I'm Sorry. So Sorry. 

My favorite supermarket stockboy sent me a love letter last night. It arrived late in the evening, like all heartfelt love letters do, and with resoluteness and seriousness of purpose it spelled out all the reasons I should love him, too.

I, and thousands of other Giant season-ticket holders, that is. Apparently the collective We -- we who disgorge our wallets to feed our nonsensical childish amusement in watching grown men cavort in tight french-vanilla polyester when there are a multitude of entertainment alternatives begging for our dollars -- have finally grown restless.

In an odd move, Peter Magowan feels compelled to explain the Barry Bonds news to us. (For those who don't feel like clicking through, a summary of the deal awaits you at the end of this post.)

While keeping to a measured tone, for successful businessmen know no other way even in the throes of passion, P-Mag apologizes for -- sorry, explains -- the Giants' decision to re-sign Bonds despite the amphetamine test and the Sweeney-under-a-bus reportage. It seems the latest Bonds imbroglios were final straws for many diehard Giant fans:

"I understand that this has been a particularly controversial and difficult decision and that there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue. I received letters, emails, phone calls and had many conversations with many of our season ticket holders during our Fanfest. I truly appreciate your passion for the Giants as we work through these complex issues. At the end of the day, I believe we have put together an exciting team for the coming season."

Oh, and by the way:

"You may also be interested to know that even with the signing of the 42-year-old Bonds, the average age of the 2007 Giants will be 30.7 years versus 32.7 in 2006. So we have gotten younger and presumably healthier as we stated we would try to do when the 2006 season ended."

And look, we're still a baseball team, just like we promised! None of that hockey or cricket or jai-alai or, G_d forbid, Moneyball that other teams try to pass off as America's Past Pastime.

The Magowan letter also cites the "allegations against Barry" in the NY Daily News article, but it doesn't mention amphetamines or Mark Sweeney specifically. "All of the facts have not been accurately portrayed." Which facts, we don't know, but Magowan writes that "clubhouse chemistry" (no pun intended, we'll assume) won't be affected.

It's a fascinating document, full of forthrightness up to a point and, beyond that point, total corporate obfuscation. It stops well short of naked apology, but with obvious self-interest it pleads the Giants case in a context intended to placate long-term fans ("signing Barry to a one-year contract helped us pursue a long-term strategy toward getting the club back on track").

You may not like it, dear fans, but it's for your own good.

It also uses, word-for-word, a paragraph of text that was attributed to Brian Sabean in the official press release announcing the deal. If you had one shred of hope that this type of exercise wasn't highly vetted, processed and sterilized, please shred it. This doesn't mean such banalities aren't worth reading. On the contrary, like Kremlin tea leaves and Alan Greenspan's koans, it's always instructive to parse shades of non-meaning. The Giants didn't have to say anything, and that they did tells us a lot about the fan reaction in recent weeks.

Your 2007 San Francisco Giants: Savor the Grim Inevitability!

If you had to boil all this down to a couple sentences, it would be: "Sorry about this, but we really had no choice. Barry's here for one more year, but you, dear season ticket holder, are here forever. Right?"


Terms of the deal: One year, $15.8 million base salary, $5.8 M deferred until 2008. (I've recorded his '07 salary as $10 M on my roster list to the right.) $4.2 M in incentives deferred beyond 2008. No entourage on team payroll or allowed on the premises. If other provisions were included in the contract, they weren't revealed yesterday.


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