A Little Background
A little while ago, (Nov 16 to be exact) I scribbled a little something about our guy, Brian and his predilection for trying to corner the global market on centerfielders. Like most of my stuff, its different and more amateurish than what you’re used to reading from the usual suspects who cover the Giants for a paycheck
I get to belabor points at will, throw up walls and walls of text, offer non-sourced opinions at random and otherwise play shoot-em up with the Giants and others. I don’t pretend to be a skilled writer (or thinker now that I think about it) so journalism is something I know little about except its supposed to be truthful and compelling. And that doesn’t mean random semi-salacious factoids from space splattered about with little perspective, without context, many times while advancing a private undisclosed agenda.
Its Not My Job
To be fair, I pick and choose what I want to write about, when I want to write about it, and how I want to write about it; without quotas, deadlines, credentialing, perks, access or bosses. I would rather greet shoppers at Walmart on two-buck toaster night, than have to cover a professional sports team for a living. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have to defer to folks who at best tolerate me and my work, yet I am somehow to go about daily life being scrupulously fair and objective in all serious matters. To me that takes a very special individual, so I want to give credit where credit is due.
Radio And TV Guys
And that brings me to the radio and TV guys. These are men and women who can talk coherently for hours at a time without drooling, sputtering, while being enthusiastic in a professional manner. That there is a subset of these guys that actually know what they are talking about, can articulate that knowledge on the fly better than their competition and come across as pleasant and friendly on an ongoing basis boggles the mind. Like hitting a baseball, I think it is a gift; it can be tinkered with and improved upon, but if you don’t have "the gift" don’t waste your time. That so many are willing to try amazes me to no end.
Blast From The Past
Now that we have dispensed with the disclaimers I want to look at some things from awhile ago and contrast them with current goings-on. Its a reminder that our truth-keepers are supposed to be the memory of the public. Recently Sabean traded Jonathan Sanchez to the Kansas City Royals for yet another mediocre outfielder from the American League; Melky Cabrera. While fans forget, and rightly so if they are otherwise occupied with life, the media is supposed to keep track of events and include them in their reporting so as to provide context. It lends perspective for the reader/listener/viewer. But it rarely happens on any broad basis except for a couple of guys.
Tokyo Rose Could Not Have Said It Better.
Here’s what I mean. This is what one of the so-called deans of Bay Area Sports Journalism wrote about the infamous Joe Nathan deal eight years ago. A guy that is featured regularly in print and on the San Francisco Baseball Associates affiliated broadcast outlets.
Moving swiftly and boldly, in his usual fashion, Giants GM Brian Sabean crossed a major issue off his list with the acquisition of A.J. Pierzynski. Like Benito Santiago, Pierzynski is a respected catcher, a character and a strong clubhouse presence. He’s also in his prime, with two . 300 seasons behind him. Giants fans won’t miss Joe Nathan, about to experience the horrors of Metrodome pitching, or a guy named Boof Bonser (seriously), who went a combined 8-12, with a 3.87 ERA at two minor-league levels. It’s a steal … Nathan’s last act as a Giant: Shelled in Game 2 of the playoffs against Florida, he came on for the start of the eighth inning of Game 3 in a 2-2 tie, walked Luis Castillo on four pitches, got a richly deserved trip to the showers, then bitterly complained .
Tokyo Rose Junior With A Blast From the Present
Sound familiar? Here’s another one of the local writers who is also featured regularly on SF Baseball Associates broadcast partners and lauded as an "authority", carrying Sabean’s water eight years later. Only instead of Joe Nathan, its Jonathan Sanchez getting the attitude forearm shiver..
"….(Sabean) said he began shopping Sanchez immediately after the season ended. He lamented that Sanchez’s inability (or unwillingness) to pitch again after spraining his ankle in August “probably dampened other opportunities.”… Anyway, Sanchez’s time with the Giants had passed. He’ll be 29 soon and he remained as frustrating as ever with his lackadaisical attitude and high walks totals. I know he received a lecture from coaches in July after telling me he felt “unappreciated here” and that he didn’t expect to come off the disabled list till September." "…Numbers by themselves don’t win games, and if you watched Sanchez pitch, he didn’t always compete so well. "
Single Vision Lenses
That kind of writing is San Francisco Baseball Associates press release material at the expense of a twenty something year old. Its the front office take, with no counterpoint. Its worse for Sanchez than it was for Nathan because they have tightened their stranglehold on Bay Area media even more in the last eight years as their main competitors (A’s and 49ers) have seen their popularity fall until very recently. There seldom seems to be a fair competing narrative vying for the public’s attention. The message is the same whether its in print, radio or TV. with little if any counterpoint or perspective. Anytime an organization that consists of very wealthy owners on one side and insulated gifted athletes on the other, and there is only one narrative and that is the narrative of the ownership, the public interest is being neglected
I’ve been following the Giants since the 50s and damn if I can tell the difference between any of the writers/talking heads at ESPN, AP, SFGATE, BANG on any given story that involves San Francisco Baseball Associates, including the op-ed pieces. With rare exception, its looking through a monocle at management’s narrative almost to the letter. One is hard-pressed to find any difference between a front office press release and the medias ongoing Giants narrative.
Some of these guys who are friendly to Sabean continue to insinuate that Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand were deals initiated by ousted Managing Partner Peter Magowan. Nothing could be further from reality. The only player transaction Magowan ever initiated was Barry Bonds and that acquisition technically took place when Bob Lurie was still the owner.
FIbbers And Other Latent Canards
Magowan has tried to clear the air on this several times. Don’t take my word for it.You can contact Bill Walsh’s personal biographer and sports journalist of choice, who has been covering Bay Area Sports for almost 50 years, and ask him yourself. He’s gone over this many times with Peter Magowan in one on one interviews, so the fact that a few of Sabean’s pals in the media are trying to portray Sabean as a victim of Magowan’s dealings, rather than perpetrator tells you all you need to know. I know this because it got thrown in my face several years ago and I had to admit I was wrong. And now that we know that Sabean has been behind the wheel all along, then the context of these transactions over the years makes sense if you follow the timelines as depicted throughout several posts here and elsewhere.
That this "Magowan Myth" gets repeated by SF Baseball Associates sycophants makes it worse. Magowan was criticized for those deals by the other partners, not because they were his deals, but because he gave Sabean a virtual blank check. Those contracts originated and ended with Sabean. And they still do. And if you can’t see the similarities between Sanchez and Nathan deals eight years apart, then you are being willfully obtuse.
The Myth Continues
But you’re not going to read that from the beat guys or the guys who confuse "San Francisco Baseball Associates" the owners, with "The San Francisco Giants", the players. The truth has to be pried out of San Francisco Baseball Associates, same as it would for Citibank, Allstate, AT&T or other one-percenters whether they be individuals or businesses. Its also my opinion that the local guys don’t want to pry too much; after all, the fans are happy, games are sold out, access to players and others within the organization is free and easy, why rock the boat; they did win a world series and thats all anybody cares about.
In my opinion thats what happens when the guy in charge seems to think, talk and act like he has a monopoly on a particular brand of high-demand entertainment, uses it to fund his real estate business, which in turn provides cash flow to the partners and then eventually funds the baseball business with the leftovers. Not much different than the Marlins except Loiria depends on MLB welfare to fund his real-estate deals and generate cash flow.
Half Measures Avail You Nothing In The End
Apparently the folks in Miami are not willing to overlook half-measures as much as Giants fans, and have stayed away in droves for years, in spite of two World Series Championships in their short existence. Giants fans’ acceptance of squandered opportunities, implausible excuses for failure, and a willingness to be flattered by the SF marketing ans public relations machines, much like emotionally driven voters, prevents them from seeing the distinction between San Francisco Baseball Associates and the San Francisco Giants.
Hey Man, They Let Us Eat Cake; So What’s The Problem?
Its a good money plan and a good power consolidation plan because it maximizes revenues, and minimizes risk. It enables San Francisco Baseball Associates management team to allow themselves the luxury of injecting personalities and favoritism into the player equation without penalty. Most fans don’t care, as long as they get a good show and nobody in mainstream is critical. They must be doing it right. Right?
Traditional media does a disservice to the public and fans, by not delineating and informing them of the real world differences between SF Baseball Associates and SF Giants. Players are not the front office.They do not set policy, prices, schedules, roster sizes, game times, transactions, teammates or anything else. They have no say-so in uniforms, grounds keeping, field dimensions, mound height, visitor passes, or anything else except when its part of a labor agreement or personal services contract. Everything is decided by ownership except the action on the field between the first pitch and the last pitch. And even that is interfered with by TV timeouts.
Create Nothing – Simply Own
Yes, there is labor peace. But that’s merely an armed truce not much different than the MAD policy of the Cold War. A mutually beneficial stand-off. What fans do not understand is that baseball players only need management to sell tickets and distribute income from revenues. Management and ownership is parasitic. They do not produce anything. They are "The Wall Street Gordon Gekkos of Professional Sports.They create nothing-they simply own. In this case they own property, and player contracts. The "Giants" will continue on long after each and every one of them is dead, so in effect they are merely temporary paper-holders. I am not impressed and neither should you.
Its About The Game – Not Owners, Agents, A Handful of Diva Players Or Their Suffocating Sense Of Entitlement
See I’m one of those guys who appreciates the game itself, the skill and determination of its players whether they play in Golden Gate Park, or AT&T Park. I don’t care about concessions, exploding scoreboards, kiss-cams, french-fried stink beans and erectile-dysfunction awareness nights. Fame and notoriety brought about by the explosion in mass media are over-rated, over-exposed, short-lived and over-indulged
In Conclusion – (Its About Time)
San Francisco Baseball Associates is responsible for the horrible contracts that Brian Sabean has created, including 2012 boat anchors Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff. As a result they have wasted some of the best years of the best pitching staff ever assembled by the Giants farm system since Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry were brought up. And it looks like they will continue to waste them.
One-Third of the Payroll This Year Is for Zito, Rowand, and Huff
San Francisco Baseball Associates is a landlord and contract holder; it is not a baseball team. SF Baseball Associates owns the finest stadium in all of baseball, complete with taxpayer subsidies, with 81 sellouts per year, merchandise sales in the millions, a protected market that covers two major metropolitan areas, and their own cable network. They then break out the crocodile tears, and declare they cannot compete with less prosperous organizations for the players needed and available because they need all their money to pay for Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Wrong. They need twice as much as what they are going to pay Cain and Lincecum to pay off Sabean’s contracts to Zito, Rowand, and Huff.
You’ll Get Nothing And Like It.
This year’s free agent market includes five of the best players in the game at positions the Giants have been pathetic at for years. Shortstop and First Base. The Giants could only get within 8 games of first place with Carlos Beltran, and now San Francisco Baseball Associates wants you to believe that getting rid of Jonathan Sanchez and adding Melky Cabrera is an improvement. You can place the blame for that directly on Sabean’s shoulders, he’s the guy who went out and outbid the world for Zito and Rowand, then decided to sign the aging vagabond designated hitter Huff to a $20 Million contract.
Its The Same Folks, Folks.
The same people who are shoveling this narrative off the compost pile, are the same people who committed $42 Million to Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff and are blaming Peter Magawon for their own incompetence while they’re at it. Lincecum and Cain are going to cost nowhere near that amount in 2012. Rowand has been cut, so his repulsive $12 Million has been acknowledged as a sunk cost. Zito is simply a welfare queen contemplating his naval while he talks to himself in Gregorian chant for at least two more years. Huff is so bad, he wont’ even do a phone-in radio interview until the season starts. At least Huff is mortified enough to realize his contract is a license to steal.
Do Not Ask Inmates To Run The Asylum And Expect A Cure for Schizophrenia
So the simple fact of the matter is the guy, Brian Sabean, who is responsible for that blown $42 Million in 2012 is whining that he can’t spend any money on actual impact players for the fifth year in a row because he has to come up with $20 Million for Tim Lincecum and he barely has that. Classic case of the guy who killed his parents, than begs for mercy because he is an orphan.
Selling Out For Pizza And Parking
San Francisco Baseball Associates is looking after the interests of their closed circle because thats what one-percenters do. They over-sell, over-promise, over-state and under-deliver and count on their customers’ lethargy and tolerance for failure and squandered opportunities. That’s why the media is supposed to fill in the blanks and play devil’s advocate once in awhile. But for the most part, we get guys who appear to sell themselves out to the Gordon Gekko’s for pizza and parking. Thats why when it comes to San Francisco Baseball Associates, the narrative you hear is the narrative the owner’s want you to hear.
Just Ask Yourself This:
San Francisco Baseball Associates sold out all 81 games last year. They went to dynamic pricing and higher ticket costs, increased parking fees, concessions, and they increased revenues dramatically across the board by $ Millions, far over expectations all because of the World Series win. They had windfall profits so to speak. They grossly disappointed in 2011, with an everyday lineup that was virtually unwatchable, putting up 3 or fewer runs 98 times while finishing with the 6th best record in the National League, 8 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in their own division. As a token of their appreciation, Larry Baer and San Francisco Baseball Associates is raising ticket prices in the vicinity of up to 20 percent.
And you will not read or hear or see those facts in that, their true context from the Bay Area lapdogs.
Jed York on the eve of the SF 49ers resurgence to capture the NFC West for the first time in years announced a ticket price freeze for next year. Thats right. Read his lips. NO INCREASED TICKET PRICES. Thats what a class act does. Thats what a guy does when he knows he screwed up in the past. It takes a guy trying to be an honest man to do that.