The Taming of the Crowd

It takes a lot to satisfy Giants' fans, and this organization has done a good job with that in the past few seasons, but now that Vladimir Guererro is off the shelves and Greg Maddux is closing in on deals everywhere but San Francisco, what is left for Giants' fans to look forward to? There is the one, Barry Bonds... But will he be enough to lead the Giants back to the familiar place known as October Baseball?

Brian Sabean and company sure did a good job this offseason. They signed three mediocre outfielders to replace the hole in right field, one who was inked for a Neifi-like contract (Too much money for too little production, although that's still to be determined), hoping to mix them in a magical pot to get one good right fielder as their end result. They re-signed an aging Gold Glover for first base, who can be out-run by my pet turtle. They got rid of one of the most productive shortstops in the game and replaced him with a guy who can't hit for the life of him. They said farewell to a great set-up men, now part- time closer, because they didn't think he'd sign to be another team's set-up man. Hello, Philadelphia.

And yet, this organization still insists on saying that this Giants' team, as of today, is as good, or even better, than the team last season. I'll pause for laughter.

They're either putting a lot of spin into this situation so season ticket sells will raise, which they have, or they truly think that no matter what this organization does in the offseason, the Giants will make the playoffs, and Brian Sabean will get the GM of the Year Award.

It doesn't matter what their reasoning is. All I know is that the ignorant fans aren't questioning what this organization is doing in the front office. All I know is that the smarter fans want answers, and all I know is that this organization, as it has in the past, will continue to tell us not to worry about anything. Because if we worry, we become their problem.

It'll take more than that to satisfy this once and usual optimistic writer and fan. I don't scramble for money in the offseason in hopes of scoring a few tickets to Pac Bell Park (never going to call it SBC) to watch Neifi Perez slap bunt his way to the dugout or to watch Pedro Feliz go 0-3 with three strikeouts. What else does this organization want us fans to do? I have to break an arm and a leg to attend games, and I practically have to give up an organ to eat there, why am I not getting any results?

The park is beautiful, and if you tell me that this ballclub is still spending most of its money to pay off the park, I'd believe you... But this is ridiculous. Selling out year after year with lines and lines of people waiting for garlic fries should not equal to a frugal offseason four years after the park was built.

And Mr. Sabean also stated that the Anaheim Angels of 2002 and the Florida Marlins of 2003 won it all with a small payroll. I'm sure your pride didn't come into this at all, Mr. Sabean. I'm sure you're not pissed about the fact that these two teams eliminated your team from the playoffs and won it all in the past two years.

I know it's painful to mention 2002 and 2003, it's like a stab to my heart, but it must be mentioned... Because Mr. Sabean thinks it's necessary to compare our team to the teams we lost to. It's necessary to use these teams as models in making your own team. So, if he thinks that having a team that wins it all one year, then goes into a slump for the next few years is worth it, then go for it. I don't know about you, but I enjoy to watch a competitive team on the field every season.

There's no comparing last offseason to this offseason. Last offseason we signed Ray Durham and Edgardo Alfonzo, two impact players who are considered as good, quality starters at their respective positions. What's gone on this offseason? A little of this, and a little of that. Mostly a load of rubbish.

As bad as Jose Cruz, Jr. was offensively, he was a stud in right field. A freaking stud. He was a one man highlight reel, and we won't get any of that out of Jeffrey Hammonds, Michael Tucker, or Dustan Mohr... Even if we put all three of them into a magical mixing pot. We'll get the same production offensively, but we lose out on the defense. End result: Just a tad below equal.

Can somebody tell me how the Giants couldn't afford to re-sign Rich Aurilia for $3.5 million when Tucker is signed for just about the same amount? I'm still bitter, and I will be for a very long time. It isn't fair, but I, like the next fan, understand that baseball nowadays is all about business, not the game. It breaks my heart. All we can hope for now is for Perez to obtain at least a .250 average. I'll pause again for laughter.

On my birthday, the Giants acquired A.J. Pierzynski. Not a bad move, but an unnecessary move. With Yorvit Torrealba ready to go, there was no need to give up Joe Nathan for another catcher, granted Pierzynski is an above average player, but we'll talk about this more after we see him try to hit in the non-lefty friendly ballpark.

Feliz is not a bad utility infielder, but to lose out on Andres Galarraga is a big loss for the Giants. For a guy who had the best numbers with runners in scoring position last season, the Giants sure let the Big Cat go in a hurry.

Robb Nen. Did you just have the same mixed feelings about this guy that I did when I wrote his name? With things being so wishy-washy with him, isn't it just a good idea to have a proven guy in your bullpen? Guess not. It's necessary to have too many catchers, but not necessary to have an extra proven closer who is an excellent set-up man in your bullpen in case your closer is done. I don't know about you, but hearing that Tim Worrell will be setting up for Billy Wagner scares the poop out of me. Tim Worrell setting up for Robb Nen? Too bad it ain't so anymore.

But you better believe it. Sabean and company did make one good/decent move this offseason. They signed Brett Tomko, and I'm sure many people wanted a certain Greg Maddux, but Tomko is a solid 4 or 5 starter, and the Giants signed him to a good deal with a decent contract. We already have Jason Schmidt, if he's healthy and back to his regular self, as our ace. Having Maddux on the staff sounds appealing for us and dangerous for other teams, but again, it's not necessary... At least not with the payroll we have. Granted, I do believe that Schmidt had his best year last season, but that's another story, another article, for another day.

And the playoffs? With a team like this, I'd say you can kiss it good- bye. However, the rest of the NL West doesn't seem so scary. In fact, they're not scary at all, except for maybe the San Diego Padres. The Padres, of all people, will be the Giants' biggest competition in the NL West next season. If they get past the Padres, they sure as heck won't make it past the first round in the playoffs. But, hey, anything's possible right? Look at the 2002 Angels and 2003 Marlins... The 2004 Giants will be just like them, right? Afterall, that's how we modeled our team this offseason. It's just that easy to win a world championship, but, hey, we wouldn't know anything about that, now, would we?

I do not want you to send hate mail to Brian Sabean or to this organization after you read this. That's the last thing I want you to do. I love this team as much, or more, than the next fan. I want so much to support them, and I want so much to have my faith in them again... But it'll take a lot more than a few encouraging words telling me how to feel about my team to get over Perez and Hammonds/Tucker/Mohr rounding up the end of our lineup.

Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at

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