Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Must Go! (An Open Letter to the San Francisco Giants)

Dear Mr. Magowan,

I have been a committed, rabid Giants fan for 21 years. That's right, I began my love affair with the Giants when they were in the midst of their worst season ever.

As a fan, I have sat in the cold of Candlestick at more night games than I can count. I have the Croix de Candlestick to prove it.

I suffered through Greg "Moony" Minton and John Burkett. I have tolerated Scott Garrelts, and was rooted for Rod Beck the night he threw his glove to the duggout because Roger Craig pulled him for Burkett who coughed up the runs that lost the game. I have sat with confidence as Rob Nen walked up to the mound, knowing, with almost absolute certainty, that the game was as good as over.

Unfortunately, your managment has decided, for whatever reason, to stay with Armando Benitez (pictured attached). I understand that you, and your ownership group, are running a business. I understand that you have expenses as a group which constrain your ability to lure certain players to the organization. However, with all this in mind, it is time for Benitez to go. He must go! If he still has the ability to act as a closer, he has proven that it will not be shown with this team, with this organization.

Simply put, he is a head case. That was his reputation when he was brough in by Brian Sabean. His injury last season shielded you and the fans from realizing the extent of the problem. Last season, he returned from the disabled list and saved a number of meaningless games. They were meaningless because the team was far out of the contention.

In looking at Benitez's record, it is clear that this man is not a "big game" pitcher. His three best save seasons were, respectively, 47, 43, and 41. In only one of those years, 2000, was his team in contention for a playoff spot. Outside of this, the majority of his saves have been for teams who are out of contention.

This team, each time it is about to surge, is shackled by this pitcher surrendering leads and games. Nowhere has that habit been more noticeable than in the recent three game losing streak. Benitez surrendered the lead in the finale of the San Diego series, a game that would have put the team 1.5 games ahead of the Padres. Tonight, he did worse, giving up both the tying and winning runs against the Washington Nationals. His record does not suggest that this is abnormal for him. Of his 19 save opportunities, he has blown 6 saves. Nearly a third of his chances.

Nearly a third of the time is clearly not doing the job, especially if you are serious about bringing a World Series title to this city. This team has made some big mistakes letting players go. It would be a bigger mistake letting Benitez stay. Benitez must go!


Angry Bell

No comments: