April 28th, 2008 13:54 EST
Z as in Zito-- and Zero Wins!
Peter A. Magowan, managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants, knows nearly everything there is to know about business, but next to nothing about judging baseball talent. Still, Magowan's commitment to bringing a baseball world championship to The City is commendable.
In his zeal to honor San Francisco with a World Series winner, Mr. Magowan has taken some extraordinary measures, based on advice received from General Manager Brian Sabean and other "baseball people" in his organization.
For example, in December 2006, the Giants gave left-handed pitcher Barry Zito the keys to the corporate coffers via a guaranteed contract reportedly worth $126 million dollars, or roughly $18 million a year.
At the time, Zito was a highly-touted Cy Young award winner and three-time All Star. In addition, Zito last pitched for the Oakland Athletics, cross-bay rivals of the Giants, so signing him would be a PR coup for the Giants.
Pitchers, especially southpaws (left-handed), are highly coveted commodities in baseball. Magowan and his minions no doubt calculated that Zito, a southpaw well known for his idiosyncrasies and offbeat personality, could lead the Giants to the winner's circle after 49 years of wretched failure in San Francisco.
Overall, the Giants (both New York and San Francisco) have not supped from the cup of winner's champagne for 54 years, going back to the club's pummeling of the Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series.
The last time the baseball Giants won a world championship, Dwight Eisenhower was President of the United States, the nation of Israel was six years old, black baseball players had been around for seven years, gasoline was a dime a gallon AND station attendants filled your tank, checked your oil, washed your windshield and gave you booty for patronizing their business.
When Giants fans last celebrated being No. 1, Hillary Clinton was ten years old, the birth of Barack Obama was still seven years in the future and John McCain was already too old to be president!
In other words, the San Francisco Giants were desperate for World Series success, especially in light of Barry Bonds advancing age, gimpy knees, rumored culpability with regard to steroids and possible indictment by a federal grand jury.
Magowan apparently believed that Barry Zito could be the missing link in the San Francisco Giants frenzied, never-ending search for World Series gold. Thus, Zito was signed to the largest contract awarded to a pitcher in the history of baseball.
2007 was a major disappointment for the Giants and especially for Barry Zito. Zito got off to a very poor start, pitched better near the end of the season and ended with a record of 11-13, which means that his presence cost the Giants two games, net.
Because Zito pitched so well late in 2007, the Giants and their fans were looking forward to a strong 2008 from the affable hurler who, above all else, is a fine and decent human being.
Unfortunately, 2008 has not been kind to Barry Zito. His latest implosion came on April 27 in San Francisco where he surrendered eight earned runs in three innings, and saw his record fall to 0-6.
In other words, since 2007, the net effect of having Barry Zito on the mound has cost the San Francisco Giants eight losses and roughly $24 million dollars.
Although I have always been a Dodger fan, I have decided to offer my services to the Giants and have FedEx’d the following letter to Peter Magowan:
"Dear Mr. Magowan,
I know that you are highly distressed by the 0-6 start that Barry Zito has brought to the San Francisco Giants this year. Combined with his performance in 2007, Barry has brought a net loss of eight games to the Giants, at roughly a cost of $3 million per loss.
Although I am a late-50s-something, slightly plump, LA Dodger fan who has not thrown a baseball in 40 years, I know that I can provide immense help to your organization.
Specifically, I am willing to assume Barry Zito's spot in your pitching rotation, effective immediately. In return for the many loses I will surely bring to your club, all I seek is a seat in the dugout and Vince Scully's autograph.
Assuming I take Barry's place in 20 games between now and the end of the season, I could save the San Francisco Giants around $60 million dollars.
Before tax, that is.
Because I anticipate an affirmative reply, I provide herewith my uniform measurements:
Waist: 48 and growing
Pant Length: 28
Jersey: Extra, Extra large
Shoes: 8. No spikes, please
By the way, my attorney has told me that your failure to respond favorably to this proposal may involve age and LA Dodger fan discrimination, for which considerable financial redress may be available.
Waiting for your Black and Orange uniform to arrive, I remain respectfully yours,
San Jose, Ca"