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10.04.2004

Spare Me Over For Another Year 

Back in March and April, pundits were saying 88 wins might be good enough to win the division. It took 93. San Diego, in third place, won 87. In the end the division was a little better than the world expected...unless it was September and the team had purple and gray pinstriped uniforms that deserve to be burned in effigy.

Yes, Colorado pulled a big-time roll-over, and I heard Ned Colletti on the radio after Friday night's huge win hinting that the Giants would not forget the way Clint Hurdle played lineups full of rookies against the Dodgers. Colletti also specifically noted how odd it was that Hurdle left Shawn Fucking Chacon in too long that fateful night against LA. I had had a couple extra-large martinis chez Elbo, but I could swear I heard Colletti say, "He'll get his."

But no matter. The Giants blew their own fair share, including of course Saturday's icepick through the heart. I listened as I lay in Speedway Meadows, fog and bluegrass rolling over me unnoticed. How apt that my day was capped by Dr. Ralph Stanley doing "O! Death" in his timeless Virginia warble. (I always liked the Camper Van Beethoven version better.)

He hobbles my feet so I can't walk/
Locks my jaw so I can't talk.

Wayne Franklin with the season on the line? Spare me over for another year.

Other than the Franklins of Wayne being put in a position he never should have been in, I have little remorse. The loss was what it was -- shaky bullpen and bad defense (remember Grip dropped an easy fly ball in the 4th that could have led to disaster if Jim Tracy hadn't pulled a Dusty2000 and let Wilson Alvarez hit). Tomko earned his option year, in my opinion. Let's hope his sports shrink gives Brett the secret to pitching well before August 1. Hermanson gave it the college try.

In a way, this season comes down to the Astros getting Beltran and the Dodgers getting Finley, the two huge catalysts of those teams down the stretch. The Giants got...well, they didn't need another bat, it turns out. Somehow, like a cook who follows no recipe and comes out with the ugliest-looking but tastiest cake in the neighborhood, Brian Sabean cobbled together a high-octane offense. This team was an arm or two short in the bullpen, basically. Urbina for Matt Cain sure looks good right about now.

Question: did the 91 wins and photo-finish justify Sabean's strategy of piecing together a team more or less on the cheap, or did the close finish expose his strategy as a cynical attempt to be just good enough to keep fans interested?

**

A's Attendance Contest: The final count for the weekend was 122,000. The winner is Richard, who seems to be an Angels fan. (BrianF actually got a few thousand closer, but he hedged his bets with two different guesses. Sorry, BF.)

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