Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a hilarious — though painful for Giants’ fans — takedown of the Bengie Molina signing that’s definitely worth a read. But it’s something that he says after the phony press conference that I think gets at the basic problem with the signing:
I’m actually fine with the idea that Posey should be eased into the
starting job; he’s young, and catching is a heckuva strain on the body.
If Posey was really worn down after the Hawaiian League, spring
training, the minors for a full season, sitting on the bench in the
majors, and the Arizona Fall League, maybe it’s not a bad idea to let
him ease into the job.
Driving the Giants’ desire to bring in Molina — or some other veteran catcher — was their belief, based on Buster Posey’s less-than-thrilling performance in the Arizona Fall League, that Posey wasn’t ready to start. But as Grant notes, that stretch came after a long year for the guy. He caught a ton of games once you figure in the winter league in which he played. He had to have been gassed by the time he got to Arizona.
I find it troubling that the Giants would put that much on their young catcher’s odometer in the first instance — let the kid rest his knees for cryin’ out loud — but I find it more troubling that, in making the decision that Posey isn’t ready for a starting job in the majors, they’re giving his performance at the end of that marathon greater weight than what he accomplished when he was fresher last summer.
Maybe it doesn’t matter if the Giants have no chance this year. In such an instance saving your catcher for the future may not be a bad thing at all. But the Giants do have a chance. They have excellent pitching, the Dodgers are likely going to slide back, and the division could be San Francisco’s for the taking.
But they’re going to start Bengie Molina every day, and will likely have him hitting way higher in the lineup than he has any right to be. It’s that kind of thing that costs teams playoff spots.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.