‘Surplus’ of pitching for Giants
September 8, 2004
I don’t know if the Penny Pincher (a.k.a. San Francisco Giants managing general partner Peter Magowan) remembers making this statement.
But I sure remember it. And if the Penny Pincher remembers making the statement, he probably wants to forget it.
The Penny Pincher came to Incline Village a little more than a year ago to address Giants fans in the area. One statement he made then has distinctly stood out to me ever since and every time I watch the Giants pitching staff struggle (as the bullpen did again in blowing another game on Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies), I wished he had never made the statement.
“We’ve got a surplus of pitching,” the Penny Pincher declared. “We have them in excess.”
Maybe the Penny Pincher was just referring to the quantity of pitchers in the Giants organization and not to the quality of their arms. Somehow Giants manager Felipe Alou has been able to keep the Giants in the playoff race again with starting pitchers that can’t go past the fifth inning, a shaky bullpen that has trouble protecting a lead and a defense that’s almost as shaky.
The Penny Pincher has fallen into a false sense of security that he can win on a shoestring budget thanks to the Miracle Worker (a.k.a. Giants general manager Brian Sabean). It’s been amazing that the Giants have been a consistent winner over the last eight seasons since the Miracle Worker took charge with the budget he’s had.
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No other general manager other than the Miracle Worker has been able to consistently put a winning team on the field during that time with the shoestring budget he’s had to work with.
The Penny Pincher did say last year in Incline Village that he was willing to lose some money to win, but wouldn’t go overboard. The Penny Pincher also said at that time it was possible the Giants could go after a big-time free agent – after Barry Bonds retires.
So instead of having someone already in the fold to take the mantle from Bonds, we’re going to have to wait until after he retires, which by then, may be too late. So instead of going after players like Vlad Guerrero, the Miracle Worker instead has to continue to rely on servicebale players like Michael Tucker.
There’s no question that the Penny Pincher deserves a great deal of credit for SBC Park. But it’s always the same story with owners. Build me a new ballpark so I can make the necessary upgrades to keep my team competitive.
But SBC Park has also become a built-in excuse for the Penny Pincher not to make any serious upgrades in his team. Since the Penny Pincher and the Giants have to continue to pay off the financing of SBC Park, they claim they can’t afford any of the big-time free agents.
With all the revenue that SBC Park has been able to generate through attendance, advertising, concessions, etc., I find that hard to believe. But I’ll give the Penny Pincher the benefit of the doubt on not being able to sign big-time free agents.
But the Penny Pincher couldn’t spare a couple of extra million dollars to keep pitchers like Joe Nathan and Tim Worrell? Or even Felix Rodriguez? Oh that’s right, the Giants have that surplus in pitching, so those guys weren’t needed.
I’m sure the Giants would love to have Nathan as a closer right now. Thanks to Nathan, the Minnesota Twins are on their way to winning another division title. Without Nathan, the Giants are struggling to make the playoffs.
Even with their surplus, the Giants still claimed Douglas High graduate Shawn Estes off of waivers from Colorado in an attempt to make a trade for a starter who could actually go more than five innings. Even with the Giants’ surplus of pitching, Estes would look good right now. Sidney Ponson looks pretty good right now.
He was the pitcher the Giants were able to trade for last year in part because of their surplus of pitching, the Penny Pincher said.
Again the Penny Pincher deserves a great deal of credit for SBC Park and for keeping the Giants in San Francisco in the first place. Thanks to his group’s purchase of the club, the Penny Pincher prevented the Giants from going to St. Petersburg, Fla. in 1993, which was all but a done deal.
Thanks to the Penny Pincher, he saved me from rooting for the St. Petersburg Giants. Actually, thanks to the Penny Pincher, he saved me from half-heartedly rooting for the Oakland A’s since there’s no way I would have ever rooted for the St. Petersburg Giants.
But Major League Baseball in Florida was inevitable, which brings me to another statement that Magowan made last year in Incline Village that I’m sure he would regret if he remembered it. He also said that baseball in Florida was in shambles.
The Florida Marlins were in such disarray that they went on to win the World Series in six games over the New York Yankees.
So it appears as long as the Penny Pincher is in charge, the Giants will continue to need the Miracle Worker. And that surplus of pitching.
Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor. Contact him at email@example.com or 881-1214.