Ratto: Sabean Slapped? Blame the Voters

November 3, 2010, 8:19 pm
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Nov. 3, 2010


Ray Ratto

Weencourage you to read and enjoy The Sporting News, because in the wordsthat grace the motto of Faber College, Knowledge Is Good. Never passa chance to broaden your outlook.

That said, Giant fans will probably scratch their heads today at thewhole that TSN, through a vote of 24 team executives, determined thatWalt Jocketty of Cincinnati was the major league Executive of the Year,rather than someone (Brian Sabean) closer (Brian Sabean) to home (BrianSabean).

This is not the Sporting News fault. It sends out ballots, it countsvotes, and it reports the result. Period. If there is spleen to vent,it should be vented with the voters.

Which, we would be willing to bet, did not include Sabean, who isnt normally one to spend a lot of time on such pursuits.

Jocketty is by any measure a fine choice; his team had far lesspedigree and hope of reaching the postseason based on last yearsperformance and this years expectations, which is how those votesusually run.

That same panel of general managers also saw Bud Black of San Diego asthe manager of the year, Jason Heyward of Atlanta as the rookie of theyear, and Heath Bell of San Diego as the closer of the year. Alsoworthy candidates.

And one other thing: the balloting closed before the playoffs began, so the Giants postseason could not be taken into account.

But the fact is, and you need to take this into account, that theGiants are likely to be equally ignored when the most prestigiousawards, given by the Baseball Writers Association of America, areannounced later this month.

And maybe thats part of the appeal of this team. Nobody stood out, but everyone stood up.

The case for Sabean is fairly clear; he changed a third of his OpeningDay roster, and missed on only one decision, Jose (What, No UPSAccount?) Guillen. So, too, are the cases for rookie Buster Posey,closer Brian Wilson and manager Bruce Bochy.

But theirs arent the only compelling cases. Bell, Heyward and Blacksurely had legitimate arguments to be made their way. Its not like the24 general managers got drunk and voted for Francisco Cordero, AlcidesEscobar and Jerry Manuel.

The point, though, is that the Giants didnt evolve into a team thatshould hold much trophy weight save the one big one with the all pointyflagpoles on it. They just performed as required when all the chipswere in the middle of the table, so maybe they should have been namedthe Full Tilt Poker players of the year.

It would be interesting to know how the general managers voted beyondfirst, although the Sporting News doesnt break it down for second,third, fourth or 24th, as the BBWAA does. Maybe the Giants just have abunch of silver medalists.

And that may be its own metaphor in a season full of them. Becausethere was no central figure to stratify the clubhouse, the teamdeveloped as free-range rogues, rounders and utility players. Nobodycommanded the room, so it could grow and evolve organically, eachplayer free to contribute his share to the general tone.

Or maybe thats just a boatload. Maybe the Giants simply didnt havethe best player at any position, but enough at every position so thatthe superior pitching wasnt impeded in any way save, of course,consistent run support.

This would not be unprecedented. The 1990 Cincinnati Reds swept theOakland As, and won nothing unless you want to count Barry LarkinsSilver Slugger award and no, the Giants wont have one of those,either.

Anyway, the point is made. The Giants have a championship that in anational context wont be fully remembered and understood until theywin another.

But no pressure, boys. Just try to have designated drivers set up for the post-parade.