Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring Returned Tonight... Unfortunately, It Brought An Unwanted Person Back

Tonight, spring returned. How did I know? Simple, I went to my first baseball game tonight over at Pac Bell (yes, I know it is know AT&T Park, but I like the old name better).

It was a great game, for eight innings. The Giants ended up winning. I know this is a meaningless pre-season exhibition game, but there was one thing in it that I just have to shout about.

And not in a good way.

Returning to the show as a member of my beloved Giants is Armando Benitez. Now, if you have read my earlier post on this so-called closer, you would know my feelings on him. Unfortunately, Brian Sabean must have ignored my plea last year. Therefore I have to make it again.


Yes, I said loser. He has a loser mentality. A closer cannot have that. A closer has to be the equivalent of a predator, caring only for the kill.

What does Benitez care about? Apparently his feelings get hurt when the fans boo. Too bad he does not use that discomfort to do anything to improve himself.

Yes, I know, tonight (in a meaningless pre-season game) he faced four batters to end the game.


As the local night-time sports talk guy, Damon Bruce is fond of quoting, sports only reveal character. Year after year, game after game, Benitez's character has been revealed. He is not a winner. A winner would not care what the fans did. He would go out and get the job done.

Benitez, unfortunately, has the mindset of a loser. He goes out, pays attention to anger of the fans instead of getting down to business. Other players can do this. Other players do do this.

That is Benitez's history. Put him in when there is nothing at stake and he shines like a gem. Put him in to any sort of a pressure situation and he crumbles faster than Greg Minton. On a good night, he resembles like Jeff Brantley in 1992. (Yes I know, obscure Giants' references. For those not initiated... think Greg Minton as Franz von Pappen and Jeff Brantley as Ross on Friends or the Band of Brothers' version of Captain Sobel).

And to add insult to injury, the local sports radio people are toeing the party line on this one. With the exception of Ralph Barbieri, they are saying that Benitez is the closer and should remain so until something changes that.

What will it take for Mr. Sabean and the broadcasters, including Damon Bruce (oh how you disappoint me Mr. Bruce. Are you now revealing your true character?) to finally turn on this guy? Will it take another nine blown saves (five of which end in Giants' losses? Because blowing 12 of 48 save opportunities (or 1 out of every 4 four opportunities is blown) in the last two years apparently is not enough to convince management that this man should be dismissed.)? Will it take another year of him thumbing his nose at the organization and the fans by not giving his best on the mound? More wasted efforts of the starting rotation because this loser cannot get it together to withstand the pressure of crucial games.

Its simple. Look at his statistics. When he pitches well, it is only for teams that are not going to post-season. If Mr. Sabean is serious about this team competing for the post-season this year, then Benitez has nothing to offer.

Get rid of this guy. He is a cancer to this team. He will never be what we and so many other teams' fans hoped he would be. Ship him off to Tampa Bay or Kansas City. If we were to get even a minor league prospect of dubious value it would be worth more than anything that Benitez could possibly contribute.

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