Farhan Zaidi’s tenure with the San Francisco Giants is wildly incomplete. He’s only been with the organization for about a year and a half, which is not nearly enough time to turn around a bad team with a case of oversized contracts and a drowning farm system.
So opinions on him vary.
Many (myself included) were fans of what he did with the Los Angeles Dodgers and thought he’d be great. Many others thought he wasn’t good at all. And perhaps the largest portion of the fanbase simply didn’t have a strong opinion either way.
Along the way he’s won points with some people and lost points with others. Many criticized the excessive roster churning, which led to a National League record 64 players a year ago, and wildly short leashes on some players. Many credit him for not only finding, but developing players like Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson. Many (myself included) were angry that he opted to hire Gabe Kapler as manager, given Kapler’s record off the field. Many (myself included) are impressed with the job he did at the trade deadline a year ago.
And so on and so forth.
No matter how you feel about Zaidi’s baseball decisions, I’m guessing that most of us can agree that best move since joining the Giants came on Thursday.
In an interview with The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly, Zaidi was unprompted when he decided to speak about Guy Phillips, a city council member in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the Giants just finished work on a new $50 million facility. Phillips recently appeared at an anti-mask rally in which he mocked George Floyd, repeatedly saying, “I can’t breath” — a reference to Floyd’s final words when he was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.
Zaidi didn’t mince words, nor should he have.
“I mean, fuck that guy,” he said. “You can quote me on that. Fuck that guy.”
The president of baseball operations dismissed Phillips’ half-assed apology, saying, “I think anyone would have difficulty getting beyond the abhorrent insensitivity of his statement.”
With the Giants intending to let the city of Scottsdale use their facility for non-baseball events, Zaidi alluded to the team potentially leveraging their power a little bit, saying, “I know we’ll have some internal conversations about that ... As for what recourse we have, I wouldn’t want to speak to that. But I’m fucking pissed about it. And I know I speak for a lot of people when I say that.”
Now, I don’t want to give Zaidi too big of a pat on the back for denouncing someone who managed to be blatantly racist while rejecting public safety in one fell swoop. But comments of this sort are rare in baseball — and in sports in general.
It would have been much easier for Zaidi to not bring up Phillips, or to answer diplomatically had Baggarly brought up the topic — especially considering who owns the Giants.
But he didn’t. It makes him that much easier to support for fans, and perhaps makes it a little easier to be a Giants employee or player, knowing the voice at the top isn’t shy about speaking up. It’s hard to say it much more clearly than he did.
“Fuck that guy.”