Only Baseball Matters
…. Compounded and confounded

Again, I ask, Bruce Bochy? That’s who we needed to get when we decided that perhaps the rumors about Felipe Alou’s destructive ways with pitchers were true? Now, we’re at the start of the second full season with Bochy as the manager, and there is nothing that has happened since he’s been here to make me feel any better than I did the day he arrived:

More good news out of the Giants camp, as we learn that manager Bruce Bochy intends to let the Giants run and run:

…. “I would like to have our guys play their game,” Bochy said. “I don’t want to change the game because we do have Barry in the cleanup hole. You get to the point of diminishing returns sometime when you try to force the issue. If we think now is the time to run or hit-and-run, we’re going to play the game. You can’t sit back and wait on one guy or two guys. ”

Since all I ever do is complain, let me just explain how happy I am to hear this. Fantastic news, really, especially since, with Bonds batting fourth; there will be already at least 70 games in which he won’t get to the plate in the first inning. Now we get the additional treat of advocating a reckless, proven to be virtually useless “speed” game, which will also provide the added treat of watching a) Bonds being intentionally walked with first base open an extra 20 times, and b) another ten or twenty first innings ending with Bonds in the on-deck circle as these old men get thrown out. Hooray.

Doesn’t anyone in the Giants organization read books? You know, baseball books, with information, research and analysis in them? Bochy, a grizzly, veteran-loving, old basball playing, tobacco-chewing, tough guy (who once famously intentionally walked Bonds in a meaningless situation after proclaiming how his team would never fear any one hitter), is now the second coming of Whitey Herzog. I’m telling you, I’m starting to have real thoughts of abandoning this team, as they continue down a path of baseball ignorance that I simply cannot stomach anymore.

That’s from December of 2006. That’s right, I was already talking about dumping this team almost two years ago. It also means that we’ve been hearing this lie about youth and speed for the same amount of time. Right about now, you must be wondering where I’m going with this rant. So, what’s my point, anyway?

Bruce Bochy, who will from this point forward be known as Bonehead, will not be here when this team is good again. He will not be here when Lincecum wins a Cy Young. He will not be here when Matt Cain finally gets some runs. He is keeping the chair warm for a real manager. By the time the Giants are competitive again, Bochy will be on ESPN telling us how important it is to have a set lineup that puts your worst hitters in the top of the order so as to get their horrible at-bats out of the way quickly.

In the meantime, his job is pretty fucking simple. DON’T GET LINCECUM OR CAIN INJURED!!!!!!!

Last night, Bonehead decided that protecting the single most valuable commodity in the entire fucking organization was for pansey’s. A real man, one who chews tobacco and kicks his dog, can pitch for an inning and then take an hour and a half break and come back just fine. Youngest player on the team? No issue. Best player on the team? Whatever. He’s tough.

…. Lincecum entered the game to pitch the fourth inning, his first relief appearance since college, after Valdez and Jack Taschner pitched shutout ball over the first three.

In a stunning and risky move involving the young pitcher they call The Franchise, Bochy allowed Lincecum to pitch one inning then return to a cold, damp mound after sitting through the 74-minute delay. Even older, established pitchers rarely do that.

Lincecum threw 84 pitches over four innings, allowing one run and striking out four to get the win. What a turnabout from last season, when the Giants babied Lincecum so he would not overtax his valuable right arm.

Bochy defended the decision, saying, “If we thought we were going to hurt his arm, we wouldn’t have done it.”

Bochy conferred with Lincecum, pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen coach Mark Gardner during the delay. Lincecum reminded them he often sat through rain delays during high school and college games in Washington. But even Lincecum later admitted he had not returned after a delay as long as Wednesday’s.

“That,” he said, “was a first for me.”

Lincecum also acknowledged the move might be viewed as risky, “but it doesn’t feel like it to me. My arm felt good. People have called me a freak of nature before. This will give them another reason.”

Had the delay gone a few minutes longer, Bochy said, he would have gone with another pitcher. That’s what Torre did. He had Billingsley start the fifth inning before the delay, but Esteban Loaiza took the mound when the game resumed.

If we thought we were going to hurt his arm, we wouldn’t have done it. Unbelievable. We’re three games into the season, and here’s what we’ve already learned:

Bonehead doesn’t know how to put together a lineup. He doesn’t know how to get his players ready to play defense. He doesn’t know how to decide who should play or sit. He doesn’t know how to organize his bullpen, or use it. He doesn’t know how to get his players ready to play, to pitch, to catch the ball, or to hit. And he doesn’t know who is valuable, or how to handle them. Other than that, he’s doing a bang-up job.

And, as for Magowan’s regrets, well, interestingly enough, I wrote about it in that same post:

…. “I can’t tell you how many conversations we had with excellent free-agent players during this offseason who did want to come here,” Magowan said. “We ended up with Ray Durham, but there were some excellent other second baseman who wanted to come here. This image that we’re going to go out and get players, and not be able to deliver on that, the public perception, I regret that.”

Yeah, well, regrets are like assholes, Peter. I regret that you are either blind to the failings of your GM, or are blind to your own; because at this point in time, your team is about tenth or twelth on the list of potential places to play for big-time free agents. Between the Bonds show, your systematic degradation of your major league team, your failure to effectively and accurately evaluate talent, and your neglect of your farm system; you’ve sent out a very clear message to any potential free agent: the inmates are running the asylum in San Francisco.

And let me further state that this problem goes all the way back to your failure to make a real effort to sign Vladimir Guererro. At the time of his free agency, he represented an EXACT fit for what your team needed; an immediate replacement for Kent’s bat, an All Star caliber outfielder with the best arm in the game to shore up your defense, and he was a younger superstar who would have been able to pick up the slack for Bonds as his career wound down. You and your GM low-balled him, (so that you could claim that you went after him, but still avoid actually paying him); and in the end, you came off as small-time. This franchise has never recovered from that miscalculation; just as it has never really recovered from Game Six.

Sabean (or is it really you) haven’t made one significant move since then that could be considered to have worked, (other than perhaps the signing of Vizquel); and you’ve made about ten that have been abysmal. What’s really aggravating is that you guys spend all this time telling us about your financial limitations while throwing tens of millions of dollars on the ground. $18 million to Reuter when he was neither worth it or up for renewal, $27 million to Benitez, Alou, and now Dave Roberts; I mean, you could have signed Guerrero with no trouble at all if it hadn’t been for the ridiculous, albatross contracts you gave to virtually every mediocre “veteran” reaching the end of the line in baseball for the last decade.

Look in the mirror if you want to know why every free agent signs somewhere else; because it has nothing to do with where someone’s ranch is.

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