Calculating Billy's VORW

September 21, 2011, 5:10 pm
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Rumors that Billy The Homeless Guy will not be renewed for 2012 are running rampant after the Giants designated gate mascot took a two-month powder when the team went into its playoff-preventing slump.Of course, nobody is suggesting turning the bat rack into a terrarium or the batting cage into a luxury bunker, but times are hard when you dont make the postseason, and a new broom sweeps clean.
You know of Billy, who used to loiter outside the Giants player entrance behind the left field stands to greet the players and pick up a scrap of kindness or fuel for the day. He headed south without reporting to any of the Giants because, in the words of Andrew Baggarly, P.I. quoting the backup left fielder, It was time. It's warm here.SEE? ONE MORE FREE AGENT WHO REJECTED THE BALLPARK!But we digress.Point is, he left, and the Giants took the pipe. John McGraw had a mascot too back in the day whose principal job seemed to be being around for luck, so this could have been one more of those marketing-nostalgia things except for the fact that Billy was no mascot. For one thing, he didnt dress up like the idiot seal, and for two, he didnt bother people as part of his job.His job was to be Billy, and at that he was superb. But he did bail, and it doesnt really mitigate that he wasted none of his fabled sorceries on either the Padres or Dodgers. I mean, we could say he helped cause the McCourt disaster, but thats such a loaded concept that were loath to do so.But the new regime that gave Bill Neukom a commemorative keychain and a bus schedule is clearly going to renegotiate the Billy deal, and with lower expected revenue coming off a non-playoff year, these negotiations could get dicey. Billy clearly has a mind of his own, and he may have options. We have no way of verifying this, but we believe like every other year, this is Billys walk year, and his agent, which is probably Billy, should be able to make a compelling case.I was here, and you hit, and you won. I went away, and you didnt. Do the math, ladies and gentlemen.If it were us, wed pay. But these are the new Giants, with new goals and priorities. Maybe they shave a little off the top by putting him on the cover of the 12 media guide, or giving him Aaron Rowands jersey number, or building a small but fully functional home by the player gate.I mean, we cant really figure out his WAR because nobody else plays his position, and his VORW Value Over Replacement Wanderer is not easy to fully calculate.But you either want to win, or you dont. Unlike the Giants next rookie crop, Billy is a proven commodity, and smart teams pay for that kind of experience. Heres hoping the Giants understand that you cant find Billys on every team, and when you get one, you do what you can to keep him. Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com