I am not one of them.
I will boo if I think the player was deserving in some way. But, ultimately, I try to think about what is best for my team, my Giants, and where the player fits within the team and his criticalness to the Giants success. Yeah, I will let a player get away with things if I think he is crucial to the team's success.
So a player's shelflife with the Giants will affect my behavior as well. I try to think beyond the moment and try to see the big picture regarding how my behavior affects the team. Because as much as people tend to forget, athletes are people too (though some don't act like it).
To Zito or Not to Zito
Which brings me to the Giants' fans new favorite punching bag, Barry Zito. People at AT&T Mays Field have taken to booing Zito after poor performances. Which unfortunately have been frequent lately. Which brings me to my post today.
Big Picture: True Giants Fans Don't Boo Zito
The big picture is that the Giants need Zito to do well. Yes, the contract is huge and we haven't gotten much good performances out of him yet. But it is not like Zito isn't trying or blaming others: unfortunately, this is the best he can do. For the moment. He is working hard to change. There are encouraging signs from his bullpen sessions but he needs to start doing it in a game that counts.
So as a true Giant's fan, what are your options here? The big picture is that you can boo and make Zito more uncomfortable, less likely to succeed, and give the Giants an $18M albatross that will make it harder for the Giants to be competitive for the next 5 seasons. Or you can cheer his successes and keep your boos to yourself when he is struggling, keeping your fingers crossed while wishing for the best.
The big picture is I see nothing to be gained from booing Zito, except making yourself (somehow) feel better. So you need to get over yourself. This is not about you. This is bigger than you, this is about the Giants and how they do in the future.
Many Reasons Why Not to Boo
If he were paid less or for less years or is a giant ass, then letting your frustrations out won't hurt the Giants as much long term. But his contract is barely over a season old and we have another 5 plus seasons to go, at around $20M per year after this season. That will hurt the team's competitiveness if the Giants were to do what some fans have suggested, which is release Zito or trade him away with a load of money, or if he continues to pitch even worse than a #5 starter. Look at how screwed up the Rockies have been with Hampton's contract, D-gers with Dreifort, or other teams stuck with a really huge contract.
Also, in spite of team talk, 2008 is all about rebuilding. So we are going to be losing anyway, the only question is whether it will be epic as many thought or moderate as I've thought. So why focus on negatives, if we were trying to win then I can at least understand why you would boo and take your frustrations out on Zito. I might be inclined to join on occassion too.
But we are not going to be battling for the division title, we are going to lose and, in fact, the more we lose, the better the draft pick in next year's draft. Not that we root for losses, but there is a silver lining if things don't turn out the way we would like them to be. Winn-Winn, as Randy Winn might say.
And I know some of the boos are actually for management. Then take your frustrations out on management, not Zito. He only signed the contract, it was management (ownership in my mind) that offered him that contract. Maybe derisively yell, "Saaa-beee-annn" or "Maaa-gowww-annn" at the start of every Zito start. But once the game starts, button your lip and let Zito pitch.
All I am Saying, Is Give Zito a Break
Because we, as Giants fans, need to give Zito a break this season and hope that Zito can break out of his funk and pitch like he can. People like to point to Zito's peripherals but he's been pitching like this for years now and been productive enough that we would be getting good value if he could just duplicate what he did his final years with the A's. It is the contract, it is the fans, who are messing with his mind.
Yes, ideally, Zito wouldn't let all this affect him. But he's human and it does. So the big picture is we need to back off of Zito and let him get his bearings this season. You've had your say enough this season with the boos. If you continue to boo, you will just guarantee that the contract is the big sinkhole that you think it is. Just give him a break for the rest of the season and see what he can do at home without negative comments. The Giants of the next five seasons need you to suck it up. Today.