…. Bounce

Back. They sure do have some resiliency, this team. And man, do they need it. After that horrible loss, the team seemed to show no signs of the setback, coming home and pounding out a 9-5 win against the Rockies. Of course, nothing seems to be easy for the Giants this year, so the win was offset by the loss of Brett Tomko, who sprained his ankle celebrating a strikeout. Boy, that must have been some strikeout.

In the meantime, I am a little off-kilter by some of the comments you guys keep posting. Yes, I know what Brian Sabean’s track record is. Yes, I know we have had a pretty damn good run here in SF these last six or seven years. Yes, I know these things.

Am I the only one with a sense of urgency here? Doesn’t anyone understand how lucky we are to have another Bonds season, injury free and still Uber-productive? To say that Sabean is holding his play for next season is absurd. If he was doing that, (and he is not, I guarantee you that), he should be fired, and the fans should stop going to the games, and we should stop watching and the commissioner should fine the Giants for a “best interests of the game” violation.

Guys, it is now or never, every year in baseball, and the chance to make the postseason can never, ever be taken for granted. NEVER! If Sabean waits until next season to put a hitter behind Bonds, or to get a couple of real pitchers, or to bite the bullet and release Alfatso; WHAT HAPPENS IF BONDS GETS HURT? What do you do then? You think the Giants, re-tooled and ready for 2005, will be a contender without a full season of Barry? You are fooling yourself if you do. This team is a complete overhaul waiting for Bonds to retire. That’s what we’ve got, a bunch of stiffs, has-beens and re-treads surrounding the greatest baseball player of all-time, that Sabean is trying to win one more hand with.

On the one hand, it’s fine, we’re tied for the wild card, anything can happen once the postseason starts, so we just gotta get there, and we can.

On the other hand, we’re so close to being a real contender that to do nothing is a tragedy, because there is no guarantee that Bonds will play one inning in 2005. He could get in a car accident, he could get tired of all the walks, he could blow out a knee, any number of things could happen that would stop Bonds from completeing another big season. To suggest that this season is over and all efforts should be saved for next is ridiculous.

He’s healthy, red-hot, and the team, as flawed as it is, has a chance to make the post-season. Sabean and Magowan’s non-efforts to improve the team are indefensible. As a fan who puts an awful lot of my energy and time and money following this team, anything less than an all-out effort this season by the ownership and the management is just inexcusable.

And another thing. I’ve said it before and it seems I need to say it again. Brian Sabean’s track record is about fifty-fifty. The simple fact that the Giants have had Barry Bonds being the single most productive player in the history of the game during the entire tenure of Brian Sabean cannot be discounted whenever Sabean’s winning percentage is touted as evidence of his greatness. Bonds’ overwhelming abilities have made every decision Sabean’s made look fantastic.

But the bottom line is that Sabean has made more than his share of bad decisions. JT Snow’s big contract was a predictably bad decision, as was Marvin Benard’s. These two contracts were so expensive, the Giants were unable to afford to keep Ellis Burks, someone who was like five times as valuable as Snow and Benard. The backloaded deal given to Robb Nen, the extension given to Kirk Rueter, I mean, these are expensive, costly mistakes.

The trades he’s made have turned out well in some cases, and really poorly in others. Many times I’ve read about how he bucked the trend in trading Matt Williams for Jeff Kent, but that deal, absent the sentiment, was an obvious upgrade for the Giants and could hardly be thought of as some sleight of hand. At the time of the deal, the 31-year old Williams had missed almost half of the teams games the previous two seasons, was due for a new contract, and was a huge risk for the kind of deal he was seeking. Kent, on the other hand, was younger and had a huge upside. This is the kind of deal a big-time GM makes to improve his team.

Anyone remember the next big-time trade the Giants have made? Who was the next younger better guy we got for a veteran in the decline phase of his career? And I’m not just being a jerk, if any of my readers out there would like to chronicle for me all of the great moves Sabean has made over the last ten years, I’m all ears. I’ll post your work, and I’ll leave it up for a whole day.

In my opinion, Sabean’s given me a pretty mixed bag, on both counts, trades and contract negotiations. Yeah, he got the Bonds extension done. But here we are, three years later, and the team is a shadow of it’s former self. If not now, when?

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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