Los Angeles, San Francisco city leaders condemn ballpark violence

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There was a time from the late 60s through to about the mid-80s when going to the ballpark was an unpleasant and, at times, dangerous experience. Alcohol flowed too freely, security was lax and ticket prices were cheap enough to where people who weren’t particularly invested in baseball games for baseball games’ sake didn’t think twice about showing up, more interested in partying or raising hell than in following the action.  Sadly, Thursday night’s horrifying beating of a man outside of Dodger Stadium reminded us of that time.

As of this morning the victim of the attack, Bryan Stow, a paramedic from Santa Cruz, remains in a medically-induced coma and his friends say that there has been no change in his condition. Meanwhile, in the wake of the attack, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and police chiefs from both cities issued a statement of condemnation and urged civility among fans:

“This attack is unconscionable behavior that will not be tolerated in either of our ballparks or in either of our cities. Once apprehended, the attackers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Public safety is the top priority for all of us, and even one act of random violence is unacceptable.

“Baseball is a family sport that has unified our country after times of crisis and tragedy. This senseless act of violence has no place in our society and certainly not in our national pastime.

“The Giant/Dodger rivalry is one of the most storied in all of sports, dating back to when the teams played across town in New York City before their moves to California. This is a great rivalry between teams competing on the field of play. That’s where it must stay.

“We call on our respective citizens to stand together in honor of that rivalry as you have done throughout the years. Root hard for your teams, and do so with civility and common decency.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim, Bryan Stow, and his family. The best thing that we as a community of baseball fans can do to support Bryan and his family is to rise above this outrageous act and exercise good sportsmanship and mutual respect for each other.”

Perhaps more effective than the call for civility, however, is the fact that L.A. has issued a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the attackers. Here’s hoping that it is righteously claimed, and soon.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.