Monday, August 08, 2005

Suspend The Radio Guy! Giants Can't Handle Losing

Radio Uproar Highlights Corrupt S.F. Ownership

Everybody wants you to think KNBR's Larry Krueger and his racially-tinged rant as the main offender in Cream of Wheat/Caribbean slop Gate, in actuality, it's about how the Giants do business.

The health of the San Francisco Giants is thinly predicated on a sold out gate every home game. Because SBC Park is privately-funded, the Giants management is accountable only to its investors. In other cities where the stadium is built by the city certain accommadations can be made. In San Francisco, it's dollars and sense. If, as is the case now, the team begins to falter and the mystique of a downtown ballpark on the water fades, the Giants cannot weigh city money against its dwindling gate and therefore lowered revenue. Simply put management is worried about that $30 million mortgage.

What does this have to do with some late-night radio personality calling out the Giants hitters and specifically its Latin ballplayers and calling them “brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly”?

What you have in San Francisco is an ownership group bent on secrecy and unethical values that is beginning to crack before out eyes. First, there's the Barry Bonds scandal that calls into question whether the backbone of a successful team and franchise is tainted and whether ownership was aware of his cheating ways when they aggressively marketed paraphenalia and ballgames with his phony homerun march.

Second, the team has performed horribly without Bonds, but they may have regardless of him in the lineup. Their general manager, Brian Sabean, has made some regrettable personnel decisions this year and for a string of years only to exacerbate the dearth of talent on the Major League team and the minors. In two deals this season, the GM has unloaded pitching prospects needed to rebuild the team, like David Aardsma and Jesse Foppert, for aging veterans LaTroy Hawkins and Randy Winn. Instead of getting younger, the Giants get older while falling farther from contending for years to come.

All of these problems have existed for ten years, but are only beginning to show because the team is finally shaky and the local media in San Francisco is priming to dig its teeth into the whole operation.

San Francisco does not get the credit for being a tough sports media town, but it definitely is on par with Boston, Philadelphia or New York, except the teams in this area rarely falter so the attacks are far between. This is the media market that ran Dusty Baker out of town and made life so hard for George Seifert and Steve Young when they replaced football legends.

As questions mount, such as, was the hiring of a 70-year-old man to manage an equally aging team wise? Why wasn't there a long range plan for life without Barry and what happens when a frugal franchise with 42,000 fans in the stadium creates a budget with only 25,000 in the seats?

Krueger has been an unassuming and bland talk show host for many years at KNBR. I also believe he was born locally. Like a majority of Giants fans, he was angry at his listless team and vented over the air. It's difficult to find where the insensitivity of his comment in a sports forum, lies. Is there a stereotypical tendency of caribbean people to hack at slop? If so, then I apologize.

He also said that in Dominican manager Felipe Alou, "You have a manager in Felipe (Alou) whose mind has turned to Cream of Wheat.”

Many of pointed out that this is direct reference to the black man (for those who disagree with the preceeding phrase, that's what I'm talking about) on the Cream of Wheat box. Again, a racially insensitive joke pertaining to the guy on the Cream of Wheat box is either beyond me or highly obscure. If it was don't you think the makers of the product, Nabisco, would have changed the design? Would it have made the Giants any happier if he said Alou's brain was turning to mush or would the AARP jumped all over that one, too?

The message from the Giants is this:
Don't talk about Bonds.
Don't criticize management.
Don't worry about the future or we will embarrass and suspend you.

Just do as color commentator, Mike Krukow.. Slather praise profusely on the great Barry Bonds and then when trouble arises, completely ignore that he ever played for the Giants and convince people Pedro Feliz is a comparable replacement.

Or, you could do like I do and root for the A's. I had to get that one in!

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