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September marketing idea #2: The 10-game winner contest

If the Giants won’t gamefy a home run chase, why not a 10-win pitcher’s race?

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Last night, I suggested the Giants and their various broadcast entities band together to market non-playoff race September baseball with a home run chase. The Giants don’t really “do” home runs, so setting up a competition to see if any of their players could get to 20 felt like a fun diversion from a season of disappointing mediocrity.

Along those lines, the Giants haven’t had a 10+-game winning pitcher since 2016, when Bumgarner, Cueto, and Samardzija had 15, 18, and 12, respectively. This season, the Giants have two 6-game winners (D-Rod and Ty Blach), a 7-game winner (Derek Last Name), and an 8-game winner (Chris Stratton). Pitching wins don’t matter from a statistical/evaluative standpoint, but that doesn’t mean they’re totally without value. For instance, a team hoping to stave off an attendance/viewership collapse could stoke the flames of enthusiasm with a spirited competition and reward for the first pitcher to reach 10 wins.

In my 20-home run chase situation, I suggested the winner could direct $20,000 to a cause of his choice: an after school program, other charity, or family in need. You could do the same with the pitching competition, directing $10,000 to a player’s cause. OR, you could do something more outside the box (though, really, I think money is a pretty good motivation for baseball players) and say that the first pitcher to reach 10 wins gets to make the lineup card one day... or straight up manage the game. Maybe he gets to decide what the rookies wear as part of their September humiliation hazing.

We all agree that pitcher wins tell us nothing about the season they’re having and 10 is a paltry number for a rotation starter, but in a season with few accomplishments, creating meager goals is a worthy endeavor. Do I need the Giants to do something to commemorate a 10-win pitcher? Not really. I’d much prefer they do something with that 20-home run hitter, since it’s now one of the rarest accomplishments in franchise history; but in a month that will be forgotten every easily, why not strive to create something memorable?