Six days ago, the Giants gave away a Travis Ishikawa bobblehead. It was a fancy one that had a sound chip and required a special-event ticket. On June 13, more Ishikawa bobbleheads will be given away. Ishikawa is no longer on the 40-man roster, as the Giants designated him for assignment on Monday. This is awkward.
It was almost predictable, too, except it was hard to tell just how nostalgic the Giants were going to be. Ishikawa is reportedly one of the sweetest fellers in the clubhouse, and he was responsible for one of the greatest moments in franchise history. He was also a backup left-handed first baseman on a team that needed 159 different things before a backup left-handed first baseman. It was a fascinating clash of priorities.
The Giants chose pragmatism over sentiment. Ishikawa will have to clear waivers, but considering his $1 million salary and limited skill set, he likely will. And if he wants to hang onto that guaranteed money, he would need to accept an assignment to the minors. That means this isn't a permanent goodbye (for the second time), but something a little more temporary. With some hot Sacramento hitting, there's a chance Ishikawa will be back in the event of an injury or when rosters expand.
For now, though, our happiest Ishikawa memories will have to remain in the past, where they were always likely to remain in the first place. In the 21st round of the Moneyball draft, the Giants did something they almost never did, spending extra money to buy out the college commitment of a two-sport star. A dozen years later, that player helped them win the pennant. Along the way, none of it made sense.
Thanks, Travis Ishikawa, and we'll still probably see you soon.