Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball




In the immortal words of Mr. Science — that ’70s icon of intelligent thought — Everything You Know is Wrong.

Can it be any other way after picking up the paper the other morning? Consider: The Pittsburgh Pirates, the Montreal Expos, and the Chicago White Sox were each leading their division; and the Minnesota Twins and the Cincinnati Reds were not far from the top.

After all, the Bucs, the White Hose and the Red Legs have each been perennial bottom feeders one season or another for a decade or so.

But Les Expositions and the Twinkies?

Think of it. Every Bud Selig-hater in the land — and you know who you are — is fairly salivating this morning over the notion of a Montreal-Minnesota World Series. The Expos and the Twins as we all know, have been remanded to the trash pile by the Commish. In fact, the ball club in Quebec — as we speak — is being propped up by the very institution over which Buddy Boy holds sway. MLB — as they like to call themselves — owns the damned team, for gosh sakes! And the Minnesotans? Why Carl Polhad — he who has the gall to own a ball team — well, he’s champin at the bit for Buddy Boy to cut him loose, so he can collect the $175 million he’ll scamper away with, if and when Buddy Boy gives him the high sign.

Just think of it! The Expos and Twins wind up in the Series and Buddy Boy and Polaxed Polhad wind up down in the tunnel under the dome (you pick under which one) — the sweat dripping off their domes as they hover in a corner like a couple of junkies doing a deal.

How delicious is that?

Ah, but you’ve gotta query: As the trading deadline approaches, will his Budness allow his two orphans-to-be, jockey for position for the stretch drive, like the other of his 28 kids? Polhad might be Buddy’s bidder but what about Montreal’s lame duck leader — Frank Robinson?

Robinson, who as recently as last year, was Buddy’s Commissar of Suspensions, ain’t a guy to trifle with. No sir. You don’t don’t pull on Robinson’s jockstrap and you don’t fool with Robinson’s dignity. Ever.

Robinson knows he’s in it for the short haul, but can you imagine Frank Robinson caving to Buddy’s whim and tanking a chance at one more bid for glory?

So, here’s the scenario: By mid-July, the Expos really are for real. The Quebecois flock to the park like never before. And the team — with Robby at the helm — circles the wagons and threatens a sit-in on the artificial turf, if Buddy Boy doesn’t allow it to trade for the one missing piece they’re lacking in order for them to go all-the-way.

It’ll be something like the Little Engine That Could or The Mouse That Roared. It’ll probably be more like that Marx Brothers’ movie in which the tiny country of Fredonia staves off the super-power.


Here’s another thing that you know is wrong:

Jeremy Giambi as Lead-Off hitter.

Rickey Henderson — like Giambi, also an A’s player (several times over) — may have redefined the lead-off position, but what Je. Giambi is doing is just flat-out wrong.

Consider: As of April 26, Giambi was eighth in the American League in On Base Percentage with an unbelievable .436-mark. More impressively — and equally astonishing — he was third on OBP list among lead-off hitters.

This, from a guy who runs like a donkey and slides like a sled in Florida.

Jeremy Giambi as lead-off hitter, is an experiment perhaps greater than Shelley ever had in mind with that monster. It’s working like a charm. Is as prescient as a weather report in Tahiti. And it is changing, once again, the image of the prototypical lead-off hitter.

Giambi, whose a standup kind of guy, especially in last year’s AL championship series, is making everyone around baseball think the Yankees got the wrong Giambi. You think?

To wit: In a comparison of the Giambi brothers’ stats as of April 26th, Je. Giambi’s OBP was .63 points better than Ja. Giambi’s; Je’s slugging percentage was .494 vs. .466 to that of his brother’s; and his batting percentage was a sizzling .329 compared to a mediocre .273 for the Yankee Giambi.

Well, we’ll see how it all plays out at the end of the season. But two things are for certain: Je. Giambi is making the folks in Oakland forget all about his base running blunder; and he’s making Billy Beane and Art Howe — the guys who for some reason, believed that Je. could be their lead-off man — seem like Nostradomus.


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