Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Say It Ain't So, Lo by Rick Kaplan

Rick Kaplan
Staff Writer

OAKLAND (June 16) – Going to a big league game used to be a lot like watching a magic show.

We saw wondrous tricks – web gems, big flys, 97 MPH heaters, two-out hits – for nine innings and often felt entertained, and even awed, win or lose.

But we didn’t know what happened behind the scenes.

We didn’t know who used the juice. Or who was going on the DL. Or who was leaving us to become a free agent, or when the team was moving.

Comment below and let Rick know what you think…
MartyIt was ‘hear no evil, see no evil.’ We just wanted to see our same nine guys out there night after night, regardless of what was gong on in Tennessee or Taiwan.

And we didn’t WANT to know, did we? Often, when we do, we find we’re disappointed and the reality isn’t as scintillating as the fantasy. And, besides, we don’t really get the whole story. We get the spin.

The other day, at 3:30 in the morning on Hgwy. 238, Esteban Loaiza showed us the reality. Some of it, anyway

Reality, or maybe just a new form of the old story, is rapidly replacing our old fantasies: Ben whatever-his-name-is, the Steeler QB without a helmet, J.J. Riddick, the Duke dunce, Loaiza, Jason Grimsley. Yeah, those ungrateful, spoiled athletes are the problem.

But don’t forget Lew Wolff (yeah, the guy who wants to take our team to Fremont and leave the people and youth of Oakland with another black hole).

It’s not a lot of fun to root for a guy who you now know gets drunk and gets behind the wheel to see how fast he can go before killing someone else. (Or, for that matter, for someone who closes the third deck and kicks the less affluent fans out of the ballpark.)

And it’s not fun to write about all this rather than writing about how the A’s shape up against the NL West.

Don’t blame Loaiza for the A’s bad judgment. This isn’t about condemning Loaiza as a bad person or role model. But he should simply be out of the rotation until this is all clarified. The A’s already set a very bad, contradictory message by sending him out to the mound yesterday.

I wonder if they are going to amend their policy of ejecting drunken fans to say “unless you are a member of the A’s starting rotation.”

Rather, sharing the responsibility and stigma should be all the people who profit off of the public marketing and sale of alcohol, from the A’s owners to Bud Selig to the political leaders who make the laws that allow ballgames to be beer blasts.

They should be the ones, as much as Loaiza, making public apologies and doing community service big-time.

But we learned, didn’t we, during the steroid saga that public scrutiny and judgment is mostly reserved for the easy targets.

Let’s be real. Every fan in America who has booed Barry Bonds or Jose Canseco has cheered innumerable closet users of various banned substances right there on their good ol’ home team – whatever their addiction and vice – who simply haven’t been outed yet. Apparently there is a credible list floating around baseball with the names of 85 major league players who tested positive for steroids. And this list is independent of anything Jason Grimsley had to add.

That list represents a lot of unmasked illusions of Barry Bonds-haters and their ilk. And a lot of fun ruined at the old ballpark.

But maybe not forever. A whole parasitic industry of scapegoaters and revealers and rumor-mongers has grown up under the cover of seeking the truth. But no self-respecting whistle-blower or muckraker would ever respect today’s pretenders who knowingly prey upon opportunistic targets and allow the bigger fish to swim free.

Please drop me a ‘comment’ and let me know what you think.

A’s and the NL West

Somehow the perception of last year’s doormat-of-divisions, the NL West, has abruptly shifted the proverbial 180 degrees, and now, ironically, it’s the AL West, formerly considered one of MLB most formidable divisions, that is getting all the disrespect.

I don’t buy this.

Let’s start with Arizona. They were winning for a while earlier and everyone though it was 2001 again. Luis Gonzalez is still here, and the Eric Byrnes show was a big early-season hit. Byrnes has started to cool, they released Russ Ortiz. Juan Cruz is on the DL. Brandon Webb is solid, but Miguel Batista is their number two starter (??!). This team is in trouble, and that would have happened without Jason Grimsley.
BIG advantage, A’s

The Dodgers come tonight as a very interesting and even potent-looking team. My first question is, and this comes from an early-season big MB fan, how the heck did the LA steal the fine-looking Andre Ethier from the A’s? Matt Kemp got brought up from Krypton. The Dodgers have been winning without Jeff Kent, the human RBI machine, who was just beginning to hit when he went on the DL and is now back. Derrick Lowe scares me, and Brad Penney has been solid. Big drop-off after those two. Aaron Sele is not a number three on a contender.
Advantage (due to starting pitching), A’s.

The Giants can compete in the NL West, but not with the A’s traveling team. Unless Barry gets healthy by next week. The Giants are not going to get those two great games again from Schmidt and Cain back-to-back.
Advantage, A’s

The Padres pitching looks good on paper, especially now with a sometimes dominant Chris Young and a solid Chan Ho Park to go with Jake Peavey. Even with no hitting – shortstop Kahlil Greene leads the team with nine homers, and Ryan Klesko’s replacement Adrian Gonzales hasn’t hit much – if they had Woody Williams and Sean Estes back in the rotation they could make trouble.
Advantage, A’s

I know nothing about Colorado, other than they could see Eric Byrnes’ limitations alot faster than other teams, but I am assuming that since they aren’t scaring anybody in their division that the A’s should be able to handle them.
Advantage, A’s

I don’t think that the myth of the suddenly tansformed NL WEST is going to last much longer than this 15 game confrontation with the A’s. And that’s even without the Dl for 9 of those games. The A’s pitching rubric, quality starts backed by an effective bullpen, is getting coldly effective, and the A’s are starting to hit. Three errors in twelve games, and leading the league in double plays, indicates better than good defense. The only dimension missing here is team speed, and a thus-far absent Milton Bradley from the offense.

Look for the A’s to win 10 of the 15 games against the now-mighty NL West.


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