November... Still Coping -- Part 4

by Gregg Pearlman


Saturday, November 21, 1998

An e-mail message I received the other day made me think. Said my new, previously unheard-from correspondent, verbatim, "The Giants rule you dont know what you are talking about you shouldn't even have a Giants page if you hate them so much. Dont eeven bother to write back I dont talk to losers!!!!!!!!!! Giants Rule." I gather those last two words are his nom-de-screen.

Now, when I say "made me think," I don't mean "made me wonder if perhaps my philosophy and outlook have been egregiously wrong all this time, and maybe I do hate the Giants, and maybe EEEEEE! is some sick manifestation of this hatred." No, what I thought about was Giants fandom, and the many different approaches to it.

I actually bothered to respond to this person -- mostly to irritate him, given that he'd already requested that I not respond, but also, frankly, because even the merest implication that I'm not a Giants fan, well, them's fighting words. Over the last three years there have been a handful of occasions where someone (from whom I had previously not heard) offered stern rebukes in the Giants newsgroup, excoriating me with the fervor of a blood-and-thunder prophet on a hot Sunday afternoon in ancient Judea. The central messages they attempted to convey were: 1) Who the hell does this Gregg Pearlman think he is? 2) Gregg Pearlman is not a true Giants fan.

One of these folks did pretty much what "Giants Rule" did, which was to leave his message and run away, never to be heard from again. But the others eventually listened to what I and other newsgroup members had to say on the subject, and you might say a new accord was reached in these cases, which is fine with me.

Another reason I responded to "Giants Rule" was that while I laughed at the sheer idiocy of the message and recognize it as completely off the beam, I still felt somewhat, well, victimized, much as you might if you answered the doorbell, only to discover the rather urgent need to stomp on a flaming bag of dogshit. Perhaps my reply to "Giants Rule" was as immature as his -- it being rather deliberately of the "last taps" variety. Gotcha last! Ha-ha!

I told him I bet his mom would be very upset to find out that he's been using her e-mail account in a weak attempt to abuse complete strangers -- which is the kind of thing people frequently say online to abusive or obscene people, but in this case was really my way of going, "Nyaaah! Nyaaah! Nyaaah!"

But I also told "Giants Rule" that he was completely wrong about me, and about my page. Now, those of you who've been reading EEEEEE! for a while (and ergo like it, because why read it otherwise) are, very possibly, thinking along these lines: "How could this 'Giants Rule' person have even the tiniest idea that Gregg hates the Giants?" I mean, criminy, would I devote the equivalent of over 2,000 pages to something I hated? Has anyone yet seen my extensive websites devoted to peas, pork chops, the Dodgers, and uncomfortable itches? Of course not. They don't exist. Why would they?

But to be fair, "Do you like the Giants, or what?" That's a fair question. The answer -- which, again, I hope is obvious to anyone who knows me at all -- is, yes. I like the Giants too much. I care too much. The Giants are way up there on my priority list -- obviously not above my family and other loved ones, or oxygen -- stuff like that -- but still way the hell up there. They're my team, and they've been my team for over 30 years. Fact is, though, you bet I'm critical. The San Francisco Giants, I need not tell you, have failed to reward their fans with a World Championship throughout their 41 years on the West Coast. That's a long time. They came here two years before I was even born -- which really wasn't that long after World War II, when you stop and think about it and want to get kind of depressed.

So when I discuss the Giants, there's no question I'm going to be honest about them. I'm going to be fair, certainly, and I suppose I'll be annoyed about them until the time comes when they've won four games in a single World Series. Disappointed? Clearly. Angry sometimes? You bet -- which is the worrisome part, because it's only sports.

But there's a big difference between being critical of a team and hating it. My approach is to analyze the team in my particular way, to observe both the good and the bad, to worry, and to wish passionately for them to Win It All. Plus I like to write about it a lot.

That's my approach. One good thing about it is that it's similar to the approaches of lots of Giants fans I've come across, and what I've written in EEEEEE! and on the newsgroup has -- not to be too dramatic about it -- struck a chord with them. And I know it's not really dramatic, because a lot of them have told me this. And hey, I'm as surprised as anybody.

Sometimes the approach we take seems so pervasive that it's almost a jolt when I run across a Giants fan who looks at things a bit differently. It's almost surreal to encounter an optimistic Giants fan, for instance, because to my mind, "optimism" and "Giants fan" go together like "linseed oil" and "ontologically." And yet I know these folks exist. My dad, for instance, is a passionate sports fan, and as we watch or listen to a game together, his highs and lows will pretty much approximate mine, except that I usually don't fall asleep and have to be startled into wakefulness by my son yelling, "Amazing play! You'll never see one like that again!" four times a game. But while I'll bitch about the acquisition of a Joe Carter, J.T. Snow, Al Morman, Jose Mesa, or somebody else I don't like much, he won't. While I'll moan about Dusty Baker bunting when he doesn't really need to, my dad will focus on the run that eventually scores as a result (on the rare occasions when it works out that way).

Patrick Stadille, a close and longtime friend and periodic collaborator on projects that never get anywhere, is the guy who, whenever we attend a Giants game together, will say, "Oh, I don't have a good feeling about this game, Gregg." Every time. He said this the day the Giants beat the Cards 21-2 in 1988. So that's pessimistic, sure, but what he exhibits, that I generally don't, is an unusual capability to trust the front office. He figures, reasonably, that Brian Sabean -- and, before him, Bob Quinn and Al Rosen (and not Tom Haller -- I mean, Pat's not a fool) -- knows what he needs to do better than we do, and, after all, if we knew better, we'd be there, and Sabean doesn't. And from time to time, he'll feel compelled to verbally kick me in the ass and request, sullenly, that I knock off all the "crabbin' about the Giants."

Sometimes he'll even lay the "true Giants fan" thing on me, but I know he's only doing that to get under my skin, so I'll do a slow burn... but because I know that Pat's well aware of the extent to which I care about the Giants, my irritation will dissipate in a matter of weeks. My best evidence of his awareness is a transcript of his conversation with an employee of the Department of Defense, who was doing a background check on me preparatory to my being "rewarded" with a security clearance in the job I had at the time. The agent, or whatever, asked him if he ever knew me to be involved in any subversive organizations or causes, and Pat said, "Nah. He doesn't have the time for that. He's a Giants fan."

Know what? A couple other friends of mine said that, too. I can only hope that the DOD guy found that funny for the right reasons.

The tone of the Giants newsgroup is a lot like mine, really. Everybody's voice is different, of course, but we're mostly pretty pessimistic, expecting the worst, and given to reasonably humorous displays of annoyance. A few folks are optimistic, though, and it always surprises me: absolute faith in Brian Sabean, for instance -- or, if not "real" faith, the willingness to just let him do his job, let the chips fall where they may, and enjoy the proceedings no matter what.

I admire that. Now, I don't see myself as being likely to become more like that -- I'm just not optimistic by nature -- but I appreciate folks who are able to be passionate about, well, the only correct baseball team to be passionate about... without agonizing about it.

These folks, though, recognize that I -- and the other pessimistic fans on the group -- love this team and enjoy the good stuff at least as much as they do, though maybe we take the bad stuff harder. We pay money to go to the park as often as we can, and we cheer when Sherry Davis, the public address announcer, says, "And now, here's the starting lineup for your San Francisco Giants," because they're ours. That matters. (Of course, often she forgets to emphasize the "your," and that matters, too.)

So I don't mind being called an idiot, because (a) I'm pretty sure I'm not, and (b) I've been called worse -- tragically, sometimes, by people I'd normally almost consider credible -- and I don't care if someone tells me I don't know what I'm talking about. In fact, if you were to tell me that, and then show me where I might have veered off the correct path, I'm grateful for the new knowledge -- assuming you're right and I'm wrong.

But the very idea that I hate the Giants, or even that I'm not a "true fan," is beyond belief, laughable, and outrageous. Obviously I consider the source, which in this case is clearly a kid, maybe an adolescent, who doesn't get me, fans whose approach is anything like mine, or EEEEEE! I couldn't hate this team. The Giants have been too big a part of my life for too long. I could never even dislike this team. Getting mad at the Giants? You betcha. What passionate fan doesn't get mad at his or her team sometimes? That's practically the essence of passion.

Disagree with me all you want. That doesn't bother me. Call me immature, strange, whatever you want. I can live with that. But anyone -- even a death-defyingly immature, stupid, clueless, or otherwise misinformed or uniformed anyone -- who tells me I'm not a "true fan" of the San Francisco Giants might as well tell me I'm not a "true fan" of significantly more important parts of my life -- my wife, or my son, or my other loved ones -- and then that person had better duck, because the line has just been crossed.


Rob Neyer is the only ESPNet Sportszone columnist whose work I read regularly. Maybe that's my loss, but I really like and admire the guy, and I have to admit I'm a little jealous. We don't see eye to eye on everything, but hey, who wants a yes-man? Okay, lots of people, but not me, in this case. Not Neyer, either, who frequently passes on reader viewpoints that differ from his. If he thinks you're wrong, he'll tell you. If he thinks you're right, he'll tell you. Can't be fairer than that.

Before the results of the postseason awards were announced, Neyer -- or "Rob," as I call him, as if we're buddies -- had the temerity to say that the Baseball Writers Association of America, if they had a collective brain in their collective head, should vote for Mark McGwire as the National League's Most Valuable Player, but probably wouldn't. He made very persuasive arguments in McGwire's favor, and though I'm hardly a fan of McGwire's, I agree with Rob wholeheartedly. In fact, I think that giving the award to McGwire would've been a no-brainer. A lot of folks would disagree with me -- and with Rob -- including the BBWAA, who voted overwhelmingly for Sammy Sosa, who, true, had an amazing year in terms of home runs and RBIs, and whose team reached the postseason -- to the chagrin of every Giants fan, but that's not why I feel the way I do.

This past Friday, in a column titled "Responding to the people," Neyer says, "What struck me about the reaction to the previous column -- wherein I argued for Mark McGwire as MVP -- was the consistent lack of rational thought." He points out that despite the 66 home runs -- an astounding total, to be sure -- "Sosa's season was not historically productive, in the sense of putting runs on the scoreboard. I mean, I'm sorry if that hurts someone's feelings, but it's an empirical truth." He goes on to say that McGwire created 195 runs, while Sosa created 150. Neyer says:

I'll admit, in the last column I was remiss in dropping "Runs Created" into the discussion without any kind of definition. No, Runs Created are not "runs produced" (Runs + RBI - HR).

We do have a statistics glossary at ESPN.com, but it's not easy to find and we're all busy, so I don't blame you for not finding out what Runs Created are for yourself.

Anyway, here's the formula:

[(H + BB + HBP - CS - GIDP) times (Total bases + .26[BB - IBB + HBP] + .52[SH + SF + SB])] divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH + SF)

It looks like gobbledygook at first, and for that I'm truly sorry. All this formula really does is take all the good things a hitter did (getting on base and advancing runners with hits, for the most part), all the bad things he did (making outs), and mush everything together to figure out how many runs he was responsible for. It works, too. If you run a team's stats through the formula, you'll find that the runs they actually scored match up quite nicely with the runs they "created," which is of course the best test.

Before I get to my own comments about the Runs Created thing, let me just say that Neyer and I agree that it's preposterous to think that the MVP has to has to has to has to come from team that makes the postseason. I mean, come on. Andre Dawson won it in 1987 with a last-place team. (I didn't like the vote at the time, but not for that reason.) Steve Carlton won the Cy Young in 1972 with a horrificlast-place team, earning 46 percent (27) of his team's 59 victories that year. I felt that the sole reason players such as Willie Stargell (1979 -- a co-winner, along with Keith Hernandez) and, especially, Kirk Gibson (1988) won their MVPs was that they played on first-place teams. I don't buy that voting mindset.

There's always that silly argument that goes, "Well, who should win it? The 'most valuable' player, or the 'best' player?" But proponents of the first choice assume that "most valuable" means someone who could only have played for a first-place team. Even Lenny Dykstra, in 1993, said that he should have won it over Barry Bonds, who had a monster year, because "We won the division, they didn't; simple as that." Never mind that the Giants, with the addition of Bonds, jumped from 72 wins the previous year to 103. I submit that Dykstra, and those who agreed, were the simple ones.

Back to Neyer's discussion of Runs Created. He says:

Mark McGwire, playing for a respectable team, posted slugging and on-base percentages 93 and 105 points higher than Sosa, respectively. Those are facts.

A lineup containing nine Mark McGwires would score about 12 runs per game. A lineup containing nine Sammy Sosas would score about eight runs per game. Those are facts, too, which can be mathematically derived from those Runs Created we discussed earlier.

You might be wondering if McGwire only created 45 more runs than Sosa (195-150), how can a lineup of McGwires score 50 percent more runs than a lineup of Sosa's?

The answer is simple. McGwire, while creating those 195 runs, used up many fewer outs than did Sosa while creating 150.

McGwire made 369 outs -- 357 while batting (509 at-bats - 152 hits), eight double plays and four sacrifice flies.

Sosa made 479 outs -- 445 batting (643 at-bats - 198 hits), nine caught stealing, 20 double plays and five sacrifice flies.

It's funny, everyone's telling me I "pay too much attention to statistics." Well, if the MVP should be purely based on winning, why Sosa, whose team won 90 games? Why not Craig Biggio, whose team won 102 games? Why not Chipper Jones, whose team won 106 games? Sure, neither Biggio nor Jones hit 66 home runs or knocked in 158 runs. But by God, they played for winners and had terrific seasons.

I've made several similar arguments in EEEEEE! and the Giants newsgroup, and the problem is that they so often fall on deaf ears (or, well). Those who want to learn something, well, they learn something. Others don't. The Bonds-bashers -- they don't. Often they'll deride those newfangled statistics like on-base percentage (which, I believe, Branch Rickey came up with at least 60 years ago). Often they'll argue that the true standard of offense is the RBI, and they'll ignore the argument that it's a lousy measure because it's so lineup dependent. OBP? Slugging percentage? They're young-whippersnapper stuff, by cracky. And let's not even talk about Runs Created, which is only about 20 years old -- and, even worse, incorporates (at least in the version of the formula that Neyer supplies) weighting variables in certain ways, such as multiplying stolen bases by .52. "Point-five-two"? Whoever heard of "point-five-two"?

These things weren't just discovered by Bill James one night -- or, worse yet, made up and touted, half-cocked, as gospel. Runs Created, for instance, is predicated on the fact that the most important component of wins and losses is runs. It basically incorporates OBP and slugging percentage, which are at least more identifiable to people who haven't heard of Bill James. OBP measures getting on base; SP measures moving runners along; Runs Created looks at both. All of these are clearly more worthwhile, revealing statistics than RBIs, or batting average.

So why do so many people dismiss them out of hand? Because OBP, SP, and Runs Created are outside their comfort zone. Pure and simple. Even Henry Schulman, a local beat writer whom I (and most of the folks on the Giants newsgroup) respect, has said he won't even try to educate readers with regard to these non-triple-crown stats because, basically, he doesn't think the readers will buy them, and because, as near as I can tell, he doesn't buy them.

Well, that's okay. I mean, this stuff isn't absolute. Criminy, part of being a baseball fan is evaluating and comparing players, and if it weren't for the general interest in baseball statistics, we wouldn't be seeing the stats we see in other sports. I mean, "unforced errors" in tennis? Come on.

But wasn't there a time when people didn't buy into batting average and RBIs? For crying out loud, back in 1346 they used to use "hits per game." Really. Honestly, folks, even "runs per game" would've been a better indicator, but I guess people aren't fascinated by the relatively passive act of scoring a run; no, they wanna see that run driven in. And how do you drive in runs? With hits.

Are hits unimportant? Of course not. I'd have to be tetched to say that hits don't matter, but OBP and SP certainly do -- seeing as how hits are integral to both stats. But hits -- and, by extension, batting average -- aren't the be-all and end-all. Even if you want to look at runs as the most important element of baseball statistics, why would you look at RBIs as The Stat? Because of the active butchness of driving in that run, especially with a hit. But as I say, RBIs depend very heavily on where a player is in the lineup. If they didn't, we wouldn't think in terms of people being cleanup or leadoff hitters. But we do. In fact, often we'll hear that, say, Craig Biggio is a good RBI man "for a leadoff hitter," or something like that. RBI proponents who would say that, perhaps without realizing this, are therefore acknowledginghow important a player's place in the lineup is with regard to driving in runs. And despite this, I'm guessing there had to be a point where Bob Horner, say, was considered by many people to be a better hitter than Rickey Henderson, because Horner drove in more runs.

And that would've been ridiculous.

It's the same stuff we hear about Barry Bonds. For the last two years, Jeff Kent has been talked up as the Giants' most valuable player based solely on higher RBI counts than Bonds. Last year, for the most part, Bonds batted behind two guys who didn't reach base much, Darryl Hamilton and Jose Vizcaino; Kent batted behind these two guys, plus one guy who did reach base all the time, Barry Bonds -- and yet Kent was the MVP because he drove in more runs? Gee, where'd all those opportunities come from? (It wasn't quite the same this year; Hamilton did a much better job reaching base, and Bill Mueller, a high OBP player, batted behind him. Kent deserves a lot of credit for all those runs he drove in, certainly (especially because he missed nearly a month), but he still had an advantage Bonds didn't have: getting to bat with Bonds on base ahead of him all the time.)

Even if I were able to present this argument in perfect clarity, however, it'd still largely dismissed. Too many folks just are not ready to entertain notions that aren't given to them by broadcasters and newspaper writers -- who themselves keep putting forth their outdated and just-plain-wrong ideas because that's how it's always been done. And know what? The players, coaches, managers, and front-office people don't know much better. They just think they do, because they're in the business. I've always contended that the argument "You can't know better because you're not a Baseball Insider" is tantamount to saying that an opinion on a meal is worthless if you're not a trained chef.

Neyer concludes:

Sosa is the MVP for three reasons. One, he had a great season. Two, he had the good fortune to play for a team that was slightly better than McGwire's team. And three, he is apparently a nice guy who never said anything nasty about newspaper writers.

If you use your head instead of your heart, it's hard to escape the conclusion that Mark McGwire was not only the "best" player in 1998, but also the most "valuable" one.

Someday people will look back at this one and say, "Huh?"


Other people have had stuff to say in the last week, you know. These include Brian I., Richard, Billy, Erik, Seth, Grant, and Anson.


Baseball's Powers-That-Be are working on figuring out what to do about the playoff format, especially with regard to the Division Series. In 1997 it was ridiculous that the wild-card team -- in this case, the Florida Marlins -- got to play two home games right away against a division winner -- in this case, the San Francisco Giants. So they changed that so that the first two games (and the fifth, if necessary) would be at the home park of the division winner. Now, says Brian I., an article in the San Francisco Chronicle says that the general managers couldn't decide whether or not to seed the wild card as an automatic number-four, or rank teams strictly according to their records. The article implies the matter will be further discussed at next month's meetings in Nashville.

"I've come to accept the inclusion of a wild-card team in the playoffs," says Brian. "With four teams from each league making the playoffs, you don't want a situation like in 1993, where the second-best team in the league would be excluded. But let's have the distinction of winning a division still meaning something! If they're going to seed all teams according to record, then why bother breaking down the leagues into divisions in the first place? They might as well just have one 16- or 14-team division, and throw the top four teams into the playoffs. I can't believe this was even a matter of discussion."

"I think this is a real threat," Richard says. "Why? Because it would be stupid to the Nth degree to give a wild card priority seeding over a division winner, which probably means most of the deep thinkers now running baseball support it.

"And it will be adopted, just in time to give the Eastern-Division-based wild-card team the home field advantage over the Western Division Giants yet again. Of course, right after that happens, the rule will be changed for the following year.

"Why can't they just leave well enough alone? Or, rather, just get it over with once and for all and simply dictate that the network gets to choose the two teams in the World Series and eliminate all of that 'chance' that deprives 'the fans' the Yankees-Dodgers matchup that 'the fans' (read, the TV execs) really want every year."

"The thing is, without divisions, fewer teams are in a playoff race," says Billy. "Major League Baseball seems convinced -- and maybe they're right -- that playoff races keep people interested. I don't know where the happy medium is between that outlook and the obligation to ensure that the four best teams make the playoffs."

I still feel that a 16-team league should have four divisions of four teams each -- though it's been pointed out to me that this almost certainly would increase the chances of a sub-.500 team making the postseason, which would be awful (and which would've happened in 1994, had there been a postseason).

As Billy points out, the way things are now, you get more pennant races. This leads to more fan enthusiasm, ergo better attendance, more money for the baseball guys, etc. But is it really better? Hard to say. I mean, I was certainly involved with the wild-card race, because I wanted my team in the playoffs. In, say, a two-division league, well, the Giants would be an also-ran, and the race would've been over in July. That would've sucked. I can only imagine how boring it must've been for baseball fans before divisional play.

So yes, it's more exciting now, but there's still something distasteful about second-place teams -- even the Giants -- going to the postseason.


The Giants really haven't done much since the Cubs dropped the hammer on them at the end of September.

"I'm bored," says Richard.

My suggestion: "Well, then, you might consider posting inane messages about Barry Bonds under a pseudonym. I don't see how this can relieve your boredom, but it would be different. Well, different for you, I mean...."

"This has been a dud of an offseason so far," he says. "No interesting moves by the Giants (heck, they had to increase their payroll just to keep some of their free agents in place). No really interesting free agent signings by any other teams yet. No knock-your-socks-off trades yet (well, the Boone-for-Neagle trade probably knocked Braves' fans socks off along with some assorted body parts, but it didn't overwhelm me as a Giants fan).

"In fact, the only thing I can see happening so far is a higher than usual collection of idiot trolls in the Giants newsgroup. Come on, Sabean, it's time to mix it up. If you are going to do something great, the time is now."

As the ancient haiku goes:

Be careful what you
Wish for -- you might get it blah
Blah blah blah blah blah.

"If you are going to deal us some agony," Richard continues, undeterred by my interruption, "let's get it over with. A nation of bored Giant fans turn their lonely eyes to you. With trepidation, of course."

WHACK! "Thank you, sir! May I have another?" WHACK! "Thank you, sir! May I have another?" WHACK! "Thank you, sir! May I have another?" WHACK! "Thank you, sir! May I have another?" WHACK! "Thank you, sir! May I have another?" WHACK! "Thank you, sir! I'm losing consciousness now!" WHACK! "Thank you, sir! I... dlald...."

Richard offers the following, "older" haiku:

No matter what, with
The Giants, the result will suck --
Just get it over with

Fine, but... six syllables in that last line, there. Richard forgot to do what everybody does when they compose a haiku: count the syllables on your fingers as they go....

"How 'bout, 'Just do it now. Sigh,'" says Erik.

(Admit it, Erik: You just counted on your fingers, didn't you?)

"This pisses me off," he says, "because I worked on this for about five minutes and had it right, then, at the last minute, I re-added the word 'Just' without thinking. Oh, well; haikus are not my true voice, anyway."

That may be, but I think the key here is that they're just not that fun....

Or are they?

When I worked on a computer magazine years ago, a reader submitted a haiku-writing program. Very silly. (Hope he's not reading this.) What I most remember about it is that it would take a really long time to generate something that made no sense, and would attribute the effort to "Retu Pmoc," which (a) is "Comp Uter" backwards, and (b) I guess might have been the programmer's best effort at simulating the name of a fake Japanese poet. Or maybe it was just over my head.

"I had not tried to write haikus for many years (indeed, probably not since junior high, when it was far from voluntary), and so the effort I put out [on the above offering] struck a chord in me," Richard says.

Seems only worthwhile for comedic value, really. "It strikes me that the haiku, which is after all a kind of understated literary art form, is a perfect vehicle for discussion of the Giants, a franchise with a history of understated performances. So, here are a few weak efforts. I'm curious if anyone can turn this into a grin generating exercise or if, as Gregg says, it's true that haikus just aren't that fun."

Rocus.

Sorry. Typed that wrong. Meant "Focus," rather than "Focus" in Scooby-Doo-speak.

Richard offers:

Lazy fly to right
Glenallen Hill loses it
Two unearned runs score

EEEEEE! replay.

Please, just one more out
Here comes Alvin Morman. NO!
Another home run

I'm convinced Richard does this stuff just to get into EEEEEE! C'mon, Richard, admit it. And you count on your fingers while writing it. Right? Am I right?

Perfect for left field
And yet criticized by all
What must Barry do?

Blond and good looking,
J.T. can't hit his way out
Of a paper bag

Wait, now. That's just plain damned unfair. I'm pretty sure Jate's hair color is what you'd call brown.

Lou Seal, oh my
That is one goofy mascot
Bring back Crazy Crab

It would be cool if these things could flash on the JumboTron during games. Anyone know how to hack in?

Brian Sabean
I could rag on you all day
What good would it do?

The war's lost anyway, but Richard's definitely winning the battle.

3Comdlestick Park
I will miss you like a cyst
That I had removed

Why do we do this?
We're Giants fans, that's our job
Sure doesn't pay well

Richard's doing to me what Eddie Valiant did to the weasels in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

By the way, he deserves congratulations for being recognized in a writing contest held by The WELL. Granted, some Philistine didn't recognize greatness when he saw it, and gave Richard an honorable mention instead of the grand prize. What was Richard's entry? Why, "I'm a Giants Fan -- That's My Job." So, in part, anyway, EEEEEE! is an award winner. Which, I guess, means that I deserve congratulations, too. Woo-hoo!

"On one hand," Richard says, "I think that it is cool that we published something that "won" an honorable mention in a reasonably cool contest. On the other hand, I have no idea what this meant. Was this a real honorable mention, or just a 'thanks for participating' honorable mention?"

By the way, Richard says, "There were four categories, and I entered the one for fiction."

But... but... it's nonfiction. Except for the part about the narrator and the luxury box stuff, etc.... The Giants part is real, anyway.


Again, the Giants haven't done much. Recently, however, they purchased the contracts of pitcher Robbie Crabtree, first baseman Damon Minor, and catcher Yorvit Torrealba, and added them to the 40-man roster.

I don't know if it means anything yet. Crabtree, from the discussions here, seems to be the one with the best chance at a future, though Minor has shown some pop. Torrealba, well, I really don't know except to say that I'm proud to support a team that leads the majors in players on its 40-man roster named Yorvit.

"Isn't it amazing," says Seth, "that one organization can boast of having catchers named Yorvit Torrealba and Giuseppe Chiaramonte? Imagine the craziness if they ended up being the two catchers on the major league roster someday. Perhaps it'd be a sign of the impending apocalypse."

Grant offers this scenario:

Murdoch: Did you read this? Is this true?

Underling: Well, I suppose so....

Murdoch: Something better be done about this, and soon.

Next day's LA Times headlines: "Dodgers Sign Yorvit Moontrousers to 8 Yr. Deal!"

"Your statement might have been beneficial for the Giants," Grant says. "That is, until Mr. Moontrousers posts a 1.300 OPS. Thanks for nothing, Gregg.

"Everything Crabtree shown in A, AA, and the Arizona Fall League shows that (a) he has Madduxian control, (b) he has the ability to average more than nine strikeouts per nine innings pitched, and (c) he has been tough to hit in the minors."

"Madduxian control?" says Anson. "Wow, that's some praise! And seems like people finally like something that Sabean did. Prospects, not 'proven major leaguers.' Right?"

"He'll also be 25 on opening day, according to the Giants' official site," says Grant. "This is younger than I'd heard. He's doing well in the AFL (3.00, 32 strikeouts, 4 walks in 25 or so innings), and am pretty interested to see if makes the bullpen out of Scottsdale."

Well, I'm game. Wouldn't be amazing to bring up a home-grown pitcher who's actually good? Assuming he's home-grown, that is. Also, I'm starting to wonder about the age thing in the sense that yeah, at 25, you'd think he'd at least have earned a cup of coffee, but aren't teams leaving guys down a bit longer now? (You know, since they've got less competent guys that they're locked into multiyear deals with....)

What about Minor?

"He's pooping out in the Maryland League as we speak, but he has shown a little promise," says Grant. Guessing I'd prefer Ryan. The Giants have since added infielder Jay Canizaro to their roster -- the guy who, it seemed at the time, was supposed to be Robby Thompson's heir apparent, and who had since fallen from grace, or so we thought.

I don't know how good this new development is.


November... Still Coping -- Part 5

Copyright ©1998 by Gregg Pearlman

Last updated 11/23/98
Gregg Pearlman, gregg@EEEEEEgp.com

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