There are three types of baseball fans. Those who completely ignore sabermetrics, those who base their entire set of baseball opinions on sabermetrics, and those who decide who’s good based partly on advanced metrics and partly on what their eyes tell them when watching the games.
I count myself firmly in the last category, which is why I didn’t cry when the Giants gave Fred Lewis away to Toronto for what roughly amounts to half of Tim Flannery’s salary. UZR told us Lewis had incredible range. Our eyes told us Lewis was prone to taking terrible jumps and dropping pop flies in the most important of situations. The stats told us Lewis had the best plate discipline of any Giants outfielder. Our eyes told us that Lewis accumulated most of his walks and extra-base hits in meaningless situations, and perfected the art of taking third strikes.
The sabermetrics-addicted masses would roast me on the spit for making sweeping generalizations based on actually watching the game, and can point to Lewis becoming a doubles machine after joining the Jays. But this weekend showed in many ways why Lewis will never be a winning player, regardless of the metrics or how good he looks in Oakleys.
Dropped fly balls and a nondescript offensive performance against one’s former team can be forgiven. But attacking fans on Facebook and Twitter, including calling someone a bundle of sticks? That, and Kevin Frandsen’s subsequent comments show two players who, while probably underutilized as Giants, have the maturity and mental fortitude of a “My Sweet 16″ protagonist. And I forgot to even mention Franny’s comments on KNBR last week, in which he (again) complained about the fans who complained that he talked too much. More on Lewis’ tantrum and Frandsen’s “I got your back, bro,” here.
Sure, Lewis was too talented to be given away for the price of a Range Rover, but the Giants already have a glut of decent outfielders, including two more players who’ll have just as much reason as Lewis and Frandsen to badmouth their former employer if the Giants give them away, John Bowker and Nate Schierholtz. Something tells me neither Bowker nor Schierholtz will ever find themselves calling Giants fans “f@gs” on social networking sites.
– Henry Schulman was almost clairvoyant in his Fred Lewis post on Friday:
Lewis is smart enough not to burn any bridges. In fact, he said as much: “I’m not trying to prove anybody wrong because you don’t know what might happen in years to come. I’m just here to play baseball right now and enjoy myself.”
Do you believe that? I don’t.
The Giants-Lewis divorce was not amicable. As far back as last season he asked for a trade, a request that was repeated this spring. He felt the Giants did not give him a fair shake, taking him out of the lineup when he messed. He was having a good spring training with the Giants until he hurt a ribcage muscle, he said, by coughing too hard. After that, he seemed like a different person.
Management was perplexed. Lewis seemed to have checked out. After one particularly bad game at minor-league camp late in spring training, he told reporters his side was still hurting and told management he was having trouble seeing the ball.
In other words: former Giants malcontent was/is a malcontent.
– In more positive Giants-related news, Aubrey Huff used to be the worst free agent signing in the world and now he’s fifth in the NL in OPS. Just goes to show you, there are no bad 1-year contracts. Just bad GMs who sign players to 1-year contracts. Or something.
– Hey everybody, listen up! The Dynamic Deal of the Week from our friends at 24 Willie Mays Plaza is … wait for it … wait for it … $25 view reserved left field seats against the Dodgers! I guess that’s better than paying $37.50 (before “convenience” and “shipping” fees!) for SRO tix to see the Red Sox.
– The Giants DO know that a much better “view” exists beyond the right field wall, and it’s free, right?
– Speaking of overpriced, I don’t know why, but I really, really want to stay a night in the Rogers Centre (Skydome) hotel that overlooks the field. It’s $489 Canadian though, which seems like a fair amount for the opportunity to muster up the courage to flash 22,000 baseball-loving Canucks with Vernon Wells coming to the plate.
– Never did do a recap of the NBA Finals, mostly because I’ve spent the time since then celebrating the win, setting up an engagement party, celebrating at the engagement party and then celebrating the fact that we put (with a ton of help from la familia) on a successful engagement party. It’s a wonder I’m at work today.
– Saw Ron Artest wearing a top hat adorned with gold and purple feathers at the victory parade today in downtown Los Angeles (wherever that is). I was never against signing Artest, since the Lakers were still a finesse team last year and Bill Simmons was so gleeful in his predictions of gloom-and-doom for the Artest era in L.A.
– But God, was Ron-Ron crappy in the first half of the year, which included the curious holiday incident where he “tripped over some presents” and fell down the stairs at his home, giving him a concussion. But what I remember is when he showed how he’s different than every other player in the league — in a good way — against the Spurs in late March. For some reason he was fully aroused (yes!) defensively in that contest, to the point where just watching him on TV was downright frightening. His defense was so smothering, so Patrick Willis-like, that if I were playing in a pickup game against him and he started guarding me I’d just hand him the ball. Artest was that same scary dude for the entirety of Game 7, always in the mix when loose balls were in the air, making Paul Pierce’s life much more difficult than usual and (cliche alert) setting the tone for the rest of the Lakers, who were so nervous that they needed the kick in the ass that Artest’s play and the Staples Center crowd provided.
– Nobody comments on his stuff anymore, but Matt Maiocco provided an incredible rundown of every single defensive player at the Niners’ recently resumed minicamp. No snark here, it’s truly awesome to see all this success isn’t going to Maiocco’s head. After reading these reports (especially the secondary, where it looks as if Nate Clements and Taylor Mays are ready to match the skill level shown consistently by Shawntae Spencer), I’m downright giddy.
– On the other hand, the Nate Davis bandwagon has a couple stops coming up in the next few months:
Third-string quarterback Nate Davis saw a lot of action today. But it was quite apparent things did not move as smoothly with him on the field. He required a lot of assistance from offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye in getting some of the play calls relayed in the huddle. Several times, the team got to the line of scrimmage and had to regroup before they could run the play with Davis under center.
OK people, exit one at a time so nobody gets hurt, OK?
– For those with transfer passes, the bandwagon for this guy is filling up fast.
– Love that the Warriors went back to the blue and gold. And all the logos look decent. But I’m going to be the first to say that the white home jersey is a little underwhelming, even though it IS better than anything they’ve worn since 1988 (excluding “throwback” nights, of course).
– I found myself listening to a ton of “The Best of KNBR” yesterday while cleaning up the house (since for the past week and a half we have done nothing besides eat, party-plan and watch the Finals, the Giants, the World Cup and “Mad Men”). Fitting that every single segment I heard was entertaining besides the Fitz and Brooks one, which featured the most boring interview of a soccer expert I’ve ever heard. I would have preferred a double-dose of that golf writer guy they love to yuk it up with, or an entire segment of Paulie Mac sound drops to that interview.
– I find it more offensive that we can’t make fun of or criticize the South African tradition of blowing on oversized duck-callers during soccer matches because it’s a “cultural” thing than when people actually do bash the practice. We make fun of American fads and annoyances all the time, like Thundersticks and little kids announcing the lineup during the fifth inning at AT&T Park. Acting as if Africans can’t be wrong because liberal guilt tells us so is an insult to millions of Africans who probably think they’re annoying, too. Africa may enjoy soccer more than we do, but with those goddamn vuvuzelas buzzing all game long it’s impossible to tell if anybody actually knows what’s going on or even cares because the crowd sounds the same during the entirety of every match.
– Guess we’ll all be allowed to bitch about this when vuvuzelas make their way to the English Premier League.
– Good to see Mychael Urban’s feeling better after that crazy blood-clot situation in his leg, as evidenced by this quote in his latest column titled, “Bullpen is Priority 1 for Giants“:
Sluggers and stud starters are the sexy mid-summer addition most contenders covet, but the Giants donâ€™t need either. They donâ€™t need Victoriaâ€™s Secret. They need the JC Penny granny panties of the game: reliable middle relievers.
While I think the Giants need another hitter who can hit good pitching to be a true contender, you have to give it to Urbs for a pretty good line there. Probably the first time the term “granny panties” has been used in correlation with the Giants that didn’t have to do with Bengie Molina (or Lewis/Frandsen).
– Even though the Giants’ pen could use the help, some want to release Todd Wellemeyer. Can’t say I blame them/him. Could you imagine Wellemeyer pitching an important 7th inning in September? Me neither.