Here's what Brian Sabean needs to do:
1. Get a sock
2. Paint Gregor Blanco's face on the sock
3. Fill the sock with rocks and broken glass
4. Carry the sock around with him at all times
And when a Giants fan complains about this past offseason -- that they didn't get a shortstop, or that they didn't adequately plan for Freddy Sanchez's absence, or anything like that -- Sabean gets to run up and take a free swing with the Blanco sock. This goes for everyone. I'll take my licks; I deserve them. Sabean gets to drag that sock around everywhere with a crazed look in his eye. He earned it. He gets to do a "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" thing with a Gregor Blanco sock because Gregor Blanco is amazing.
There was a 28-year-old center fielder with speed and a career .358 OBP looking for a job this offseason. Blanco was the one who was looking. He wasn't aggressively pursued by anyone. He didn't get a major-league contract. A guy in the prime of his career with two undeniable tools and an ability to take a walk while playing a tough defensive position -- teams turned their noses up like he was a 400-pound shortstop.
In 2010, the Giants won the World Series with the help of a minor-league free agent in center field. In 2011, they unearthed a prospect from decades past, and he led the team in ERA. And in 2012, Gregor Blanco is the leadoff hitter that the Giants have lacked since … the last guy whom they picked up from the Salvation Army. It's a pretty impressive legacy of found money.
And so Sabean gets to carry around the Gregor Blanco sock.
"Smack smack, Sabean's Gregor Blanco sock came down, on your face (doo do doo do)/Smack smack Sabean's Gregor Blanco sock made your face bleed a whole bunch."
The song is a work in progress. But the sock is a good idea. Looks like I'll be writing piles and piles of suggestion-filled letters to the Giants' front office again. The found money of Gregor Blanco makes up for a lot of common complaints.
Barry Zito has been with the Giants for six seasons now. It seems really, really hard to believe. As much time in a Giants uniform as Russ Ortiz, Mark Gardner, and John Burkett. More time than Noah Lowry, Robb Nen, and Rick Reuschel.
He wasn't impressive in any of those seasons. He was a mess in a couple of them. But he's generally been valuable. Not valuable enough to pay him a third of what AT&T Park cost to build, but worthy of a spot in the rotation. Every start he made was a start that Ryan Sadowski didn't have to make, and I use Ryan Sadowski to represent the entire genre of replacement-level, in-house options. That's not the kind of things they make plaques for, but it's not like he's spent most of those six seasons actively making the team much, much worse.
So I'm curious to see how he'll be received in 10 years. Twenty years. What kind of reception will he get? Will there be Barry Zito bobbleheads in a couple decades? Will he throw out first pitches and join the broadcast booth? Or will he just slink away from the San Francisco eye and quietly live his life?
I'm genuinely interested. Because even though the contract was a disappointment, he sure has pitched a lot of games in a Giants uniform -- today's game was his 150th, putting him 16th in San Francisco Giants history, one behind Ed Halicki. He'll have a legacy that will include games like the debacle in Milwaukee, but also the well-pitched wins like today's.
Just food for thought. There's no other way to put a unique spin on his outing today: When he can locate well, he's pretty good. You've known this for the past six years. And when it's happening, it's fun to watch.
Also fun to watch: The Giants, at least right now. It's easy to overreact to the losses as if they're the end of the world, but the Giants haven't lost a series since the Dodgers series three weeks ago. That's a danged fine stretch of baseball, especially considering they haven't had a day off in a long time.