Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Letter to the Mailbox: What Happened?

Long time reader, Allfrank noted in the comments that I'm no longer listed at MCC and asked me what happened.  As is my wont, my comment was too long and I didn't feel like chopping it up this time, so I'm posting it.  And, of course, adding to it.  :^)

Sad is as Sad Does

If I'm no longer listed at MCC, then that is probably over the dustup I had with them when I had the temerity to suggest that people who wanted Brian Sabean fired did not deserve to enjoy the success we had up to that point (that was after the NLCS) unless they come out with a mea culpa.

A number of people came out to blast me, including Grant, calling me "pretty sad".  What's sad is that people don't feel some responsibility for encouraging the firing of Sabean, of being the villagers with the pitchforks and fire, demanding satisfaction.  It is one thing to complain about his moves, which is what Grant did, another to encourage the firing of another human being, which I don't recall Grant doing but he sure reacted like he did.

So if they removed my link, that's OK, that's on them, I would never retaliate in kind.  Actually, I was afraid of being banned and having my account shut down, given the severity of the reaction, so just removing my link is actually a relief.  I do enjoy posting there.  Of course, I haven't checked in for a while, so who knows now about my account.  :^D


But if they are able to enjoy all that crap about firing Brian Sabean all these years when what he was doing was putting together the elements that led to our World Series championship, I don't see why I can not take a moment to voice my annoyance at all the people who openly advocated for his firing.  They had a problem with my timing, but when is the right time, all I would get is "Pollyanna" crap if I argued otherwise before and my argument would not have any legs to stand on until the Giants did really well, which they did to get into the World Series.

And not that I believe that we as fans have that sort of power to get someone fired:  but, particularly with a change in leadership from Magowan to Neukom, you can't really know what Neukom might do.  He might read all that crap and decided that it would be better to have a clean slate and fire everyone.  Before him, Magowan, if he's the egotist that some people paint him as (I doubt to that extent, but it's not like I know him either), might have reached the point where firing Sabean and gang might be the move to divert attention from him.  We don't know, owners have done weird things in the past (took over as manager, create a promotion that started a riot in the park, heck, almost anything Charlie O. Finley did as the owner of the A's).  I doubt that any of our crap gets our owner to fire someone, but then again, you never know.

And we do know some Giants people read these stuff.  Krukow mentioned reading comments at one site (I think it was Baggarly) and I would bet someone is assigned to judge the mood of the fans by reporting on general trends and stuff.  At least I would if I were the boss, it just makes sense to monitor the mood of the fans, particularly in the age of customer relationship management.  With a half billion dollar investment asset, you should be monitoring all avenues of discussion regarding your team.  You may have a great plan for fixing the team, but if the fans aren't coming out in the meanwhile, you can't pay your mortgage.

S.O.S.:  Save Our Sabean

As you know, Allfrank, I've been supportive of Sabean through all these years.  I waved my flag clearly and proudly particularly at MCC because I think that any Giants fan wanting to be near a lot of other Giants fans have to go there today (Baggarly and ELM too, and I think DrB will be one too).  I believe he had a plan and I explained the plan as best as I could, and I know that made me a pariah there, but as an analyst, when you "know" you are right, you have to go all in.  People don't pay you good money for touchie-feelie answers, they want something definitive.

And having a bit of the OCD, I can't do definitive unless I feel I had all my ducks in line.  I felt that I did and eventually captured much of that in my Giants business plan, so I was willing to put myself on the line, put myself out there, and support Sabean.  Because I felt that he had a plan that worked towards building a team that would not only get us to the playoffs, but to the World Series championship that we've all been waiting and hoping for all these years.

And I know that some people appreciated it.  I used to see comments out at MCC asking if I had something positive to say about a situation or just in general, because there was a lot of negativity there, negativity that eventually reduced my involvement there, because otherwise I would just spend my days and nights there stating my disagreement.  And a few people thanked me here.

Thankless Job But I Can't Help It, That's Me

And, to be absolutely and positively clear, I don't do this for thanks or recognition, though like anyone else, I appreciate it.  It is a bit of the OCD that drives me:  I can't stand not knowing where my Giants stand.  I'll support them when they are down, I'll cheer them when they are up, I just want to understand, the best that I can, where the Giants can be expected by the end of the season, and I set my hopes accordingly.  That gives me calm, relief.  If I expect them to be .500 then I would have a whole different perspective on how they are doing than if I expected them to be competing for the playoffs.

And I didn't want to be that blind fan that just doesn't see it, I hated that and didn't want that for myself.  First it was fans in the 70's who thought that the Giants were going to be OK, and even though I just started following baseball, and with no one really to guide me - my Dad was an immigrant who was not into professional sports - I was able to figure out that, no, they weren't.  But that was OK, they were my team, and I told my fellow Giants fans (few in the East Bay) that they were mediocre.

Then it was the fans in the 2000's, the woe-is-me band of blindly un-optimistic fans who inhabited the USENET (I remember Grant from there, but he wasn't one of them) and wore their pessimism as a badge of honor.  I analyzed the 2003 team and said that we were going to have a good season, and decided to post it there to see what others had to say about my analysis, and many of them ripped it to shreds, said no way the Giants are any good, look at the players they got, it'll never work!  They were the opposite end of the spectrum.

Not in it For Links
So if they removed my link, that's OK with me.  I've never asked anyone to reciprocate my linking them.   I've never gone to another website and ask if they would post my link there.  If I wanted "thousands of readers" I could have had that early on by taking the offer to write for another blog who had that audience already. That's not important to me.

That's why I avoid mentioning my blog when I post because I hate those who trumpet, "Hey, you know, good topic, I just happened to have released my take on the subject and I have a totally different take" or worse B.S., like I've seen someone actually go on-line under their Internet name and point out their article, which was written under their real name, and wrote "Hey, this is a pretty good article, you should go check it out."  Now that's pretty sad!  I only mention my blog when it relates to the research I already did and I didn't want to post another 10,000 word essay when I already had something on my blog.  But I try to avoid it as much as I can.  I chose to walk a different path, to the beat of a different drummer.

Responsibility to Show the Correct Light:  Fiat Lux!

I won't cater to those who want to throw bricks at people, just because they don't understand or care to understand.  It's really easy to criticize or make fun of someone if you take the easy route and focus on one thing or another.  Everybody will fail in one aspect or another.  If I am going to throw a brick, it will be after I've gone over the overall situation and made the assessment that this person must go.

We may just be nerds sitting in our mom's basement typing out this stuff but if I'm going to publicly advocate for the firing of someone, I think that there is a higher level of moral and ethical responsibility for whatever crap you throw out there onto the internet.  There must be some level of ethical behavior regarding that, it is one thing to say that someone is making a stupid move, another to say that he deserves to be fired. 

They are human too, you just need to have enough empathy as a human being and wonder how you would feel if someone said that about you publicly.  If I deserve to be fired, sure, I'm man enough to handle it, I've never avoided hearing the worse about myself, but I would want the criticism to be fair, educated, and logical.  I would want some insight into what I'm doing wrong, so that I can better myself.  Still, there must be some level of empathy for your fellow human beings when you post stuff like that, and some level of responsibility for what you put out there. 

And not that I think I "know it all".  I know I know a lot, but that's because I read a lot of news about the Giants and OCD enough to do that, I know not everyone is like me, so I wanted to share that knowledge with others who desire to know more about the Giants and baseball but are not so OCD.  Who like me want to have a realistic view of their team, the now World Champion San Francisco Giants (it'll never get old).  Who don't want to be lazy and take the easy way out and get the pitchforks out to slay the monster (in their mind) because they don't have the empathy to realize that you are attacking another human being publicly.  I wouldn't do that unless I have all my ducks in a row.  And so I try to read and learn all that I can, so that I can cogently write on my favorite subject: the San Francisco Giants.

So I try to illuminate my readers. And I want to be illuminated as well as to illuminate. Fiat Lux!


I know people think I'm weird but I'll share an insight into my mind and behavior.

I learned to admire ants when I was young.  The social structure, the collective working for one common goal, the sacrifice for the greater good, hard work, all for one and one for all.  (Don't care so much for them now that I'm a home owner :^)

When I'm writing, I feel I'm just one worker ant helping the Giants fan colony survive another winter, another season.  Do you want to be a lemming oblivious to the cliff you are led off of by others or do you want to be a realist and know where you stand, whether solid ground or quicksand?  I have chosen the latter path.

Why I Write

So if my link is gone, it's gone.  C'est la vie!  I didn't ask for it to be put there, and, no doubt, I was happy when it was put there; hey, I'm human.  And so there is some sadness, but I'll live.

But I don't write just so people can link to me, even the biggest and best Giants website.  And I don't write to agree with what everyone else is saying.  And I don't write to avoid the unplesant message, though I would try to lessen the pain of the message if possible (but if anyone rankles me, I'm going to give as good as I get). 

I write because I have an itch that I need to scratch.  I write because I want to know, to the best of my abilties, how well the Giants are doing and what they can be expected to do.  I write because I know something, something others don't.  I write because I want to share that something.  I write because I feel a kinship with my fellow Giants brethren and baseball fans in general. 

I hope that my sharing of my thoughts, knowledge, and analysis helps another Giants fan enjoy the Giants more and baseball more.  If anyone has, then I've succeeded.


  1. You know, OGC, there's another prominent Giants' site that I won't got to anymore for the same reasons. 75% negative, all the time, and sometimes I would wonder, "are these people fans or not?". And just the other day, I looked after some time and sure enough, there was griping.

    The Giants just won the World Series. And even if they hadn't, they finished the season with the second best record in the league. What more do people want? An honest answer to that question can only result in absurdity.

    Talk is cheap, and the talk in blog posts has become cheaper. It's all too easy to be superficial and anonymous, and the paradoxical mob mentality means that getting shouted down for not adhering to the party line is even easier. I find it a shame when people can't even enjoy their supposed "team"s success.

    I enjoy this site because it's intelligent, it's in-depth, and it's well-informed. Keep on doing what you're doing, the internet is filled with cheap entertainment - intelligent discourse is much harder to find. I appreciate that I can find that here.

  2. OGC, I read the other sites as well, and they are generally quite good but the negativity this season became grating. I like that your site looks at the team with a "glass half full" perspective with well-researched arguments. I respect you for looking at the same data that everyone else sees and that you then develop your own interpretation. I like that you criticize when deserved but trust that the team leadership is human and doing the best job they can under whatever restrictions or circumstances they are under.

    I always read your blog last because it puts the team back in the light that lets me enjoy the GAME of baseball. (Also, it's usually the longest ;)

    Looking forward to your future posts.

  3. I always say "I never mind being wrong if it means the Giants are winning." You were right about Sabes & Co. and the direction of the franchise. I wasn't, but I'm sure happy I was wrong! Don't stop compulsively obsessing over the Giants--the beauty of the blog community, for me, is the variety of viewpoints. I'd never learn anything if all of us said the same damn stuff over and over.

  4. OGC,

    My journey has been similar to yours. I haven't always been a Sabean supporter. At one point I wanted him fired for dumping a first round draft pick to sign Michael Tucker. To me, that was a sure sign he was on the wrong track and had no plane for the long term health of the team.

    The turning point was the 2006 draft when they were willing to take the risk, both on the player and with the bonus money to try and get a special talent into the organization. Over the next couple of seasons, it became evident that he had a new commitment to building up the farm system. The Posey draft really cemented it.

    By this time, I was no longer posting on MCC, but the atmosphere over on the sfgiants.com Message Board was even more brutal. It wasn't just disagreement and ridicule. It was downright intimidation and stalking behavior that extended into my personal life.

    I finally came to the point where I just wanted to post my thoughts on Giants baseball for my own edification, not caring if anyone else read it or not. That people do come and read is most gratifying, but I would have done it without the readership.

    Thanks for the hard work. I check your site daily.

  5. OGC-

    I am a fan of your work generally,but demanding a mea culpa from people who wanted Brian Sabean fired IS pretty outrageous and I'd say it was fair of the community to call you on that. I realize that you feel vindicated after having defended Sabean's strategy for all these years, but those arguing for his ouster were generally doing so in good faith.

    I've read your characteristically long essay on this subject and feel compelled to comment on your claim that you are just telling it like it is. Perhaps you did so in the '70s- who knows?- but in the time I've been aware of your work you've epitomized the fan who can't see any wrong with his team. You've got a tremendous talent for cherry-picking statistics and arguing that they're a true reflection of a player's worth. (i.e. player X has been hitting this since this arbitrary date and so he's actually that good). For that reason I think it's fair to say that you are Pollyannish on occasion in respect to the Giants.

    I hope I don't come across as a jerk here; in truth I respect the amount of passion you have for our Giants and your willingness to devote the time and effort to maintain this blog. But there's nothing wrong with fans calling for a GM's ouster, and there's nothing wrong with fans continuing to criticize the GM even after he won the World Series. 2010 doesn't buy Sabean a life-time free pass, and isn't even necessarily a vindication of his agenda. I still say the playoffs are as much a crapshoot as anything else. With that in mind a little less crowing would be appropriate

  6. Just my opinion, but the fire Sabean sentiment on some sites went way beyond good faith. It really became a vendetta and some of them are still having a lot of trouble letting it go.

    I'm not sure the timing of OGC's challenge was completely appropriate, the night they won the WS and everybody was celebrating, but I do think that at some point people need to be accountable for their opinions when the go so far as to call for a GM to be fired and when they consistently react to alternate points of view with ridicule and contempt.

    I mean, it got so ridiculous at one point that there was a post seriously theorizing that the only stat Sabean looks at is RBI's. Maybe it was tongue-in-cheek, but it sure didn't read that way! In reality, the Giants employ 2 full time sabermetricians and have very likely been ahead of the curve on defensive metrics for several years.

  7. I don't think GM or Managers should be exempt from criticism or even calls for firing just because they are human beings. Field Manager has always been a public position, but with modern communications, GM is now egually as public. Teams are wholly dependent of fans for the success of their business and therefore need to be accountable to the fans.

    The converse is true too. If fans are going to get involved to the point of going on a public forum and calling for a GM or Manger to be fired, then they need to be accountable for those opinions too. I agree with OGC that there are some people out there who need to man up and admit they were wrong about both Sabean and Bochy.

    One more thing: I strongly suspect the Giants know a thing or two about how to evaluate pitching that the rest of the baseball world is behind the curve on too.

  8. You and me are very similar individuals. I too am an optimistic realist.

    This is one of my favourite blogs. I always enjoying reading your insight and always maintaining a positive attitude. Since I'm fairly new as a fan (2009), I've always felt as if I did not go through enough torture and pessimism to be a real Giants fan. But then one day, I decide to look through your archival posts and to my surprise, it was not like that. Sure, it wasn't happy, cheery "WE WON THE WORLD SERIES" stuff but you maintained a positive outlook on the team (and justifiably so) that you saw which direction the team was heading into.

    I admire people that can say "things may look bleakest now, but, that just means that they can only get better". That's the problem with most people nowadays, they're too impatient. They think in the short term and ignore the fruits that are still ripening. They insist on trading most of the seeds just to get a snack for a day (instead of many seasons to come). Sure, that may make your stomach less hungry, but, you're still hungry. Putting a bandaid on a losing team doesn't change it from being a losing team.

    I hope that some of that makes sense. You knew that the losing would only give us higher draft picks and that in time, the franchise would get back into contention. I didn't let the piss poor offense from last season blind me from the potential of our young guys, free agents, and the strength of our pitching and defense. There was a lot to like.

    Your optimistic outlook and defense of Sabean turned out to be well founded. Sabean (like all of us) made mistakes, but, he learned from them. Thanks to him not listening to most of the fans to sell our young pitching for bats, we won the World Series. You should not apologize or appease for anyone; you were right.

  9. I agree with much of what you say, Dr B, but I still don't buy the idea that the 2010 World Series win has totally vindicated Sabean and his strategy. Should the Giants remain a perennial playoff contender over the next half-decade, then I think you'd have to acknowledge that Sabean's strategy has indeed worked out. But if the Giants revert back to quasi-mediocrity in the years to come, a distinct possibility, then calls for his termination would be totally legitimate.

  10. Matt,

    In the 14 years that Brian Sabean has been GM, the Giants have won the World Series for the first time in their 53 year San Francisco history. They won the National League Pennant 2 of the 4 times in their 52 year history. They made the playoffs, what, 5 times out of 7 or 8 in their history? They have something like the 4'th or 6'th best record in baseball during his tenure. What, exactly is it that Brian Sabean has failed to accomplish in his tenure that makes you think he should be replaced?

    Of course, if the Giants go back in the tank he should be fired, and likely will be, but that's not exactly a profound statement. With a young core of Buster Posey and the pitchers, a commitment by ownership to do what it takes to hang onto them, a still reasonably strong farm system and a first class scouting operation, what makes you think they are likely to sink back to mediocrity in the near future?

    The reason why I was bullish on this team, and why I think OGC was too, is that the fundamentals of the team, from ownership to the stadium to the market, to the management of the team are so solid. I didn't think they were likely to win it all this year, I was looking at another year or two down the road, possibly clear until the Zito and Rowand contracts were up. That they won it all now just reinforces the belief they are on the right track.

    Of course, I don't think they are going to win the World Series every year. That would be ridiculously presumptuous! I expect them to be serious contenders for the next 5 years, miniumum, hopefully a lot longer than that. If they are, there is a good chance that they will win it all again during that time.

  11. I would add that I would hope that Sabean's track record including this World Series win would give him enough of the benefit of the doubt so that if the Giants did have a down year or even two, he would be given a chance to turn it around, yet again. Yes, if the team sinks back into mediocrity for an extended period(3 years or more) and the farm system dries up again, then I would agree he should be replaced. I'm quite sure Bill Neukom would agree with that too. I don't expect that to happen, though.

  12. Dr B,

    I haven't personally said he should be fired, or didn't mean to- perhaps I haven't articulated my opinions as well as I should have. And believe me- I'm well aware that his overall track record with the team has been more positive than negative.

    I'm only defending the Sabean naysayers from an unfair dose of "told ya so!" from OGC. I think it's legitimate, even in the context of the WS win, to disagree with Sabean's strategy and to wish for a replacement. Again, I don't think he should be fired, but I wouldn't heap scorn and make demands on people who do.

    Hope that makes my point a little more clear. I think everyone got a little emotional after the WS (I certainly did, screaming and hollering at a bar in New York- yikes, it's a wonder I left fully intact), so that's worth keeping in mind with this kind of thing

  13. i am really suprised Grant was so petty. Yes, he has banned me but I always thought it was because he felt it was easier to get rid of me the to get the mob to behaive rationally. Removing your link makes me think he too has joined the mob and that makes me sad.

  14. Matt,

    I appreciate your reasonableness, and I don't necessarily lump you in with the Sabean Haters. I don't recall reading your posts on MCC, but you seem much more reasonable than some of them over there.

    While I think it is legitimate to criticize both Sabean and Bochy from time to time, IMO, what was going on over on MCC and some other sites, and still is to some extent, is really a vendetta against Sabean and Bochy that I do think is unfair. I do think it is legitimate to call them out on it. My only advice to OGC would have been to wait a few days until the WS celebration died down a bit.

  15. One other observation about MCC in particulary and the internet in general. It is alarming to me how easy it is to generate a herd or even mob mentality on the internet. It's even happening to a small degree here on this site!

    Here's a scenario. Grant, the Alpha Male of MCC makes a statement like, "hey, look at Fred Lewis! He has the second best OBP on the team and his UZR says he's a much better fielder than most people who have watched him play think. I think the Giants should try Fred Lewis as the starting left fielder." And, Grant makes that and similar comments repeatedly.

    OK, I've always liked Fred Lewis and would like to see him get a chance to succeed or fail too. Over time, though, a consensus emerges among the regular members of MCC that Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy are stupid for not playing Fred Lewis more. Furthermore, when Fred Lewis is traded to the Blue Jays for practically nothing, the crowd goes into a rage and calls for Sabean and Bochy to both be fired along with pronouncements that the Giants will never win anything as long as those two are in charge.

    Well, guess what? Given a whole season to play regularly for Toronto, Fred Lewis didn't have such a great OBP and his UZR pretty much cratered. Maybe the people who watched him play every day and thought he was a terrible fielder were right after all? Furthermore, maybe Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean were right too! At the very least, Fred Lewis was not an essential piece to building a World Series championship team in SF. Pretty much the same thing happened with John Bowker.

    This all has pretty far reaching implications and goes a long way towards explaining the current political climate in this country as well as a whole host of other issues like cyber bullying in schools.

  16. DrB, Thank you. That last post is both very insightful and thought provoking.

  17. Dr B,

    Cheers- I don't normally read through the comments at McC (usually just at Lefty's site) so I might be unaware just how herd-like it is.

  18. there's nothing wrong with fans continuing to criticize the GM even after he won the World Series.

    Winning it all is the very definition of success for a GM. Complaining after that is like bitching about the font on your 10 million dollar lottery check.

    2010 doesn't buy Sabean a life-time free pass

    It certainly doesn't.

    and isn't even necessarily a vindication of his agenda.

    It certainly is. Every GM in the game had an agenda to win the WS in 2010. Some might not like Sabean's past generalship or how he deployed his troops for this campaign, but as they say, "No battle plans survive after first contact".

    His strategy won the war. Be happy. Rejoice!

    I was one of those who called Martin 'Pollyanna' at this site.

    I was wrong and his analysis was correct.

  19. Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I appreciate them all.

    And I wasn't trying to take credit and say "I was right and you were wrong." For that I take responsibility for in my comment on MCC. It distracted from my main point, which I was on point with every comment after that, which is that people openly wanting Sabean fired should do a mea culpa.

    It goes back to Boof's string of comments discussion with me early in this season. I was basically depressed that people didn't see the potential of the Giants and I felt bad that my lack of ability to convey that potential properly were preventing people from enjoying a good team, a good season. It was very frustrating. I think that is part of why I write so much, because I have trouble conveying exactly what I feel, so I try to be as detailed as I can.

    And, well, I can see things from many different points of view.

    I have this irrational need to worry and care about other people and I know that is good generally, but I think my OCD pushes it to extremes. I have had incidences in the past where I was greatly worried about people and the reaction was "oh, that's cute, but you needed do it, it's OK."

    So I guess I was frustrated at that point that these people wanted him fired when it was leading up to this beautiful thing, why didn't they listen to me?

    And so I asked for a mea culpa.

  20. To Matt's point, yeah, it is outrageous, but it is not as outrageous as advocating for the firing of Sabean when they didn't have the full story and then they wimp out on acknowledging that maybe they got it wrong.

    As EL said, it is a vindication of his agenda. Otherwise, you are saying that teams can win the World Series on luck alone, that there were no strategy he took that led to this shining moment.

    And he did have a strategy: pitching, pitching, and even better pitching. I wrote on this in 2003 when I was first blogging on Yahoo, and the strategy has slowly come to fruition.

    The problem is that people see the "luck" in the hitting that led us to the championship. Every team that wins the championship have some element of luck in them winning it all. Should we trash all the previous champions? Should we just have each team roll a pair of dice and see who wins?

    But was it luck that we had the pitching and fielding that we had? Does one accidentally put together a team defense that is among the top in the majors two years in a row? And probably will be that for the foreseeable future, barring injury? That is from the strategy that Sabean executed for the Giants.

  21. Matt, your impression of me couldn't be more wrong, at least from my viewpoint. I feel like I'm the messenger being killed, and that could be partly my fault too, perhaps I don't make myself clear enough.

    I view my "job", if you will, to provide the view that isn't being represented on other boards. As I noted above, I tend to see things from many perspectives.

    And as any of us can attest, the management's view is sorely lacking most of the time.

    SO, I attempt to show that there was some logic behind the moves of the Giants, and I don't know how many times I had to also put in there, "however, I feel this", and I know I don't always do that because it's tiring, I seem to get lumped as a "management can do no wrong" person.

    I was against a lot of the things that most fans were against, Rowand, Zito, others, but I could understand the logic behind the moves, it was just that they were taking on risks that I would not have done. And I could have joined in the bashing afterward but thought that it would be more helpful to see why the Giants could have thought to make such a deal and why the deal might still work.

    If Zito would have pitched for Giants like he did for the A's at the end of his career there, like he did in 2010, his contract would have made some sense. But the risk of it all going bad was just so great. But they were looking for someone to market after Bonds, so that was part of the equation too.

    If Rowand had hit like he did before when going well, he would have been worth every penny. Unfortunately, he lasts for 2-8 weeks then is horrible. Hopefully he watched Huff, Huff was out of shape too and actually did reshape his body during the off-season (former coach noted this in spring training), unlike Rowand, who realized he needed off-season program, but then did it by riding his mountain bike. If Rowand would actually get into shape, he might just yet earn his 2011 and 2012 pay, but it's too late now for saving the overall contract, unless he hits .400 or something crazy like that.

  22. Matt no, you didn't come off as a jerk. You said what you had to say without going in my face about it, as some have done on MCC. I appreciate it.

    About cherry-picking, perhaps I should not have done that until I was better at doing that, but I think that is a viable analysis tool. I think I'm better at doing that today, but it's an art and I'm not always going to be right, but I still think it is useful.

    Besides, it is better to see the insides of the stats than just looking at the overall numbers. That goes for all the people who think the Giants standing still means a team that barely won the division title (my next post), and as DrB aptly noted, those who think Freddy Lewis was too good to let go.

    Let's look at Freddy (who hates this name; I lost all respect for him after his homo-phobic rant on twitter/facebook during the season). People touted his overall numbers and blasted me for cherry-picking his numbers. But the fact was that his overall numbers were greatly boosted by two weeks of great hitting followed by 6-8 weeks of sucky hitting that those same fans would have buried him deep on the bench for. And really, that is the pattern of his career, he gets hot, fans think he's the greatest since sliced bread, then he sucks for a looong time, but hey, his overall OBP looks really shiny and good, when his OBP is crap for 6 out of 8 weeks.

  23. Tommy Wiseau Is A Giants FanThursday, November 18, 2010 11:34:00 AM

    I think there are two issues here, one that has been addressed appropriately and another that seems to be getting ignored. The first issue is whether people who demanded that Sabean be fired should do a "Mea Culpa" for their transgressions. The second issue (which hasn't been addressed) is whether a link to a blog should be taken out of a Giants community website for making that demand in a discussion forum.

    I personally find it a little sickening that this website was taken out of the link section in McCovey Chronicles for a couple of reasons. The first, and most obvious reason is that I'm not really sure what standards were evoked to make that decision (unless there are none?). If it was a violation in code of conduct or terms of conditions, it seems to be a very liberal interpretation of those rules. If there are no standards in removing the link, then it was removed because the webmaster deemed his comments offensive and/or inappropriate, especially in a moment of glory. In otherwards, the website brought confirmation to our biggest fears of a politically correct world, say something that big brother doesn't like, and you will be punished.

    Another reason I dislike the removal of the link is that I personally think that this website is one of the best Giants blogs on the web. Even for people who disagree with OGC, they have to admit that he's one hell of a writer, and puts many professional sports writers to shame. Too many blogs linked in MCC are not well written, not updated frequently, etc. Doesn't it make sense, if you are webmaster of a community website like MCC, to link to blogs that are good, even if you disagree with them?

    As far as a Mea Culpa over demanding the firing of Sabean, I will admit that I have been skeptical of his practices over the years. I especially grew tired of the Giants building a team around Bonds when it was obvious that a paradigm change was needed. And by 2009, by emphasizing pitching, it was clear that Sabean had done his part in changing the paradigm himself. In fact, I think I fell into a dominant paradigm that many fans have, fire the boss when things aren't working. But Sabean had proven that he could be successful before, and the Giants did the right thing by allowing him to adapt and change his management philosophies. So, I'm happy to do a Mea Culpa! Also, the Fire Sabean website is gone and they are changing the name, so that says something...

  24. Matt, again, wrong impression, and I take some blame for that with my initial comment. But every one after that I made it clear that it was directed towards those who wanted him fired.

    I agree, no GM can escape criticism. Just like no fan can escape criticism. He had a plan, he executed it, sure the playoffs is a crapshoot, but did the GM put the team in position to maximize their opportunity to win it all?

    I've been writing about that for years now, it's in my business plan, BP and THT studied how to maximize your chances of going deep in the playoffs: both agreed that it is good pitching and good fielding. Great offenses offer no advantage in the playoffs, both studies showed, and I think the way the Giants blasted through all the good offensive teams shows the truth in that, if not the 2002 Giants failure to win because their pitching was not good enough when they were needed.

    BP even went further on that, asking why Billy Beane's sh*t don't work in the playoffs (yes, they used that word in their chapter title). BP found that teams that go deep have a high K/9 pitching staff, a high WRXL closer, and a good fielding team. Even though this was written years ago, Billy still don't get it, his pitchers are all low K/9 pitchers for the most part (heck, they released Casilla) and he still thinks closers are fungible assets easily replaced. I guess he lied, BP should take his quote off their books, the one study they did of his teams and he still don't follow it.

    Meanwhile, whether the Giants intended to do it or not, the Giants have put together a team that fits BP's description of a team maximizing their chances in the playoffs (nothing guarantees success, it is all degrees)

    Sabean put the team in position to grab for the gold ring, I think that is a vindication of his agenda. Even if they didn't win (but they did, WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! Giants World Champs!!!) it would have been a vindication, everyone that thought he should be fired didn't even think that the Giants would even make the playoffs.

    And I know they are lording over the fact that they won on the last day. Enough! They won, isn't that enough?

    So yes, criticism should always be OK, but it goes both ways, fans can be criticized too. And I have no problem with fans wanting a GM's ouster, I've done that plenty of times (Haller, Richardson, etc.), I just have a problem with people not admitting that they were wrong when they were wrong, yet are enjoying the fruits of being wrong.

  25. And I know I'm not saying it right, but this attitude of "Yeah, he should be fired, but I'm going to enjoy that his strategy succeeded" bothers me greatly. It minimalizes the team's achievement.

    They won the f'ing World Series! But, "oh, it was just luck." Really? Is that how people view this?

    Just makes me sad. This was an awesome achievement, even if they don't ever come close again. They stood up when they had to, many times, day in, day out, they manned up and got the job done when they needed to, whether it be Renteria's homer, the pitching staff's GREAT string of games, the relievers shutting down people, or the hitters who delivered when needed most. Luck?

    Just makes me sick...

  26. And less crowing?

    This is the time to do it: the San Francisco Giants are the freaking World Champions of baseball!!! If not now when?

  27. And to clarify DrB, I didn't post my comment after winning the World Series, I posted it after we won the NLCS. I figured that getting to the World Series, after demolishing the mightly Phillies, was the right time to do it.

    Because, after the World Series, we would be either in ecstacy or in mourning, and either way, it did not seem as right as right then, when the Giants accomplished something that none of the people who wanted Sabean fired thought they would see again under Sabean's regime, getting into the World Series.

    I thought that they had accomplished enough to call them out on it, and as I noted, afterward, wouldn't have made much sense either way.

    To DrB's point, I'm sure a lot of the comments were tongue-in-cheek, but they just emboldened the ones who were serious about that point, and just made it a free for all complaining about Sabean and asking for his firing.

    And as he noted, they have had 2 sabers in-house, and that is like Sabean, wanting to keep everything under his kimono, so I'm glad Neukom realized that they needed to counter that image by revealing that they do use sabers and to good effect. I agree, I think they must have been ahead of the curve on defensive metrics.

    And that will continue, I read this somewhere, a company is testing out equipment at AT&T that will take every hit ball and capture all sorts of stats regarding how well it was hit, at what angle, and so on, in order to better evaluate how fielders handle balls hit to them (plus I would imagine you can analyze the hitters too).

  28. DrB, what I meant by them being humans is that this put a higher level of responsibility on the part of the complainer to have all their facts straight when they are advocating for the GM being fired, and to admit that they were wrong if they turn out to be wrong.

    And that's to your point in the following paragraph.

    And yes, I agree, I think the Giants have shown very strong abilities in the evaluation of pitching.

  29. Frankcontreras, yes I think that makes a lot sense, put in a much better way than I could have.

    Heck, in a way that I didn't even capture lately. People don't realize that rebuilding is a process, and that trading the young players before they "ripened" would only short-circuit the process. Impatience was a word I was searching for.

    That's why I like to point out the Atlanta Braves under Bobby Cox as GM, then manager. He put them through 6 seasons of agonizingly poor teams, but that netted him the key players that fueled 17 (or whatever it is) years of playoff baseball. If he had given in earlier, like I'm sure a lot of Braves fans did (much like Giants fans), they would have never gotten the pick in their 5th season of shame that allowed them to pick up Chipper Jones.

    I wrote on this before, but I view Posey as our Chipper Jones pick, the offensive guy who will stir the Giants drink (to borrow from Reggie Jackson) for years to come.

    An apt analogy for this is the use of anti-biotics. When the doctor prescribes antibiotics the patient needs to follow the whole process. If they cut it short, the bugs just get stronger, and you might go through it all again only worse.

    That's why all these super-germs are starting to crop up, people take their meds but stop once they start feeling good, when they need to go through the whole treatment to kill the germs. Else, the germs are then weakened but not killed, and go on to make other people even sicker.

    A team is like that. It needs to go through their losing years to get the good draft picks that allow the team to become good again. That's my Phoenix Theory of Re-building.

    Short-circuit that by trading away guys before they develop (or worse, make the wrong assessment and trade away good players, like Rangers did with Hafner and A-Gon, and now I bet A's with Car-Gon) and you just doom yourself to a return to losing sooner than later, as that weakens the team for a short-term fix.

    Yes, frankcontreras, you make a lot of sense.

  30. And to DrB's comment, yes, that is exactly why I was bullish on this team too.

    Thinking that they would win it all this season was hoping for too much when we have waited for 52 years (as a city), but I've been saying for a while that this is the Giant's decade, they will make the World Series multiple times and that we would eventually win one this decade. That it happened this season is still an joy to me.

    But it was not a surprise, from the way I analyzed it, they have the foundation of pitching to do it, but as Matt aptly notes, it is a crapshoot. Instead of Brooks Conrad, it was Candy Maldonaldo long ago. You never know who will win.

    But based on the most recent knowledge and studies on baseball, I felt that the Giants had the ingredients to do this eventually with this core of pitching.

    And to DrB's point, if we return to mediocrity soon, I think it's time to change GMs. That's why I made a point before of stating that while I was happy that Sabean got an extension, two years was all he got from me and he had to deliver some good progress before he gets another extension.

    He has everything he needs now. We should be battling for the playoffs every season now as long as the young core is kept together. Neukom appears ready and willing to do that, damn the budget (still has to do it first...). This winning arc should last a while, and if Sabean stumbles extensively with it, then he should be gone.

    But I think winning it all once buys him some time to screw up a little.

  31. Speaking of Freddie Lewis, I have had this post half written about his "great" season and expose what others had been refusing to see.

    Sure, the points are cherry picked to some extent, if you want to call it that: I call it analyzed to see how consistently he was hitting, because no matter how good your stats look like at the end of the season, if you are crap 75% of the time, I don't care how good your stats look like at the end of the season, you are hurting the team on an overall basis.

    While I know that there are limitations to slicing up the season stats because of SSS, there is just as great a limitation to looking at someone's overall season stats and saying that he's good or bad. That works if you are going to comb through 1,000's of players and try to find something general to say about players in general, but I think it fails when you are looking at one specific player.

    Slicing up data, at that point, if done right, illuminates.

    I know one reason why MCCers berate me for this is because I used that to say that Frandsen and Ortmeier deserves chances to start.

    But what I found is that people just like to take your idea broadly and focus on one detail of it - "Frandsen and Ortmeier deserves chances to start" - and ignore the nuance I put on that: neither will be great but at this point of the team's re-building process the Giants are better off giving young guys a chance to start than signing veterans who can hit. If they hit, then great, but if they fail, well, we lose a lot of games and get a better draft pick. Win-win.

    I know that is one the flashpoints where that impression of me began, which drove me crazy at the time, but I eventually moved on, and that is probably when I started not going as often over there. I still have MCC RSSed, and when Grant has an interesting post, I go over, but the fanposts just drove me crazy.

    So I'm glad that DrB turned me on to Fla-Giants' great posts on prospects, I know I'm missing out, but for my sanity, I have to put some limits. So if you see anything good, feel free to let me know, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Another example, true story: someone on radio has stupid idea, so I blog about how stupid it is, then somebody blogs that I had this stupid idea and ripped me a new one! Sigh... I wrote asking for a public apology but I guess I was asking for too much civility and ethical responsibility...

  32. Side thought/observation: any of you still crying over the victory? Smiling at sudden moments?

    Funny thing is that I get all emotional when I hear Fleming's call but not so much Kuiper's, though I love hearing it, over and over again, I recorded it off internet onto my phone. When I got time while wife shops, I play it back and relive the moment.

  33. Thanks for the comment "Is a Giants Fan", though I'm not sure why you then deleted it. But just wanted to say thank you anyway, much appreciated.

  34. As you know, I have been one of Sabean's detractors for a long time. I have been on this site debating with you the relative pros & cons of his administration. One thing I do have to say about Sabean this season is that he did make a series of very good moves during the season that changed the type of team that he started with. The shoring up of the bullpen and the addition of Ross & others (not so much Guillen) were exactly what the Giants needed to get over the hump. So I have to give Sabean credit for being savvy enough to make the moves necessary to get over the hump without mortgaging the future. In the past, he has had a problem with that.

    I maintained in my arguments that you need balance between pitching, defense & offense to be successful. You have consistently maintained that pitching & defense is really all that's necessary, especially when you get to the playoffs. In the end, we are both somewhat correct, in that the good pitching & defense carried us and gave us a decided advantage in the playoffs. But I am also partially correct that the balance in offense is also necessary, as we almost didn't make the playoffs, even with the mid-season moves to improve. In any case, who cares? The Giants won the crown and isn't that what really counts?

    One of the reasons that I comment here more often than anywhere else is that I can debate points with you and, in the end, not agree with you and it is OK as far as I am concerned. On the flip side, I think you have a problem with agreeing to disagree. It just doesn't sit right with you because you are convinced that your opinion is right.....and there is nothing wrong with that either. I think the difference between us is that I have an easier time accepting that, whereas you may feel that, by not convincing me, that you have failed somehow, when in reality that is not the case.

    As I've said to you before, don't take the fact that you can't convince everyone to agree with you as a failure on your part. I, for one, like to discuss things with people who don't necessarily agree with me. Discussion wouldn;t be much fun if we all had the same opinion.

  35. Thanks for the comment Boof.

    I have no problem with balance, I know that the Giants would win a lot more games with that and our pitching. It is the cost to get that balance that I have had a problem with.

    Most ideas I've seen required losing one of our starting pitching, because that is the cost of getting balance. I think most would agree that without our pitching, we would not have gone no where as far as we did. Whereas we picked up the offense off the slag heap on the cheap.

    That is exactly been my point, that the offense can be cobbled together and we can win with that.

    Besides, most of the trade ideas I've seen had the Giants giving up one of their ace-worthy pitchers for a hitter who either was not an equally great player or had many less years of control. Basically over pay to get that offense.

    I have no problem trading if we get value back (as I commented back to you on my most recent post). I just never saw such an idea that makes sense for the other team to do. I had a high sense of what the worth of Sanchez and others were.

    Even your idea of trading Sanchez for Jose Reyes, I would do that, he is a premier offensive player who is still young, I just don't see the Mets going for that, they will have a lesser opinion of Sanchez and any prospects we give up, unless we give up Belt, but I'm not trading him either, that's too much for Reyes.

  36. As far as agreeing to disagree, Boof, for me, it is all degrees. There are plenty of things I will let go. I just felt very strongly that the Giants had something very good building up and wanted everyone to understand that.

    I have learned from past interactions with groups that going with the flow and consensus just ends up poorly if you feel you know the right decision.

    For example, I was in this business war game simulation once with strangers, and I saw and understood the math of it and pushed for the best decision but was outvoted, but I decided to agree to disagree. When the results were announced, it turned out that what I suggested was right and the group said, "hey you were right" but still, we lost.

    Another time, I got face time with the big boss of the company in a group, had an idea, but the group didn't care/understand it, but then the ideas the group came up with he didn't care for all that much. We had a small window to speak later and I went with another idea that I knew the group would like instead of the idea that I thought the boss would like. He didn't think much of that either. Maybe my idea would have still been dismissed, but I should have went for what I thought was a better answer, took that risk.

    And not that I'm perfect, I know I can and will be wrong. But if I feel something to be right, from my analysis, I feel I must go all in on it. As I noted, I have to have a lot of evidence before I go strongly on one position or another. So it is not something I take lightly.

    As an analyst, I need to know the degree of certainty I feel about any particular position and decision. I just felt very strongly about the Giants rebuilding efforts.

    I agree that discussing with people who have opposing opinions is good. That is part of the reason why I went out to other sites and put my opinions out there, see how it falls out. Then I put the best ones here. :^)

    But it got very tiring after a while, particularly when I didn't feel that I'm being understood, or worse, I was pigeon-holed and labeled a "pollyanna" or "cherry-picker" or "blind supporter" or whatever. I see the comments and snickers, it is not like I can't see their comments, I am right there in the virtual room with them.

    If I feel strongly that I'm right, I am not going to agree to disagree, but I will approach my position from many different angles to see if there is anything I'm missing, that would change my position. That is part of the reason why I go out and repeat myself, maybe someone else will find that crack in my arguments. I know I have been wrong before, I know I have missed something before.

    That's part of the OCD, I remember a lot of my mistakes, and would scourge myself with the memory of these mistakes. Luckily, I'm blessed with a absent-minded professor memory, so if I don't repeat the mistake, it won't stick to my memories and fade away.

    I've also gotten soft with age too. :^)

    Well, softer at least.

    In any case, I can let some things go and agree to disagree, if I don't feel I have a lot of evidence to support my position. But if I do, then that's when I obstinately hold to my position.

  37. Also, so that they don't feel that I overlooked them, I wanted to say thanks to marc, steveb, and M.C. O'Connor. I just didn't have anything to add in response, but I greatly appreciated your feedback.

  38. I just saw this now. My apologies.

    I did remove the link, and I did it out of anger. It was petty to do it, as GRM suggested, and it was a childish and stupid response.

    I was so incensed by your comment, though, that I thought, "Hey, if he hates us all so much, why would I link to his site?" Stupid in retrospect. And then I forgot that I did it until now. I hope there are no hard feelings.

    The post-NLCS comment that precipitated it was pretty repugnant, though. Reading between the lines, you wanted apologies because Andres Torres turned into Carlos Beltran. Think about it. Without that, there isn't a division title or a playoff run. I wanted Sabean to be replaced because he had no idea how to build an offense. I liked Sabean's ability to build a bullpen and a pitching staff, and I loved the young rotation he had built. My fear was that it was all going to be wasted because he didn't know how to build an offense. For five straight years, the Giants were at the bottom of the league in runs scored and OBP. Because of that, I criticized him. I wanted him to go.

    The Giants hit enough to win a championship. I didn’t expect that. It was beautiful. It turns out that – for 2010, at least –Sabean’s willingness to adapt was more important than how he evaluated hitters. But I shouldn’t have to accept Sabean’s methods of evaluation in order to enjoy the Giants. He thought Jose Guillen would help the offense, and if it weren’t for a surprise HGH investigation, we would have had the fruits of that evaluation right in our face for every playoff game. Would Guillen have hit as well as Ross throughout the playoffs? Well, I don’t know for sure, but…

    If a new GM had been the one to win a championship, I sincerely doubt that I would have come here to chide you for supporting a GM who pretended that Dan Ortmeier was a legitimate option to start at first base. That’s why I was so upset. It felt really, really petty, and it felt like it was a personal attack on me.

    Regardless, go Giants, and I still like you and your site, and I’m pretty embarrassed about Linkgate. It was a crime of passion, what can I say?

  39. And to Dr. B: I miss you and your contributions to McC. Come back! Just wanted to clarify a couple of things. You wrote:

    Here's a scenario. Grant, the Alpha Male of MCC makes a statement like, "hey, look at Fred Lewis! He has the second best OBP on the team and his UZR says he's a much better fielder than most people who have watched him play think. I think the Giants should try Fred Lewis as the starting left fielder." And, Grant makes that and similar comments repeatedly.

    I was never big on Lewis. The first sentences of my Lewis-was-gone post were "It seemed weird that this site was one of the main hubs for Fred Lewis love. I liked the guy, sure, but I never thought of him as anything more than a fourth outfielder." Also, I'm a total sissy. Hardly an alpha-male.

    Second, you wrote:

    I mean, it got so ridiculous at one point that there was a post seriously theorizing that the only stat Sabean looks at is RBI's.

    If you can make an argument for Jose Guillen without RBI, I'd like to read it. Maybe not RBI, per se, but the general feeling that Player X is a "middle-of-the-order hitter." I know the Giants employ sabremetricians. I also know that Sabean doesn't have to listen to them, and when it comes to players like Guillen, I don't think he does.

  40. I just saw this now. My apologies.

    I did remove the link, and I did it out of anger. It was petty to do it, as GRM suggested, and it was a childish and stupid response.

    I was so incensed by your comment, though, that I thought, "Hey, if he hates us all so much, why would I link to his site?" Stupid in retrospect. And then I forgot that I did it until now. I hope there are no hard feelings.

    The post-NLCS comment that precipitated it was pretty repugnant, though. Reading between the lines, you wanted apologies because Andres Torres turned into Carlos Beltran. Think about it. Without that, there isn't a division title or a playoff run. I wanted Sabean to be replaced because he had no idea how to build an offense. I liked Sabean's ability to build a bullpen and a pitching staff, and I loved the young rotation he had built. My fear was that it was all going to be wasted because he didn't know how to build an offense. For five straight years, the Giants were at the bottom of the league in runs scored and OBP. Because of that, I criticized him. I wanted him to go.

    The Giants hit enough to win a championship. I didn’t expect that. It was beautiful. It turns out that – for 2010, at least –Sabean’s willingness to adapt was more important than how he evaluated hitters. But I shouldn’t have to accept Sabean’s methods of evaluation in order to enjoy the Giants. He thought Jose Guillen would help the offense, and if it weren’t for a surprise HGH investigation, we would have had the fruits of that evaluation right in our face for every playoff game. Would Guillen have hit as well as Ross throughout the playoffs? Well, I don’t know for sure, but…

    If a new GM had been the one to win a championship, I sincerely doubt that I would have come here to chide you for supporting a GM who pretended that Dan Ortmeier was a legitimate option to start at first base. That’s why I was so upset. It felt really, really petty, and it felt like it was a personal attack on me.

    Regardless, go Giants, and I still like you and your site, and I’m pretty embarrassed about Linkgate. It was a crime of passion, what can I say?

  41. This was really fun. I just read through all of the comments here, then went over to MCC and read their comments on this subject (which is in the 100s by the way).

    OCG, you definitely ruffled their feathers (I know that was not your intent).

    Not one of them could dispute your arguments here (which I found to be quite valid). Instead, they resorted to irrelevant and predictably childish comments.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Dr.B's assessment about Grant being the alpha male. When Grant commented about banning giantsrainman by saying, "I would prefer not to ban him, actually, but I prefer taking the easy way out more ... Also, it was petty for me to remove the link. I did it when I was pissed, and I forgot I had done so" his main pup, jponry and another member of the pack, giant4life83, quickly came to his defense, with the latter saying, "nobodys perfect, don't even sweat it Grant." (Yet we all know that when anyone else is "not perfect" they are roasted like chestnuts on an open fire.)

    In my opinion, OCG is a site where mature, educated, and self-actualized Giants fans congregate to discuss baseball. MCC, on the other hand, attracts bitter, insecure people who must fulfill their basic need to gripe.

    Abraham Maslow, anyone?

  42. Agreed with 22 Gigantes. MCC is more interested in their LOL cats and general hate for either

    a)fans who are supportive of Giants management
    b) Management in itself.

    OCG made an ill-advised comment, but then again, for all the work he puts into his posts, only to be made fun of constantly on MCC(before the NLCS comment), can anyone blame him for laughing at the doom-and-gloom crowd over there?

  43. Also, it amazes me that jponry is allowed to be A moderator on that site>. Countless times she has personally attacked posters, went to other teams sites to talk crap, and is in general an annoying assface. Doesn't surprise me she was the leader of the "Play Fred Lewis" brigade. Her baseball knowledge is non-existent.

  44. This blog is the worst Giants blog I have ever seen. It's so bad that I am seriously thinking about investing a few bucks into some bumper stickers that say "obsessivecompulsivegiants is a cock-sucking faggot. For a free blow job, visit his lame ass blog" and then slap them on random cars in a Wal-mart parking lot.



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