Brian Wilson sure threw a nice 1-2-3 inning in the All Star Game last night, huh?
Alright, well I think that’s just about enough ASG chatter. OK, maybe not. You probably heard that Tim Lincecum failed to make yesterday morning’s Red Carpet parade because, as he said, he … ran into a communication problem … Uh huh. I once ran into a communication problem when I visited New York a couple years ago for the NBA 2K9 party, after I decided I would try drinking Red Bull and vodka for the first time ever in order to keep me awake after leaving SFO on a 6 am flight that morning (which, since I couldn’t afford long-term parking at the time, meant I left my apartment at 3:30 am). The morning after the party, my alarm clock communicated that it was time to wake up to make my return flight, and I didn’t receive the message due to, um, consciousness-related issues.
In other words, after Lincecum’s “dehydration” incident in his first ASG, I’m not so sure I believe that he missed the parade because he was handed a itinerary that was riddled with typos the night before when he checked into his Anaheim hotel. Listen, I hate parades as much if not more than the next guy. No bigger wastes of time and/or roadspace. Still, Tim’s teammate was able to make it, and I’m guessing they may have “communicated” with each other between their arrivals in Anaheim and said parade. This example of flakiness, along with the arrest after buying that bag of ganja in Portland, in combination with Bruce Bochy openly calling out Lincecum’s lack of conditioning in comparison with his fellow starters … you have to admit there’s a few red flags here.
Then there’s Pablo Sandoval, who has one of the more confusing home lives of any 23-year-old I can think of. Let’s see, he’s married with a daughter, but lives with his mom and Andres Torres. And now, thanks to the wonder of Henry Schulman’s sort of answer to a question asked of him on Twitter (pictured), we now know that Sandoval is going through a separation of some sort from his baby’s mom.
We don’t have much concrete to go on when it comes to the panda’s struggles this year, but like Lincecum, there are warning signs. Double play after double play. Ever increasing weight. Marital difficulties, brought on by who knows what. Actually wearing a t-shirt where his likeness is represented by a morbidly obese panda. What’s next, wearing a panda hat in lieu of his actual cap? This is not good, folks.
Now, we know that Lincecum parties. No big deal, but you don’t get caught driving down an Oregon highway by yourself, hundreds of miles away from where you live and/or work, if this is your first rodeo. We don’t know if Sandoval parties a lot, sleeps around like a New York governor or if he has an eating disorder. But we do know that his life is somewhat hectic and he’s gone from looking like a perennial All-Star to a guy who looks about two bad weeks away from a trip to Fresno. Neither guy is the kind of train wreck that would get someone on one of those “Real Housewives” shows, but be sure that the Giants are paying attention to the off-the-field choices both players are making these days.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Brian Sabean is such a sucker for established vets, no matter the price or mileage on the tires Sabean has the due dilligence to kick. (Sorry about that — honestly, couldn’t Sabean come up with one or two more phrases to overuse so we can have a little variety? At the end of the day, we only have a few and the jokes are getting old.)
Sabean’s been in this business a LONG time. Long enough to know that seasons are a lot easier to live though if fewer things are left to chance. That’s why he was loathe to throw Buster Posey out there in the first month of the season (well, that and service time). It’s why Nate Schierholtz and John Bowker will never receive 500 ABs in a season as Giants, why Sabean made it clear that Bumgarner didn’t come to Spring Training in good enough shape and why the most athletic shortstop the Giants have had since Royce Clayton was 38 when he arrived and 41 when he left.
Sabean has never been interested in putting together a clubhouse that enjoys towel-snapping and beer-shotgunning like the A’s have. He wants a bunch of vets who know how to play 150 games without getting into any trouble, getting too high (no pun intended) or too low, or saying anything stupid in the press. And while if a player is talented enough he can force his way onto a Sabean roster (Lincecum, Posey, Cain and Bumgarner, for example), the maturity issues players this age commonly struggle through are not the kinds of things Sabez wants to worry about.
Sabean wants to worry about things like if they still let you smoke in Milwaukee’s luxury suites, not whether 20-year-old MaddyMaddy BumBum is going to get a beer shower in the Giants’ lockerroom. OK, bad example. How about this: Sabean wants men who don’t need to be reminded that the female hormone portion of their BALCO cycle begins next week, not kids who get stoned before games, “to see what it feels like.”
During Sabean’s downright interesting interview yesterday with Gary Radnich in the wake of George Steinbrenner’s passing, it came to light just how long Sabean’s been doing this whole baseball front office thing. He’s seen guys like Dwight Gooden go from owning the world to blowing it all on rock. He compares all the young players coming up through the system with Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, and in terms of talent and personality, they all come up short. Prospects are only to be trusted as great trade chips, because if you wait too long they can turn into Angel Villalona. Sabean doesn’t care about fun-loving, get-along-with-everybody personalities. He’d rather take a group of red-asses who stay in their hotel rooms on the road over a bunch of Giambi brothers swilling Miller High Life and spreading their seed all over Kansas City (yeah, that was gross — I apologize). In Sabean’s mind, if you’ve been around 10 years, it stands to reason you’ll keep your nose clean long enough to get through one or two with the Giants in a relatively problem-free fashion.
As brilliant as Lincecum and Sandoval have been, each youthful indiscretion, whether proven or just innuendo, adds to Sabean’s already formidable veteran love. In other words, unless they want to be surrounded with a team full of 34-year-olds, they should stay in their hotel rooms and concentrate on getting back to consistently performing like they did last season. And take it from me, they should also lay off the Red Bull and vodka.