Barry Bonds

Magowan and Sabean can blame more than just Bonds

They’d never admit it to Larry Baer, but Brian Sabean and Peter Magowan could easily blame AT&T Park for getting the dreaded shout-out from Capitol Hill today.

After Bud Selig pretty much gave the “If we ground Peter and Brian, will you not be mad at us, Congress?” defense today at the Steroid Hearings Part 2, it’s clear that even if they don’t get suspensioned, Sabes and Mags took a Spears-sized publicity hit today.

Sabean and Magowan never would have suffered the ignominy of sharing the stage with Miguel Tejada at today’s steroid hearings if it weren’t for 24 Willie Mays Plaza.

Not because AT&T Park could just as soon be named The Park That Barry Bonds Built, although that’s part of it. Without Bonds, the park formerly named Pac Bell doesn’t get the investors necessary pay for its creation.

And if there wasn’t so much pressure from investors to make sure the new park stayed full of “casual fans” (i.e. disposable income types), Sabean and Magowan may not have passively approved the application of half the periodic table to Bonds’ Rick Mahorn.

But Sabean and Magowan getting raked over the proverbial coals by Congress and Bud Selig (or thrown under the proverbial bus, as the kids like to say) had more to do with how AT&T Park was paid for more than anything else.

Ever since the Giants front office rallied enough rich old people, Bank of Americas and other such entities to help create the first privately financed ballpark since Dodger Stadium, Selig and the rest of his owner cronies have been privately resentful of the Giants.

The owners are a group of people who believe in capitalism, free enterprise, and the right to ask cities and counties for money to build new, state of the art stadiums every 20 years. Every time a city has looked at a ballpark referendum and said “Hey, the Giants built their own park,” owners look at Magowan and Baer like classmates who not only constantly suck up to the teacher, but are also hall monitors with the only “A’s” in class.

Why else would it take eight years for the All Star Game to come to San Francisco? Other new stadiums have been built and hosted All Star Games since 2000, but the Giants were forced to wait until it was starting to look suspicious.

Obviously the Giants are an easy target. From Barry Bonds bringing Greg Anderson to the clubhouse to all the players that were linked to BALCO who wore hats bearing the “SF” logo (especially the great Bobby Estalella, the Tony Mandarich of catchers), the Giants have become the poster-team for all things chemical in baseball, while John Kruk still has a job talking on ESPN even though he isn’t funny or insightful.

Teams like Kruk’s 1993 Phillies, the 1986 Mets, the 2002 Angels or the Athletics since the beginning of mullets have either had implied or explicit ties to steroids. Some may point to Barry Bonds as the sole reason why the Giants are getting the steroid spotlight, but then how to explain Roger Clemens, a similarly sour individual who has been presumed everything except innocent by anybody who can spell HGH. None of The Rocket’s teams have heard one bit of scrutiny about his suspected use, even though the Mitchell Report found that his supplier wasn’t a rogue drug dealer like Anderson, but a former employee of the New York Yankees.

Since Clemens has been in hot water a far shorter period of time than Bonds, maybe his former teams will get the same scrutiny that Sabean and Magowan felt today. However, I can’t help but think if it was the Yankees who privately financed their own stadiums, Selig might have been busy not defending George “Weekend at Bernie’s III” Steinbrenner in front of congress today.

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