Monday, November 07, 2005


So Much To Talk About, So Little Time

Term papers and midterms suck. There’s been nothing written here for the past week, thanks largely to a slew of papers I’ve had to churn out in the wee hours of the night before they’re due. So instead of cobbling together something interesting about the Giants’ salary moves last week, I was bullshitting my way through a 1,800-word essay on Eugene Iunesco’s Rhinoceros, and what it teaches us about the evils of conformity. As if that weren’t enough fun, I had to dredge up another big essay on a hypochondriac Woody Allen character and how that character reflects Woody’s take on the meaning of life, or something like that. Imagine a bleary-eyed 22-year-old at four in the morning trying to somehow will his brain into giving him just enough juice to churn out a coherent thesis, all the while trying desperately to keep himself from succumbing to dreamland and doubling over face first into the cat litter box nearby. It just continues the recurring theme this year of school hindering my ability to consistently follow the Giants. On Opening Day, instead of cheering on Omar Vizquel as he completed a double play while doing the cha-cha in mid-air, I was sleeping through a media law class. In September, while the Giants were playing their most important game of the season in San Diego (Jeff Fassero, meet Ramon Hernandez), I was sitting in class watching the film adaptation of Marguerite Duras’ The Lover. Eeeeaaaaagggh! A busy schedule and baseball fanaticism do not mix, but I guess it’ll pay off some day when I’ll be able to impress the cultural elite by explaining why people turning into rhinoceroses reflects the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century.

As for the Giants, five players with options will be coming back in 2006. Ray Durham, Moises Alou, and Latroy Hawkins all exercised their player options. Durham and Alou were the team’s two best hitters last season (pre-Winn, of course), and while the usual caveats concerning injury apply, they’ll be back to knock the ball around and get on base in 2006, just to get stranded when Pedro Feliz pops out weakly to the shortstop. Interestingly enough, despite all the injury problems Durham had last year, he didn’t spend one day on the DL; he was just plagued by nagging maladies that never really shelved him for any length of time, so thus I’ll dub him “Day-to-Day" Ray.

"Day-to-Day" Ray will be back with the Giants in 2006.

Hawkins is sort of a mixed bag. On one hand, if he regains his 2002-2004 form, and the Giants get Scott Eyre re-signed, the team could have a darn good bullpen. Of course, if Hawkins decides to get all flaky again and have frequent meltdowns like last year, that 4.35 million he’s getting paid will look mighty steep. I just still can’t believe Brian Sabean traded Jerome Williams to get Hawkins. I can’t fathom what possessed the Giants to give up on the kid so soon. Was it the decreased velocity? The passing resemblance to Livan Hernandez? His Hawaiian roots? There aren’t any lepers there anymore, come on!

Also, the Giants exercised their team options on Randy Winn and Jason Schmidt, the former for $5 million and the latter for $10 mil. When Winn was first acquired, the prospect of paying him that much in ’06 seemed like a dubious prospect, but after he became possessed by the spirit of Mickey Mantle, it became a no-brainer. Schmidt’s option was sort of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t kind of thing. If he continues to pitch like he did last year, he won’t be worth half of what he’s going to be paid, but the Giants just can’t cut bait with him and watch him go to the Padres and win a Cy Young or something. If it were $10 million for several more years, then we’d have a problem.

Last but not least, the Giants re-signed Jeff Fassero to a one-year deal for relative table scraps. Fassero was pretty good in a swing role in 2005, but feeding this through the wise Processor of Reason presents some problems. 43-year-old + finesse pitcher + guaranteed money…..doesn’t compute! Doesn’t compute! AAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!! KABLOOOEY! Are the Giants being naïve in thinking Fassero can repeat his reasonable success of last year? Let’s put it this way: wishful thinking like this is about on par with setting up a blind date with “boymagnet69” on the Internet and hoping to meet a girl who looks like Jennifer Connelly. Yeah, it might happen, but more likely you’re going to be face-to-face with a fat, hairy guy named Ron who keeps making creepy references to a banana in his pocket.

And I can’t leave without mentioning that the worst television show in recent memory continued to disease the airwaves last night, as our hero Michael Rapaport frantically tried to convince his nubile young daughter to keep her virginity, with the usual wild arm-flailing on hand for bad measure. You go, Rapa.

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