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The Power of Indifference

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Peter Magowan is stepping down, and I have no idea what that means.

Who’s with me?

I’m getting e-mails on the subject from some folks, and the message of the e-mail can be reduced to "good riddance." Then I listen to KNBR, and there’s a strong contingent that is absolutely crushed at the news. So I feel like a moron because I have no idea what the guy actually did.

  • When Brian Sabean wanted to sign Michael Tucker, did Magowan say, "You can have two million dollars extra for the payroll, but you have to reallocate that money from the player development budget"?
  • If Sabean understood that the best chance to rebuild would come with a trade of Jason Schmidt at the 2006 trading deadline, did Magowan reject any such trade?
  • When Sabean came on as the GM, was it Magowan who decided that it would be more efficient to build a team around Barry Bonds and complementary parts rather than invest in another superstar to help Bonds in the lineup?
  • Did Magowan override the concerns of his front office staff in order to have Barry Zito signed to a ridiculous contract?

My answer to all of those questions: Man, I have no idea. Those are some Bob Woodward fly-on-the-wall kind of questions, and we’ll probably never know who was responsible for what. Maybe Magowan was an Al Davis-type who always thought he knew more about the game than the GM or scouts.

Maybe. But it’s a little hard to believe that Sabean was just a puppet for Magowan’s organizational philosophies. It’s a little hard to believe that Magowan saw a pressing need for Dave Roberts that overrode any misgivings Sabean might have had. It’s a little hard to believe that Magowan was the person responsible for a AAA team that didn’t have a shortstop who could fill in for a month. It’s a little hard to believe that Sabean has looked at every roster he’s constructed over the past three years, and said, man, I can’t believe I was forced to put this thing together.

Again, I have no idea. Maybe that kind of is what happened, and the real Sabean can shine now. The most reasonable assumption, though, is that the person who is mostly responsible for the 17-28 Giants is still making the decisions. With that in mind, Magowan’s reduced role means about as much to me as a roster move to replace Vinnie Chulk with Bartolome Fortunato.

Comment starter: I’m pretty sure that I’m wrong on this one. Tell me why I should be concerned or elated about Magowan stepping down.