And so it ended not with a bang or even a thud but a faint cellphone ring baseballs Winter Meetings turned out to be something that happened to other people.
The Giants made an intriguing but mild move for Angel Pagan, hoping he is ready, willing and able to be their leadoff-hitting center fielder. And that was it. The As felt other people kicking their tires and defined the meetings as a great time to be a seller.
Well, hell. Seems hardly worth it.
We do tend to evaluate a general managers work by how much action he engaged in, not how much better the team might have been made. We are second-generation junkies that way -- we decide the meetings are a success if we had a lot to talk about.
And in that light, these meetings were a full-on crashing bore.
Sabean dealt a player the Giants really had basically cut bait on in Andres Torres, and a reliever he still had some use for in Ramon Ramirez, all to get Pagan, who could either end up to be Brett Butler good or Dave Roberts not. And that was that. He could not make even phony plays at any big names, which we all knew ahead of time, and most of his time was spent trying to figure out how badly Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain were going to hurt him.
NEWS: Giants get Pagan
Billy Beane, on the other hand, fiddled at the edges, mostly leaning back and waiting for the army of Gio Gonzalez suitors to pile their offerings before the door. No piles were sufficiently high enough, though, and Beane left knowing that unless all the cellphone satellites went down tonight, he would still be doing business.
NEWS: Gio preparing for 2012 with A's
Business that would be lots of fun for him because being the pursued is always more fun, but almost none at all for anyone else. The Winter Meetings from the wrong side of the door.
So, with the Giants unable to do anything other than take in Pagan and ship out Torres, Ramirez, Cody Ross and Carlos Beltran, and the As just waiting for phone calls, these three days in Dallas offered so little fun that our two little teams may as well as stayed home for all the good it did them.
NEWS: Sabean says no to Beltran, Ross
I mean, what does the Hilton Anatole have that Sabeans rec room doesnt? And cant Beane watch all the Champions League soccer he wants at home?
Thats the problem with the meetings. They typically promise so much, but only a few teams ever really get to play at them. Its mostly an agents bazaar, and neither the Giants nor the As are beloved teams for agents. The Giants, because their payroll is mostly tied up in players they already have, and the As because their payroll is mostly tied up in a vault in John Fishers office.
Of course, the back end of this delicious little farce is that the meetings dont end conversations, negotiations or deals. The Giants can still do something more radical than an out-of-favor outfielder whose own teammates referred to him as El Caballo Loco, and the As can dangle Gonzalez until every team in baseball kicks the tires a few times.
But for meaningful play, and the kind of action that makes the meetings such a tease, we got remarkably little. Fortunately the Warriors are spinning barely conceivable Chris Paul trade tales, otherwise wed have nothing but our thoughts, and that half-worked bottle of Old Overshoe.
NEWS: Warriors' Curry on Paul rumors
Which, in this holiday season, is not a bad consolation prize.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com