Sweet Things From Boston, So Young and Willing 

Somewhere in Rancho Mirage, Joe Morgan is wearing Sansabelt slacks, teeing up a long fairway shot, and chuckling to himself: "Adios, goddamn college boy punk ass Moneyball bitches." Thwack!

Yes, Joe is feeling good today. Two of baseball's boy brainiacs are gone. First Paul DePodesta was canned by the Dodgers, now Theo Epstein has walked away from the Red Sox after an acrimonious contract extension negotiation with team president Larry Lucchino.

Lucchino seems to be the anti-Steve Jobs. Jobs is famous for emanating a "reality distortion field" that makes everyone gasp at his ideas and bow down before his shiny little products. Lucchino seems to emanate a bad smell that makes everyone wrinkle their nose and say, "Who is this putz?"

Epstein was his protege. Despite a 10-year relationship and the glory of bringing a World Series title to Boston, the two couldn't sit down and figure things out. As La Comay likes to say, "¡Qué bochinche!"

The Giants immediately squelched any discussion of New England native Brian Sabean jumping ship to run the Red Sox. Sabean has a weird secret contract, the length and payment of which the Giants refuse to divulge. But he's certainly around through 2006, if not longer. Perhaps more attractive to Sabean than a compliant ownership team and a nice view of the bay from his luxury suite is the looming end to the big headache with bulging biceps known as Barry Bonds. Bonds will be gone after this year, although his $5 million a year in salary deferments will be around 'til 2010 or so.

Before you scream and shout that Bonds, player of his generation, Homerun Jesus, Superman, is irreplaceable, please file under: Alex Rodriguez and Texas Rangers. No, the Giants don't have a stable of young sluggers waiting in the wings, but if Sabean can build a dominant pitching staff based on the Giants' deep farm talent, he may not need too many big bats. (File under: 2005 Chicago White Sox.)

A bigger question is whether Sabean wants to hang around if attendance in the post-Barry era falls off. He doesn't have to worry about me; unless I end up homeless, I'll continue to shovel my hard-earned money down the Giants' corporate maw for season tickets. But plenty others will balk if there's no nameplate superstar and/or a winning team on the field.

We may grumble about the Magowan Administration, but, uh, why? Driving off Dusty Baker? Please. Dusty was no saint and no miracle worker. I was sad to see him go, but life moves on. Not spending $150 million a year on payroll? I thought budgetary restraint was a virtue. Letting the BALCO thing fester in the clubhouse? We'll see how it plays out. Giving campaign money to Bush? I'll hold my nose.

Perhaps you prefer Tom Hicks or Peter Angelos? How about Frank McCourt, who actually said this during his press briefing after he fired DePodesta:

"We want Dodgers here, we want players that play like Dodgers, and so forth."

Man, that should get Dodger fans, you know, the ones who like the Dodgers, fired up, and whatnot.

Steve Sax, he had psychological throwing problems, but they were Dodger problems. Steve Howe, he may have been in love with Snow White, but he never stopped Thinking Blue. Steve Garvey was porking women who were not his wife, but man, what a Dodger!

From the DePodesta debacle also comes the news that Giants' bench coach Ron Wotus will not make the short list of managerial candidates to replace Jim Tracy. Whew. As I wrote a while back, I don't know if Wotus should be the next Giants' manager, but he certainly gets a lot of praise from smart people (like, well, Paul DePodesta), and hopefully the Giants will at least consider him to be Felipe Alou's successor in the not-too-distant future.

Someone should ask Wotus what he thinks of on-base percentage.

Now that smartypantses DePo and Epstein are gone, we'll be keeping an eye on Toronto's J.P. Ricciardi, Cleveland's Mark Shapiro, and of course King Moneyball himself, Billy Beane. None have presided over flaming 25-man pileups or been subject to incurable regional alienation and angst.

But the old-school backlash has begun. Scott Podsednik rules the universe. Darin Erstad is a valuable asset in the clubhouse. Chicks dig sacrifice bunts. Joe Morgan is sipping a scotch at the 19th hole and smiling.


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