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4.24.2004

Mess With the Bull, You Get the Neifi 

In the midst of this grim period, one needs some comic relief. Seeing how he can't contribute with the bat, Neifi Perez figures he'll help cheer Giants' fans up with his sparkling, mischievous wit. (In the Dominican Republic, he's known as "Señor Seinfeld.")

Discussing his decision to bat right-handed exclusively, Neifi told the Chronicle:

"I just have to make the adjustment, but don't hang a curveball. If you hang a curveball, you're going to pay."

**

Every blogger has a pet peeve, some topic or trope that rankles him (or her) out of proportion. Mine is the repeated assertion by the Giants' front office and members of the media that it doesn't matter who hits behind Bonds, or where Bonds hits, because he'll get walked no matter what.

Like the proverbial elephant in the room, no one follows the simple logic that if Barry is going to get walked no matter what, the Giants need someone behind him who will hit the ball out of the park. Plain and simple. OUT...OF...THE...PARK.

If the opposition is going to give you free baserunners, maximize your chances of those baserunners scoring, not with a line-drive, gap-to-gap, warning-track-power guy who might get Barry to third and leave the RBI opportunity to the next guy in the lineup. Do it with a home run hitter. That is the end-all and be-all of this discussion. Bruce Jenkins hints at it but as usual can't hit the mark in today's edition of three-dot faux-crustiness:

As frustrating as it was to watch Barry Bonds repeatedly standing in the on-deck circle as the Giants made their last out, manager Felipe Alou is right: Give Bonds a crucial at-bat in the late innings, and he's intentionally walked. He needs to bat fourth because the Giants have no one else even remotely qualified for the job, and because Bonds -- who makes every key decision when it comes to his own status -- won't have it any other way...

Bruce, the Giants don't have anyone remotely qualified to bat ANYWHERE at this point, save for Durham and Grissom. Batting Bonds third, fourth or twice an inning won't help until someone comes along who hits behind him and hits the ball out of the park. Even if Alfonzo or Pierzynski get hot behind Bonds, their hits won't drive Bonds in most of the time unless they get one all the way to the wall in a cavernous park.

I can hear the retort from the front office. "Don't you think we know this? Don't you think we've tried, within our budgetary means, to get the best hitters possible?"

My answer is no, I don't think you have. You've raised my season ticket prices every year anyway--might as well raise them a little bit more and pay for a big bat behind Barry. What's the alternative? A mediocre team and a notoriously fickle fan base, smelling blood in the water, losing interest. Attendance, as it did vs. San Diego this week, starts to fray around the edges. (Did they top 35,000 once?) Soon the sellouts come only during Dodgers series, A's series, and the occasional Cubs visit.

If Paul DePodesta turns the dysfunctional Dodgers around this year (trading for Milton Bradley was an excellent start), you're going to start seeing calls for Magowan to reevaluate his front office strategy and look for someone a little more stat-savvy to run the show.

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