Let me get this straight: I wasn't able to watch the game last night, and not only does Shea Hillenbrand knock in the winning run with a clutch two out single after Ray Durham stole a base to get in scoring position, but Benitez closes it out with a 1-2-3 9th inning? That's like skipping the annual camping trip with your buddies only to find out later they all saw Sasquatch. The only real point in me writing anything about the game would be to regurgitate what I picked up from the highlights, box score and game recaps, and nobody wants that. So instead, we're going to have a contest.
As some of you already know, I was recently, and very publicly, outed in the comments section of a diary (sorry, link not nearly as interesting as it sounds). Yes, it's true, I am Brian Sabean. And not in that "I am Sparticus" or "I am Tiger Woods", symbolic kind of way. I have been acting as our GM on this site for the purpose of amusement, or bemusement as the case may be, for some time. Now that my secret is finally out, the truth behind it can finally be told.
Around the beginning of last season, Grant held a kind of trivia contest concerning the 2000 Giants team, the reward for winning being the screen name of "Brian Sabean", which he had used a couple of times if memory serves. I desperately desired the name, but Pants Man won the contest. To be perfectly honest, I was jobbed -- I lost by one and there was a trick question (no way was Ellis Burks the fastest Giant to first base that year, I refuse to believe it!), but lost my appeal to the commisioner's office. I thought the precious screen name had eluded me forever. But Pants graciously decided to put the moniker back up for grabs again in another contest, a Brian Sabean write-alike contest. I took home the prize with a Robert Evans-inspired braggart kind of voice. I've been posting as Brian Sabean ever since, well over a year. That streak ends today. I feel like it's time to pass the mantel, so it's up for grabs, starting at the end of this post.
Recently, I just haven't felt the joy for performing as Sabean's mouthpiece. The first rule in writing of anybody's voice is that you have to learn to love that character, or at least who the character sees themselves to be. That's why the best villians in film are always written and played with so much pride -- because the writer and actor treat the villian like the star of their own movie. I used to feel that way about Sabes, but as time passes, I don't know if I have the affection to get inside his head anymore. See, Sabes has not only developed a nasty habit of making moves I disagree with lately, but on two occasions those trades invloved him trading away two of my favorite players on the team -- Joe Nathan and Jeremy Accardo.
And it doesn't help that Sabean's recent strategy seems to lack any trace of imaginaition. While fans and writers alike have suggested courses of action which are fresh and inventive, Sabean has recycled the same old modes of thinking he always has. I loved Ken Rosenthal's thought that the Giants could acquire highly paid vets like Bobby Abreu, Andruw Jones or Pat Burrell from teams looking for salary relief without giving up much in terms of prospects because of their wide open 2007 payroll commitment. I also liked the idea proposed by some that the Giants could make a Billy Beane-type buy/sell move, where they dump a veteran and pick up some younger players which could help right away. The Bad Lefty made the point that during the small sample size which comprises the final two months of the season, a Brandon McCarthy or Aaron Heilman might even outperform Schmidt, as well as give the team a stronger base for the future. But Sabean was stuck in that old line of thinking: Must. Acquire. Fungible. Veterans.
In the space of 10 years, my feelings toward Sabes have gone from fear and mistrust (1996), to outright man-crush (1997-2002), to respect and admiration in ('03-'04), to disappointed but loyal ('05), to exasperated ('06). But I wonder what else is out there. I've always been one who believed you don't give up what you have unless you already have a better alternative in mind. And, like any long term relationship, my roots are dug in so far after all this time, one wonders if anyone else will ever truly please me again either. I actually stole that analogy from a really crappy movie, CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN. I apologize -- I usually try to only steal my material from decent movies. But the sentiment there is true -- there's a lot invested here, and because of that, I'm not sure I'm ready just yet to move on. In short, I don't hate Brian Sabean, I don't necessarily want to see him go away. I just don't want to be him anymore.
I considered asking everybody to write in with their best Sabean imitations, but I realized that a lot of people might not have the motivation required for that. I thought about having a trivia contest, but everytime I ask a trivia question on this site I get about two responses. So, I did include some trivia questions below, but you should not feel compelled to answer them. Because, while I will take the trivia into account, you can still win this contest without answering a single question. If you prefer, you can write in with anything you want. Write in with a Sabes impersonation if you like. If that doesn't float your boat, write in with a rant on him, or spring to his defence. Or construct some Sabes-related photoshop piece or artwork of some kind (Natto, here's your chance!). If you don't like that, write in with comments on anything else Giants-related. Last night's game, trade rumors, whatever. If you're not in the mood for that, write about something else baseball-related. Or something completely unrelated to baseball. I don't really care. I'll give the screen name away to my favorite comment, whatever form it may take. Confused? Good. It's the most disorganized contest ever!
One caveat: I'd like to leave it up to the winner whether or not to keep their true identity a secret, so if you want to win the screen name please have your e-mail address on your profile page (at least for the next day or two), so we can converse away from prying eyes. (I promise I won't stalk you.)
(in ascending order of difficulty and point value)
- During a pennent race, the Giants made a deal for a future NL MVP in exchange for a future NL Cy Young. What's more, the players would win their awards for their new teams in the very same year. Who were the players?
- Best friends Jeffrey "Hac Man" Leonard and Chili Davis both hit their 100th career HR in the same game, but that feat was greatly overshadowed by another storyline -- an accomplishemnt which had not been accomplished in 16 years. What was the lead story that night?
- In a blowout win at Candlestick, Mike LaCoss hit his first career HR, and he did it against a utility man pitching in mop-up relief. Who was that utility player?
- A Giants starter allowed HRs to the first 3 batters to start a game. Who was the pitcher? (Bonus points if you can name the hitters who went deep as well.)
- A veteran OF who had hit 25+ HR the previous year went through such a long HR drought (ending up with just 5 HR in a full season), that when he finally homered at Candlestick to end the streak, he actually did a cartwheel as he crossed home plate. Who was the player?
Alright, let's do this thing. The Sabean screen name must go, and it must go now.