The S.S. Bad Lineup

The new rage - from the Chronicle to the New York Times - is the "OMG: Giants' Clubhouse Is Way Different and Better Without Bonds"-article. This brings us to story time. Gather around in a circle as I spin a short yarn. Milk and cookies are optional.

I once worked with the most unbearable person in the world. You can bring your contender to the table, but my guy wins. The National Salesman Anti-Defamation League's efforts are almost completely negated by this one man, who continually reinforces every awful stereotype laid upon salespeople. He dressed in million-dollar suits and had crazy-gel hair. He constantly winked. He would talk loudly on his cell phone about his weekend conquests. He would eat your lunch if you left it in the fridge and then lie about it. And if it meant a $25 commission, he would sell $40,000 worth of merchandise for $90,000 to someone who could only afford $1,000.

He was/is a truly awful man. Almost sociopathic, now that I think of it. He also had the best sales numbers the company had ever seen. It was fiscal paradise for the company while he was there.

He left to get into the mortgage business. I'm sure that's working out well for his clients right now. When he left, everyone celebrated. People thought his numbers were negated by the poor morale in his division. The company replaced him with a very pleasant guy who couldn't sell beer to a fraternity. Sales numbers plummeted. There was chaos. Regional managers took the fall, but only after the on-site managers went down in flames first.

This isn't an analogy. This is an anecdote. I've been sitting on it for a few years, waiting for just the right moment to relate it to Bonds. And I give this chummy-go-lucky clubhouse feeling about two months before the eventual anarchy sets in. This might be the worst lineup we'll see the Giants field in our lifetimes. About half of the lineup will have below-average numbers for a shortstop. The other half will probably hit like average to above-average shortstops. This is a lineup of shortstops. Except for the shortstop, that is, who's like a second pitcher. It's going to be ugly. Teams that lose ugly usually don't have great chemistry.

I hope I'm wrong. I really do. But I'm also really sick of the "Yay, Clubhouse Spirit!"-articles.

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