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Thursday BP, 4/19/18

There’s usually more to it than you think...

San Franciso Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

First, a brief bit of housekeeping. There will be expanded coverage on the weekends now, beyond just Minor Lines, game threads, and recaps. You’ll be seeing Saturday and Sunday BPs and other articles that cover pre-game news bits, etc. similar to the weekday coverage. I’ll be looking at other material to post during this time, too, including more Fanposts and Fanshots.

Expect more disruption of your daily routine as the site evolves and we all get into a new rhythm. From a story standpoint, we will be going in a lot of different directions this season and I hope that makes the place inviting to newcomers while at the same time providing plenty of space for the primary community to chat on the same stoops and corners it’s used to; Grant can’t be simply replaced with one person, so, it makes the most sense to me to replace in the aggregate with talented, interesting voices who can do their own specific thing in the McCovey Chronicles / Giants fan universe.

So, on that note, be kind to each other, be open to each other’s views, and when you don’t like something someone writes, consider if your response is measured enough that you can handle the consequences. For example, I know I am just the worst, and so when I get feedback that indicates as much, my response to or absorption of that feedback won’t be a blind reaction that will make matters worse.

I’m not sure I’ve ever posted my official Termination Doctrine for Major League Baseball teams, but here it goes:

The manager benches players to save his job. However, he can only bench a player when it’s safe for him to do so. A manager can’t bench or admonish blindly because he’ll jeopardize his relationship with players in the clubhouse. That may not matter to some baseball fans, but it’s an important feature of being a person in the world that can’t be ignored: when you work with human beings, you have to treat them as human beings. When you’re hired to manage human beings, ignoring that humanity is not only dumb it’s really dumb.

Can we criticize managers for sticking with struggling veterans for too long? Of course. Have there been instances where managers have been loyal to struggling veterans to a fault? Absolutely. But the fragile egos of the performance athlete practically dictate a manager play a slow hand. So, to bring this from an abstraction to a reality: benching Hunter Pence because he looks lost out there could do damage to the confidence of Andrew McCutchen, Austin Jackson, and maybe even the Brandons. Not Nick Hundley, of course, because he’s the best hitter on the team, but all these other guys who might be scuffling a bit or pressing to hit better.

So, it’s not just because of nostalgia or just because Pence is a veteran at the end of his career. Or, at the very least, there are more reasons behind decisions and lack of action than we consider in our knee-jerk reactions to lineups and AAA starts.

Okay, now the manager has benched a guy. He’d better hope that guy’s replacement does better, because if not, we go back to the matter of damaging clubhouse relationships. But more importantly, the team might not be playing much better even with the change. Uh-oh! Now who’s fault is it?

The general manager fires the field manager to save his job, and only then it’s because a preponderance of decisions beforehand didn’t pan out or simply blew up in his face. Didn’t spend any time hiring the right people to develop a farm system? Fire the manager. Didn’t make any trades or signings for fringe players to fill in the margins? Fire the manager. Overpaid for a closer, thereby eradicating financial flexibility to make other needed moves? Fire. That. Manager.

But what if you’re the GM and your manager is a Hall of Famer and your moves have been so public everyone knows it’s on you and not the manager? Ah, and the team is still underperforming or outright bad? Well, now you’re in this mess together. Unless...

The ownership fires the general manager and the front office personnel to preserve the base of season ticketholders and corporate sponsorships. But an ownership group comprised of so many shareholders won’t be easily convinced by a couple of front office types to tank a franchise in order to rebuild. While Charles Johnson holds the majority share and Larry Baer has strong influence regarding baseball operations, there simply won’t be a consensus among so many people (there are 29 people listed as principal owners) to go in such a controversial direction.

Only a charismatic sociopath can convince the owners of the San Francisco Giants to tank the franchise for 5+ years in hopes of properly rebuilding the organization to compete in an industry that might make a quantum leap in evolution by the time they catch up to the current evolution. There are no guarantees, so for the moment, the Giants have committed themselves to being about their people.