Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Anyway, today I'd like to talk about traitors. We all know the many famous traitors in history: Benedict Arnold, the Rosenbergs, John Walker-Lindh, Joe Pantoliano in "The Matrix". They're diabolical individuals, willing to sell out their friends and family for wealth or other forms of personal gain. It takes a truly heinous person to cozy up to the enemy in a time of war, as Arnold and Lindh did, and you have to be a really twisted bastard to hand your friends over to Agent Smith, like Pantoliano.
However, it takes a really, REALLY depraved mind to wave sayonara to the Giants and then walk right over to their hated enemies, the Dodgers. Doing this is basically akin to Dwight Eisenhower kicking the Nazis' ass in WWII and then one day waking up and deciding to become a Communist. It's the freaking DODGERS!!! You'd guess this sick conversion unthinkable, but it's happened not once, not twice, but three times in the past year and it could happen for a fourth time soon. First it was Jeff Kent last offseason, then it was Ned Coletti and Bill Mueller, and J.T. Snow might follow along fairly soon. What is going on here?
With the news of Kent's embracing of the dark side last year, the reaction was a little muted. Sure, his bat was a big reason for the Giants' '97 resurgence and he may have established himself as a Hall of Famer while in SF, but he WAS kind of a jerk, with poor car washing/fibbing skills and he took some parting shots at the Giants after leaving, ripping their "french vanilla" uniforms, among other things. Oh, and there was that time he dropped some F-bombs on David Bell in San Diego within earshot of like every fan down the left field line, then got into a shoving match with Barry, then demanded a trade. Then there's that creepy mustache...Yeah, you can see why Giants fans would be a tad apathetic to Kent's demonic conversion, since he already seemingly had satanic Dodger genes running through him anyway.
But then this winter Ned Coletti, erstwhile Giants assistant GM, signed on to become the Dodgers' General Manager. Hmm, that's not so cool. Colletti, Brian Sabean's right hand man, a key player behind the scenes in the Giants' four postseason births from 1997-2003, now pushing buttons for the enemy. A little confusing, a little disconcerting. Didn't Coletti learn anything from '97? The reason the Brian Johnson home run was so sweet was because it was against the DODGERS! You were there, Ned, where do you think the energy in Candlestick came from? The wind? It's not like the reaction would have been the same had we been playing the Expos. For Giants fans, beating the Dodgers is like second only to winning a World Series. They're like the Slytherin to our Gryffindor (a Harry Potter reference? Why do I suddenly feel so dirty?) Our searing hatred of the Bums apparently didn't stop Coletti from stabbing us in the back.
But wait, he IS just a front office type, and it's not like he's Branch Rickey or anything. Also, he IS the guy who allegedly negotiated contracts with free agents, so we may have him to thank for three years (maybe four) of Mike Matheny. So his defection may be curious and inherently wrong, but if he keeps making dumb decisions that lead to Neifi-esque disasters, this isn't a killer.
OK, so Kent and Coletti we can maybe take, but now here comes the doozy. Bill Mueller. Just the mere act of writing the words "Bill Mueller, Dodger" triggers a "Clockwork Orange"-ian reaction that has me keeling over and dashing for the nearest toilet seat. Billy, WHY??? Over the past ten years, you'd be hard pressed to find a player more beloved by Giants fans. There was just something about him that made us all root for him. He hit .330 in his rookie season in 1996. He was a slick fielder and a very solid line drive hitter who would work a walk and set up the Bonds and Kent show. I remember his first major league homer off of Alex Fernandez in Florida, and his first two-homer game coming against Andy Benes and the DBacks in 1998. In '97, he hit one of the most shocking home runs I've ever seen, an upper deck blast at Candlestick off of Mark Leiter. Barry Bonds would only hit 2 or 3 into that deck in a season; nobody expected Mueller to plant one up there.
For five seasons, Mueller was one of my faves, and now this Dodger thing is just killing me. It's like the prodigal son announcing at Thanksgiving dinner that he's having a sex change operation. It's not a good baseball decision for the Dodgers to sign a 35-year-old for 4.5 million, but who cares? I don't want to see Mueller in Dodger blue any more than I want to see John Kruk in a G-string. This is beyond backstabbing, this is tragedy. This is like Anakin moving to the dark side. Billy has good in him obviously, but what could possibly possess him to turn against those who loved him so?
Years ago this kind of thing was unheard of, but now its becoming more common. Jackie Robinson once retired rather than accept a trade to the Giants. However, in recent years we've seen Orel Hershisher, Brett Butler, Brian Johnson, and now these three switch sides, and now J.T. might be next. Does team loyalty mean nothing to these people anymore? Money is the most powerful influence of all, obviously, but it still pains us Giants fans to watch these defections take place. Meanwhile, the only converted Dodger we get is Marquis Grissom, and they didn't even want him, anyway. Maybe Fernandomania can be coaxed out of retirement to even the odds a bit. Maybe we can hire DePodesta on as an advisor just to stick it to the LA media and the McCourts when we beat the Dodgers. But please, stay away from Lima Time and, if at all possible, Ricky Ledee*.
*Speaking of Ledee, I guess he could technically be called a traitor, but the term only qualifies if we actually care that the player leaves. No one was happier to see Ledee go to the Dodgers than me. After he was done sabotaging our 2004 playoff hopes, he might as well have gone to LA to fuck them over. Ledee was a Dodger plant anyway; how else do you explain his hideous tenure as a Giant? No one can be that bad without trying to be that bad, except maybe Neifi.