Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Once again, the Giants pitching woes can hold them back.

Marty; It’s really a pleasure hearing from you and Amaury at the same time. There is no other major sport which allows the fans, over a long season, to constantly talk with each other about day by day problems and predictions, commiserate and criticize. Getting our minds removed for a short time at least from the everyday life and death problems the front pages shout out is a benefit we should accept gratefully.

Now some thoughts provoked by you and Amaury. The A’s, assuming they had the opportunity, should have retained Tejada rather than Chavez. Tejada is a ball player with the stature very close to the best player in the game today, Guerrero. These are great players. It is unlikely Chavez will ever justify that description. He is not a disciplined hitter and doesn’t appear to be on the path of becoming one.

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As for the future of the A’s in Oakland. It is unlikely that they are going to get the new ball park they desperately need. When one describes SBC park and how great it is to play there and for the fans to enjoy, one should never overlook the fact that the ownership in very large part paid for this ball club. They asked very little from the taxpayers. There isn’t another park, recently built, which didn’t have owners crying out for financial help from the community. The A’s are not going to duplicate the Giants accomplishment. To this point the political structure in Oakland has not been encouraging. The absence of Jerry Brown in the near furure may be helpful.

There is small reason to continue talking about Bonds. He has been, undeniably, one of the great players the game has seen. He also is one of the least gracious if anyone cares about that. We don’t know whether he wll return this year and he is doing little to enlighten us. If he does there is still a question whether he will be playing close to the standards he has been setting these past years.

However, the team has been interesting to watch. It is clear that they have pitching problems. Not the least of these problems is that Schmidt, counted on to be a stopper, one who would give a strong performance every time out, has been pitching in great trouble throughout the young year. He has trouble getting his pitches over 90 miles an hour. His control leaves much to be desired. This isn’t the Schmidt we have been counting on since his arrival from Pittsburgh.

Williams is in Fresno and showing little more there than he has shown so far in SF. Lowry has had second year difficulties. Tomko is the only bright light and that isn’t enough. To add to the pitching woes, the closer has been lost for the year. There aren’t many pitchers out there who would inspire a great deal of confidense if a trade is the route they will ultimately travel. Minnesota isn’t likely to give back the best closer in the game, the closer the Giants gave away with nothing to show in return.

If the pitching doesn’t shape up the season is going to be a frustrating one. Unfortunate because there are some bright aspects to the Giants’ picture. Omar is a major asset, aged as he is. He is a consumate pro, in the field, at bat and on the bases. In addition, for the first time in many years, the Giants have some players who have been brought up from Fresno who show some welcome promise, Niekro and Ellison.

Ellison should be playing center field. Grissom has looked well over the hill since the season started. He has completely lost the strike zone. It is tough to sit down a veteran such as Grissom but sooner rather than later this should be done.

Alfonzo is playing well, in the field and at bat. Snow is hitting much as he did the latter part of 2004 and playing his usual exemplary game in the field. With a rotation which pitches up to the promise they appeared to have when the season started they could make it interesting for the rest of the division. It is becoming somewhat remote, however, to contemplate major improvement in the starters. It may be necessary to call on a few of the youngsters in Fresno and no one can reasonably predict how they will do against major league hitters.

There is a long season ahead of us. With good pitching in the rotation, a solution to the closer situation, they might be in the struggle for the playoffs. That is asking for a great deal.




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