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…. Get ready to say goodbye

…. to me, Giants fans. I’m not gonna waste my time, my energy, and my love for baseball on this collection of fools. It’s not bad enough that Brian Sabean, fresh off of three years in a row of worst in baseball offense, still thinks he knows better than every other team in the game:

….At a time when younger, number-crunching GMs are in vogue, Neukom is placing his faith in a 53-year-old executive who has begun to embrace sabermetrics but still has a stronger scouting background. Indeed, when asked about the need for hitters with better on-base percentages, Sabean said almost dismissively, “I think we learned this year, as attested by winning 88 games, the most important thing is the final score, winning the game.”

Yeah, just like batting average is the best indicator of a hitters effectiveness, just like wins and losses are the best way to evaluate a pitcher. Is this guy for real? Talk about being stuck in 1985. What a jackass. And what a fool Neukom is for basing his decision to bring back the Idiot on something as worthless as a 16 game improvement over the year before, as opposed to the complete and utter failure of Sabean to maximize the team’s unforeseen opportunity to make the postseason for the first time in a five years, or the waste of two of the top four young pitching prospects in the system for a couple of absolutely worthless nobodies who contributed NOT ONE FUCKING THING AT ALL!!!!!!

Or maybe he could’ve seen what was predictably obvious to everyone in baseball; that the Giants coming into 2009 had to upgrade their offense significantly to be serious about contending; and Sabean –serious about contending the whole time– came up with the great idea of signing Randy Johnson and Edgar Renteria as the answer to that issue.

No, Neukom decided that winning a couple more games than everyone thought we would must be due to the great work of his GM and coach, as opposed to what was obvious to all of baseball; that it was his young pitchers carrying the team, and, in fact, his GM completely failed in his efforts to upgrade the team’s offense, which meant that the Giants would be watching the playoffs on television –again– despite the historic performances of the members of their pitching staff.

No, it’s not bad enough that this is what we can expect from our our fool of an owner, or our dinosaur of a GM. No, we even get the added treat of the local media making sure that we know it’s not his fault we’ve never landed one single significant free agent hitter in his entire tenure:

…. the new season begins in 172 days, and the Giants will be handed new and grander expectations because, as we know, every time a team gains 16 wins, it must by definition pick up another 16 the next year, give or take a few. And that burden will land squarely on Sabean’s leonine head. Except that teams don’t typically make two such leaps in successive years; in fact, most teams that actually leap forward one year tend to fall back the next.

…. this expectation thing is Sabean’s problem to correct, and the math says no. Again.

Yeah, go Giants!! Let’s all get ready to lose more games than we did this year! Don’t have any high expectations or anything. Don’t plan on being better, or improving, or anything like that, because, remember, teams that do well one year tend to do poorly the next. And, remember, it’s never ever ever the GM’s fault when they do.

Yup, just what we needed, a nice long dissertation from Ray Ratto, who, by the way, knows nothing about baseball whatsoever. But, hey, why should that stop him from explaining to us uninformed dolts that Bill Neukom controls the budget, and that Buster Posey isn’t ready, and that the Giants can’t afford Matt Holliday or whoever else might actually help. In other words, get ready for more excuses when we do nothing to address our horrible, worst in baseball offense. Yup, write some long-winded bullshit about how the Giants will once again be hamstrung by difficult decisions, because of difficult times, or difficult ideas, or difficult concepts. Yup, just keep selling the idea that it’s all somebody else’s fault, and write about that.

As opposed to writing about facts. Facts. Like the fact that it’s Brian–fucking–Sabean who decides what player the team should pursue and sign, and the fact that he has pursued and signed the wrong guys time and time again. Or the fact that it’s been Sabean who has made the decision to throw tens of millions of dollars on the fucking ground for this laughable collection of worthless hitters –not to mention the useless dregs we’re still paying to work at 7-11– thereby rendering the team unable to pursue a real hitter once again. Or the fact that this is the same exact excuse we were hearing from Sabean eight fucking years ago when the Giants could’ve landed Vladimir Gurerrero. In point of fact, this sameexact excuse has been made by the Giants, made by Brian Sabean, year after year; and once again, the local media are knocking Grandma out of the way as they run to the rescue and make sure that we mere mortals, who cannot possibly fathom any of the important and complicated details of the inner workings of a major league team, must remember that it’s NEVER EVER EVER EVER THE FUCKING GENERAL MANAGERS FAULT!!!!

IT IS!!!!!!! IT IS, IT IS, IT IS, IT IS!!!!!! It is Brian Sabean’s fault this team cannot afford a real hitter. It is Brian Sbean’s fault the Giants did not make the playoffs this year. It is Brian Sabean’s fault the Giants pay $10 million dollars a year to four–not one, not two, or even three, but, no, four– FOUR of the worst everyday baseball players alive. And this isn’t a new phenomenon. Let me remind you of some of the most important failures in the past. Let’s go back, all the way back to 2001:

…. 2001 is still fresh enough to look at. The events and decisions that shaped (that) season are easy to recall, painful, but easy. There were two key moments in the San Francisco Giants 2001 season, from a managers standpoint. The one that strikes me as the most important was the handling of the Andres Gallarraga/JT Snow issue in July and August; and the second most important was the Marvin Benard fiasco. I view the Gallarraga/Snow dilemma as more important, because it came up late in the season, when the post-season was still up for grabs.

Andres Gallarraga was acquired on July 24th. In the 20 games after he arrived, the Giants went 17-3, surging from 6.5 games behind the D’backs to just a half game out of first place. Their run production spiked upward, from an average of 4.93 to 6.75 runs per game. During that stretch, Gallarraga was a dominant force, providing a whole new look to the Giants lineup. Not only offering greater protection for Kent, but at times he even batted cleanup. Not surprisingly, Bonds, Kent, and, in fact, virtually everyone in the lineup was able to significantly boost their production. The difference between having the Big Cat instead of JT at the plate was obvious to even the most casual observer, (my wife); the team simply looked unbeatable. After the surge, the Giants were a season high 17 games over .500 at 69-52, and seemed a lock to make the playoffs.

By that time, however, JT Snow was healthy, and Dusty (and Brian Sabean) were faced with a decision. Should they bench the Big Cat? Should they platoon the right-handed Gallarraga and the left-handed Snow? Many articles and columns were written around this time, and there seemed to be a lot of references to someone not losing their job because of injury, (a bogus bit of nonsensical “common sense” that is constantly spouted in sports). Dusty made some reference to JT producing in the past, and how they really couldn’t expect to win without his bat (really, you could look it up), and then he benched Andres and started Snow. And how did that work?

Almost exactly as you might expect. When they made the switch from Andres, with a slugging percentage around .600, to Snow, with a slugging percentage around .350; they completely derailed the offense. Over the next twenty games, the Giants offense slumped to only 4.05 runs per game, and the team produced a record of 9-11. By then Dusty realized that JT wasn’t going to get it done; he started platooning them for real, but the damage was done, Andres and the team never got back on track. That twenty game stretch, in which Dusty Baker (and Brian Sabean’s) loyalty to one player apparently superseded (their) loyalty to a team, to an organization and to its fans; cost the Giants the playoffs. From that 69-52 record, the Giants went 21-20 the rest of the way, losing the division by two games to the eventual world champion Diamondbacks.

I was at the next seasons’ GM meets the fans session, and Sabean defended that decision –to me, directly, under specific questioning– like I was speaking French. There was never a question as to what should happen, and there was never a question as to his involvement in the decision. The league-worst first basemen got his job back from the superstar slugger who was carrying the team as if water was dry and rocks were soft. That was eight years ago. What’s changed since then?

Nothing. The Giants are a laughingstock. And it’s all on one person. Brian Sabean.

It is all Brian Sabean’s fault. IT. IS. BRIAN. SABEAN’S. FAULT.

I’m not gonna stop watching and writing about baseball. I’m just gonna stop watching and writing about the SF Giants. Sorry, all.


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