In my house, this is called lying:
…. “With Barry Bonds gone,” Magowan said, addressing the media throng, “this is clearly the beginning of a new era for the Giants.” He promised a “younger, faster, more energetic ballclub.”
I’m always amazed at the audacity of people in the public eye just flat-out lying, as if to say that the fact that they are saying something makes it true. You wanna know why Baer and Magowan and Sabean think that saying the team is younger means that it is? I’ll tell you why…. because it works. Because no one listens, no one reads, no one pays attention to anything other than the headlines anymore. If someone says it on TV, it’s true. If it’s written, anywhere, it’s a fact. Jose Canseco can say whatever he wants, because he’s on television, he wrote a book. Game of Shadows is completely factual, according to anyone and everyone. It’s a book, of course it’s true. That’s as much an indictment of us as a culture, as a country, as it is of the people in the mainstream media.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, we have an owner who, in between ignoring the day to day mistakes of his general manager and staff, has conveniently forgotten who buttered his bread for the last fifteen years. In his latest “State of the Team,” press conference, Magowan comes off as small-time, petty, and quite frankly, unbelievably ungrateful. To say that his entire fortune is based upon the hard work and sacrifice of Barry Bonds might be a stretch, but it’s not much of a stretch.
…. The ballpark itself has been de-Bondsed. Gone are the huge cloth murals of Bonds and “756″ that hung from the lighting towers flanking the centerfield scoreboard. Gone is the Bonds career-home-run “scoreboard.” The leftfield fence now features a long green blank between the ads for Chevron and Bud Lite. Last season, that space was devoted to Bonds – first a mural of Bonds and three other Giants’ legends, and then a “Road to History” mural featuring a photo of Bonds and a highway sign with his name and team logo.
…. I asked team president Peter Magowan if management considered some kind of visible tribute to Bonds and his record. “No,” Magowan said, eloquently.
Historians will remember that towards the end of his career, Babe Ruth was lied to and discarded by the Yankees, but I wonder if it was a bad as this. Ruth needed to go because he wanted to be the manager, and had always been a sideshow, (like Bonds), and I seem to remember some bullshit between him and the existing manager (Miller Huggins?). It wasn’t until he was diagnosed with cancer that the Yankees realized they were shortchanging the fans by slamming the door on Ruth. How can Magowan sit there with a straight face and act like Bonds somehow fucked him and the Giants over? That is as much an affront to me as a fan as any lying about the direction the team is going. Wiping clean all traces of Bonds is a disgrace.
And, again, let’s point out that Roger Clemens is again being defended by members of Congress, while Bonds is still hunted and, of course, being colluded out of baseball. That virtually every member of the mainstream media is standing by and applauding while this is happening is another travesty. The number of sportswriters who have profited from Bonds’ efforts, who have profited at his expense is staggering. Not content to cash their new, bigger paychecks, they still spew vitriol and bile at him, even when he’s out of the spotlight.
I remember reading how Joe DiMaggio became a recluse, hiding from fans and sportswriters, until finally he spent all of his time and effort protecting his name and reputation, suing people who even thought about making money off his fame without him getting his due. Sadly, history is repeating itself. The destruction of Barry Bonds will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in baseball history. Bonds has been a tremendous player, one who dedicated himself to his craft, getting every last ounce of production out his talent; and this is like watching him be torn apart by hyenas. It makes me feel dirty.
And, to those of you who count yourself among my faithful readers, I have had enough. There is a distinct possibility I am going to start focusing on, and writing about a different team this season. Five years on the Giants, and during that time, I’ve been mostly critical of them, but at least there seemed to be some sense of competence and respect in the way they went about their business. I haven’t agreed with everything, but at least they appeared to be giving an honest effort. The way these last couple of year has gone, and the way they (Magowan and Sabean, in particular) have been acting, is, frankly, abhorrent to me. Most of you have noticed that all I ever write anymore is complaints and criticisms. Well, I’ve noticed, too. This team makes me mad, disappointed, and most importantly, uninterested.
I am not interested in being lied to. I am not interested in a team that has so little respect for its fans that they would think it’s OK to shit all over the greatest player in team history. I am not interested in an owner and general manager who think it’s OK to field a team of has-beens, misfits, and never-was, washed-up players; and then lie about it right to my face. When someone lies to your face, that means they think you are worthless. They think you aren’t worthy of their respect. They are telling you to go fuck yourself.
I am not interested in this absolute travesty. If I cannot get interested, well, then I’m gonna make some changes. That’s where I’m at.
UPDATE: Thanks for the kind words, guys. I ain’t going anywhere, but I am seriously thinking about covering the Yankees instead of the Giants. Nothing’s decided.
And, I’ll give you that MLB may have laid down the law about all the Bonds stuff, possibly as some way for Magowan and Sabean to avoid censure for their complicity in the Bonds situation. OK.
They still have been telling us that they are going younger and faster for about three seasons, now, while simultaneously signing guys like Aurilia. Horseshit.
The deal is this, Sabean’s plan is easy to figure out, if you just watch what he does. He values veterans with proven track records over youth and inexperience. He has taken this strategy to it’s absurd extreme, and, in doing so, has completely derailed this franchise. Magowan has watched him do it, and is either blind to it, or thinks it’ll eventually work. Bottom line; these guys have failed. They have done so by choosing a course of action that disregards conventional wisdom, collective wisdom, and conventional –and unconventional– statistical analysis. It’s as if they have gone out of their way to try and prove that Bill James is wrong.
He’s not. They are. It’s tough enough to root for a team going through a down swing. It’s much tougher when any reasonable person can see that the path that management has chosen is clearly the wrong path. Rooting for the Giants right now is like rooting for the New York Knicks; you love the franchise, but hate the idiots in charge.