams that have been around forever and those are sort of your traditional power houses, so you respect everybody in the division and I don't think that there's any animosity towards Colorado, but the balls are juiced, the park is scary and we live in fear of going and having a five run lead in the sixth than watching it evaporate in course field. 

Benjamin: Yeah, you certainly have to play a different way when you're indoors. Team still have to be aggressive. Even with like a six run wade, they're still stealing bases and you don't necessarily do that. I know the parks, like, let's say you're in Tropicana, you're not trying to rub it in, but of course field it's a different story, so definitely a different managerial style. You have to bring to that ballpark. Yeah, I think that for the giants, sometimes you'd go to course field and it feels like your chance when you're a team that doesn't have a lot of power to get healthy and build some momentum and the bass just tend to wake up when you're at coors field and then sometimes we live in fear of just getting absolutely hammered on repeatedly so. Well, like I said, bizarro world rocky's. They've only have scored 10 runs only one time this year. 

Benjamin: That was May 2nd that was against the cubs. So they're not blowing teams the way. And it's interesting because yeah, we're pitching and we're playing good defense, so maybe kind of changes things. Great. Well, before we let you go, uh, it seems like the rockies are competitive and other giants in the rockies have a series coming up. Any last stories about baseball but the giants about the rockies? Give me something interesting to share with our fans. Yeah, so I just wanted to tell this one story that I was lucky enough to come out to San Francisco for a game and do a tour with a monitor who is the owner of the rockies and he had his operations guy with them. This was a few years back and we going through the tour at the stadium and it kind of stopped tour and said, oh, this is what I'm talking about. 

Benjamin: And he pointed at the chopped onion dispenser at the stadium and he had like a 10 minute conversation with his operation sky discussing this onion dispenser and how we needed to have the course field. So just want to let you know San Francisco, you guys are the team that the onion sensor. So we might be a 500 team. You might be making the playoffs. It looks like we are probably going to be the on the outside looking in, but at the end of the day when they're playing the games in October, we still have the world series of Onion Dispenser Championship. That's right. That's right. You know, something they'd be proud of and three world series rings to go along with it. Throw that in there as well, but yeah, onions is where it's at. Well, you have the Fresno Grizzlies Taco jerseys. Maybe it should be the San Francisco giants onion jerseys on Tuesdays. 

Benjamin: It could probably happen in minor league baseball with all that silliness and craziness that happens in the lake. So yeah, maybe that's a future uniform. Alright, well we're going to say thank you very much for joining us and that's a wrap for today's show. If you want to hear more conversations like this one or if you just want more giants baseball in your podcast feed, click that subscribe button in your podcast App. Thanks again to our friends at fanatics. Don't forget, if you're going to buy your giants gear, then click the link in our show notes or go to, and our friends at fanatics will kick us a couple of bucks to help with the production of this podcast. Until next time, swing and a miss, and that's it.