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Kickstarting the San Francisco Giants

Some of the San Francisco Giants see that they don't have to pay out of pocket for stuff and are now asking ardent fans and crowdfunding enthusiasts to help them start and complete their pet projects.

A picture of Brandon Crawford kinda-sorta jump-kicking, as this is a post about kick-starting.
A picture of Brandon Crawford kinda-sorta jump-kicking, as this is a post about kick-starting.
Denis Poroy

It's all the rage now. If you're a millionaire wanting to do something (like make more money or, say, have a meaningful life experience) that costs money you don't spend your own cash to accomplish your goal, you crowdfund it!

The key is to have a support system already in place. A strong fan base will get you anywhere you want to go. There's Kevin Kelly's theory of 1,000 True Fans, of course, but there is also one simple website where anyone with any number of fans can put up any idea that any part of their body or personal support system came up with and solicit funds from total strangers to make their "dream" come true.

The San Francisco Giants are human beings susceptible to fads just as easily as the rest of us. Most of them recognize the value of not spending their salaries on flights of fancy. Instead, some of them have opted to enlist Giants fans and crowdfunding enthusiasts to make their lives complete.

I searched one of the popular crowdfunding platforms specifically for Giants projects and have compiled the results and my reviews here for your pleasure. Brace yourselves. These guys are not shy about getting us to foot the bill for something none of us would ever possibly need or appreciate at a distance or benefit from at any point. This isn't kicking in money to get a movie made so that we can watch it someday. Not even close. Here are five that I found, ranked in ascending order of cost and/or weirdness:

5. Brandon Belt


From the project description:

Tired of looking like you just lost a buttload of cash at the roulette wheel in front of thousands of people? This graphite and leather support vest guarantees you'll look like the cock of the walk everywhere and always. No matter how disappointing life can be, they'll never see you sweat when you're wearing The Slump-Humper.

What could possibly go wrong?

For one thing: it looks uncomfortable to wear, which I suppose is the point, but why would you want to wear a bulky contraption like that just to look good in the eyes of irrational and fickle fans?

Also, I think asking for $20,000 is over the top. No way does a prototype cost that much. Not for something like this. Sure, Brandon Belt strikes out a lot and seems to pout after he does so, but I'm not sure how much this device is going to change the public's perception of his body language. The designs contained on the project page don't exactly make me confident, either, as I doubt "neck hole" is an accurate engineering term.

Still, I think this is a worthwhile project. I don't really like the name, though. Don't really understand how a slump gets humped, but I suppose that wearing the vest for a prolonged period of time makes you a humpback of some kind. Maybe? I don't know.

4. Jean Machi


From the project description:

The life of a minor leaguer is rough. It's chaotic, hard. In uncertain times we seek out something consistent, something to call home. For career minor leaguer Jean Machi home was NBC's "The Office": a consistently funny show for seven seasons that made Jean laugh and appreciate the American culture he had been dropped into. That is until star Steve Carell left. For the past two years, the show has been a painfully unfunny train wreck that has turned an ardent viewer into an angry dude who just wants to fart all over it. Help send Jean Machi to Los Angeles so he can fart on the show he once loved.

What could possibly go wrong?

Technically, "The Office" wrapped production, like, six weeks ago, so he wouldn't be blasting the cast and crew. However, the show was shot in a real office park, in a building that's still there, so, he could essentially go and fill the space with his mace, maybe killing the ghost of Kathy Bates' unfunny CEO character in the process. I'm not sure what the security is like there, and I doubt the $1,000 Machi is looking to raise would cover bail or any other legal fees he'd incur from trespassing on private property. Of course, maybe he won't get caught! Maybe he could use his "celebrity" to actually get an invitation to do this.

But even after making the prorated major-league minimum this year Jean should still be able to do this out of pocket. And $1,000 for a plane ticket and incidentals (that's what the crowdfunding would cover) feels like too much. And why didn't he do this during the opening series against the Dodgers? He could've leveraged his existing relationships and proximity to the office park to get this done. This particular Kickstarter seems pretty frivolous and, unlike Belt's, a lot less practical.

3. Buster Posey


From the project description:


What could possibly go wrong?

This one was obviously started by whoever is the craziest person in Buster Posey's "camp." I find it hard to believe that Buster actually supports this project, but maybe the person who started it is like a savant or something in one particular area (he's really good at keeping track of the luggage, or setting up the favorites menu on his TV) and so in order to keep this person on Team Posey, he's just letting this person do whatever s/he wants...

Which in this case is to construct a plastic, fiberglass, and iron tomb ahead of Buster Posey's eventual death. The tomb would have "preservative air conditioning" (whatever that means), "Wi-Fi" (of course), and "most importantly"


By the way, whoever wrote this used all caps. I know, I know.

Yes, Buster Posey is a magnificent creature, a perfect baseball player, last year's MVP, the Giants' Forever-MVP, and America. Somehow, though, equating him with Jesus Christ feels wrong. I think it's because Buster can hit a curveball.

The project's goal was $3 million. As you can see, it's blown way past that. Buster Posey is a popular fellow.

2. Barry Zito


From the project description:

Barry Zito can't make it to Bonnarroo this year on account of work, natch. So, let's send one of his world-class omelets there on his behalf! He's already picked out the acts he wants to see and the Bonnarroo organizers are totally on board with this, so all that's needed is a little bit o' fundage!

What could possibly go wrong?

We know Barry Zito plays acoustic guitar. He's jammed with Metallica. We know Barry Zito loves omelets thanks to Showtime's "The Franchise". We know he's a kooky guy because ESPN told us so so long ago. So a project this eclectic or kooky or downright absurd feels completely right... because it's Zito.

$100,000 actually feels less ridiculous than the other projects' goals because what he'd need to pull this off can get pricey in a hurry. First class travel. Tickets to Bonnarroo (though, if the event organizers are already on board with this plan it seems like they'd comp or otherwise discount the ticket, but whatever). A state-of-the-art refrigeration unit with a viewing window, web cam, and 4G antenna so that the omelet can watch the performances *and* stream them to #75.

It all seems pretty unnecessary until you remember that this is Barry Zito.

Oh, and the omelet's ingredients: egg whites, avocado, diced tomatoes, diced onions, diced olives, parsley, cucumber, vegan cheese, olive oil.

1. Ron Wotus


From the project description:

Come on. He deserves this.

What could possibly go wrong?

Ron Wotus wants Giants fans and crowdfunding enthusiasts to raise a billion dollars ("Thanks, Magic Johnson, for helping to inflate the value of every major league franchise!") to essentially buy in to Major League Baseball's ownership cabal and create a 31st team. I think unbalancing the number of teams is what makes this the most outlandish project. I doubt MLB owners would reject a billion dollars to start a new team. But then the number would be odd! And where would you put it? The project page offers some suggestions, but it seems to me that in the time that it would take to get this project funded, a site picked out for a stadium, the construction of that stadium, and the assemblage and subsequent fielding of this new team Ron would be better off finding a job with an existing team.

The Giants have been scratching their heads the past few offseasons wondering why existing teams haven't asked to interview their bench coach. He came closest to getting a shot this offseason when the Rockies were reported to be interested. The Red Sox went with Bobby Valentine last season. The Blue Jays brought back John Gibbons after previously firing John Gibbons. Jim Tracy was a major league manager for a long time. Don Mattingly delights hiring executives with his story of the time Joe Torre accidentally referred to him as a quality manager. So it's not like Ron Wotus doesn't hold his own with the field. Again, Jim Tracy.

Of course Ron Wotus deserves a shot at managing an ML team. I'm inclined to contribute to this project just to see that happen.