Friday, February 12, 2010

I won't get fooled again!

Watching Pete Townshend try to avoid dislocating his shoulder during Super Bowl halftime, I was struck by a thought: are the same people choosing the acts at this fiasco responsible for player acquisition for the Giants?

The Who were great once but are hardly relevant anymore. Anyone under age 30 has no idea what a pinball is, let alone how one might become a wizard at such. I had visions of some 15-year-old asking “Who is that?” and the entire conversation devolving into an Abbott and Costello routine.

I feel much the same way about the newest Giants. Who are these guys, in what millennium were they considered “A” listers, and, finally, what was the friggin’ point?

A year ago I was hopeful the Giants were turning the corner when they parted company with Omar Vizquel. Hey, Omar’s a sure Hall of Famer but not the right fit for a team that needed to get younger. Of course, the Giants screwed that up when they started grading on a curve. Yes, Edgar Renteria is younger, but that’s like saying you’ve begun a youth movement because you finally put up the Christie Brinkley poster to replace Mae West. An improvement? Yes, but that change would have made more sense in 1980.

The Giants made claims about getting younger. There are those who comment on this blog who still think they mean it. No, really! They bought it!

The return of Bengie Molina means Buster Posey likely goes to Fresno while the Giants head into the regular season with two backstops who fondly remember disco. In an age of the Wii and PS3, Mark DeRosa (age 35) and Aubrey Huff (33) recall being enthralled by the technological wonder that was Pong. I’m virtually certain the front office has its collective eye on someone who has more than a passing recollection of where he was when Kennedy was shot.

I find it hard to believe that anyone sat back last October and objectively said DeRosa and Huff would be the key to winning, especially if they brought back Molina (35) and Gimpy Sanchez (the baby of the group at 32).

Yeah, that’s the recipe for a winner. It makes me wonder if mandatory drug testing shouldn’t be extended to the front office. At least the guys they were replacing were, well, replaceable. The average fan would be placated. After all, the Giants were doing something, even if that something equated to treading water. But then….

Byung-Hyun Kimm. Horacio Ramirez. Guillermo Mota. Todd Wellemeyer. Which of these idiots will you be talking about tomorrow (apologies to Keith Olbermann)? These are the guys who are supposed to help this team?

Kim hasn’t pitched in the bigs since he was serving up gopher balls in 2007. Ramirez is a find, he of the 1.68 WHIP and 5.96 ERA. Mota (3-4, 3.44 ERA last year) at least has a track record, although what must have been really impressive is that 14.54 ERA he posted against the Giants’ sluggers row (sarcasm dripping). What alcohol-induced hallucination fueled that move? What, they didn’t believe their own eyes on this one? I thought the idea was to add offense on OUR side.

I was already apoplectic about the Giants' chances in 2010 when along came Wellemeyer. To paraphrase Casey Stengel, he’s 31 and in a year he has a chance to be 32. His stat line for 2009 was a grand and glorious 7-10 in 28 appearances before his arm fell off and he spent the rest of the season alternating between the whirlpool and hypnotherapy. Maybe the idea is to turn him on to some practitioner of holistic hokum in the Castro and hope for the best.

The argument from the Pollyanna crowd is straightforward: these are non-roster invitees so what’s the harm? Well, since we're asking questions, riddle me this, Batman: “Why waste so much as a spring training bunk on any of these guys unless you’re already convinced you’ve got a hole to fill? This only makes sense if the Great Satan, uh, Sabean, believes that disaster will claim any or all of the following: Hinshaw (27), Martinez (26), Pucetas (25), Runzler (25) or Bumgarner (20).

For a decade we’ve been hearing how the Giants have a plethora of young arms ready to make this the dominant staff in the division. Heck, they were so deep that they could deal the number one (Alderson) and three (Barnes) prospects in the organization for a second baseman made of porcelain and spun sugar plus a first baseman that got 100 ABs before being handed bus ticket to Seattle. Now the survivors get to look over their shoulders at a bunch of retreads that are about as relevant as, well, The Who.

The kids are alright, but they have a right to be paranoid. This is the team that screamed about its young homegrown pitching while throwing megadollars at Barry Zito, Matt Morris, Armando Benitez, Emmitt Kelly, Bozo T. Clown, et al.; favoring middling talents like Matt Herges, Tyler Walker and Jim Brower; and dealing the Joe Nathans and Jeremy Accardos of the world for the glories of Shea Hillenbrand and LaTroy Hawkins.

Wow, that’s some track record.

Of course, Giants management also has reason to be paranoid. They saw such touted prospects as Hennessey, Foppert, Ainsworth and the like flame out spectacularly. Granted, they did strike gold with those Nathan and Aardsma kids —oh wait, they’re succeeding for someone else. Yes, Brian, be afraid. Be very afraid. Of yourself.

“Stop me or I might GM again!” There has to be some 12-step program for guys like this. Exactly how much damage are they going to be allowed to do, how many colossal foul-ups will be permitted, before the Giants change both management and direction?

Coming full circle, the last seven Super Bowl halftimes have included just one act that wasn’t a full-fledged AARP member at showtime, and that was Prince when he was 48. The rest of the Polygrip Brigade left me begging for Janet Jackson to come back and whip one out just to relieve the tedium. That’s the way it is with the Giants. God, I never thought I’d miss Kevin Correia.

I’ve gone from underwhelmed to disappointed to absolutely furious with the Giants’ offseason moves. Say it with me: “There is no plan.” There can’t be. To say that there is a grand scheme for on-field success is to believe that someone in charge actually thinks these rejects from the Baseball Follies are the keys to a title.

“Hey, Abbott! Who’s on first?”
“Aubrey Huff.”
“Who cares?”

This is the "future" of the Giants? Somewhere right now, Todd Linden is laughing his ass off.

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