Tuesday, August 26, 2008


It's All Over...for the Organizational Soldier

I came home late tonight and caught the end of the A's game and, man, I've got to say, as much as we all bitch and complain about the Giants and their dismal current situation, I am really glad I'm not an A's fan right now. The Giants aren't particularly exciting, obviously, but at least they've got Fred Lewis and Aaron Rowand and Randy Winn, who are at least cool players to watch, and they've got some young guys like Pablo Sandoval who could make a mark soon. Not to mention, the Giants have Timmy, whose every start is an exercise in sadistic viewing pleasure for us fans as he mows down hapless hitter after hapless hitter.

The A's, on the other hand? Man, that team is just the most dull and boring bunch blahs out there. Not one of their players is exciting, none of their guys can hit, and their pitching staff, while good, is pretty much an assortment of bland lefties. Except for maybe when Jack Cust bats, what with his freakish Three True Outcomes thing, I think I'd rather watch a montage of hideous '80's anti-drug PSAs than watch the A's for any stretch of time. The A's have a good farm system and I'm sure Billy Beane has a master plan, but for now...egad. So that's something you can thank your lucky stars for, fellow Giants fans.

Anyway, I have to do some quick live blogging because I have to get out of here and watch Street Kings before I get charged a late fee. I really don't want to spend an extra five dollars just to find out if Keanu Reeves can carry an urban crime drama all by himself. The Giants, as we speak, are down 7-2 in the 7th inning, and show no signs of a mounting a late-inning comeback. The man most responsible for the Giants' current deficit is 29-year-old rookie Matt Palmer, a guy who has toiled in the Giants system for a good seven years before finally getting a shot in the bigs thanks to the injury to Jonathan Sanchez.

Palmer is a guy who struck out more than a batter an inning this year at AAA, but I have to ask how, because from what I've heard on the radio broadcasts it seems he's like just a finesse pitcher. Maybe I've heard wrong and he throws 100 mph, I don't know. He also showed zero control in the minors this year, walking 70 batters in 135 innings, and shaky control in the minor leagues usually means that things turn very ugly in the majors. Case in point: after tonight's debacle Palmer has now walked 13 batters in three starts.

Of course, no one really expected Palmer to be good, and with Sanchez expected to come back for his next start, this is most likely his last start this season, and quite possibly the last appearance he'll ever make in the major leagues. Palmer is what they call an organizational soldier, and guys like this often don't get many chances to hang around. They're good enough to act as fodder to fill out a AAA roster, but rarely do they get more than one shot to stick with the big club. They'll be brought up to make a spot start or two and then they'll be sent down again to slowly wither away and follow the path of the Miguel del Toros and Brian Coopers and Brian Powells of the world.

Why am I being so frank (and by frank I mean...you know, devastating) about Palmer's bleak outlook? Well, the chances of a pitcher like him actually making the big leagues in the first place aren't good. A lot of guys just hang around forever in AAA and never get that call-up. Well, Palmer's made it, and we should be happy for him. The chances of him being successful? Er, with that command, slim to nonexistent. Still, he can one day tell his grandkids that he pitched in the majors and got his name into the Baseball Encyclopedia, and that's just plain awesome. So let's raise a glass to Matt Palmer, because we probably won't ever see him again.

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