Twenty-four interesting aspects of World Series teams (cont.)
13. As a former manager in the NL West, Hurdle could provide a few Giant secrets. "You don't spend seven years and 19 games [each year] and not pick up a thing." No Spin Zone dept.: "The Giants hitters have some trouble with some spin," Hurdle said.
14. There are ex-Mets (Hurdle, Jeff Francoeur, Darren O'Day), ex-Brewers (Mike Maddux, Nelson Cruz), ex-Marlins (Cody Ross, Jorge Cantu) and ex-White Sox (Aaron Rowand, Juan Uribe). But the infamous ex-Cub factor sure doesn't bode well for the Giants. Not only do they have infielder Mike Fontenot, but also bullpen catcher Bill Hayes, who had nine at-bats as a Cub in 1980-81.
15. The Giants have a decidedly Yankees flavor to them. Sabean led the Yankees' development program before coming to San Francisco the same year as Barry Bonds, 1993. Sabean seems to have a penchant for ex-Yankees that has paid off: Dave Righetti (pitching), Roberto Kelly (first base) and Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens (hitting) are on the coaching staff, and Dick Tidrow, Joe Lefebvre, Fred Stanley and Henry Cotto are in the front office.
16. Neither front office is shy about relying on wise old hands. The Giants' key front office people are in their 50s, 60s and even 70s, including assistant GM Tony Siegle (70), plus John Cox, Jack Hiatt, Joe Amalfitano, Jim Davenport and Paul Turco, an affable advance scout. (Turco appears to be 50-something, but he's often mistaken in New York for Bernie Madoff, which he jokes about.) Similarly, the Rangers have the beloved Don Welke, who liked to joke that he's smarter than the Ivy League hotshots now heading teams (among them Rangers GM Jon Daniels and key Texas executive A.J. Preller, both of whom went to Cornell) by pointing out he's a "Harvard man.'' And he then adds, "Harvard (Ill.) High School."
17. Yes, there are two surprise teams in the World Series and both clubs have some surprise heroes. Cody Ross, let go on waivers by the Marlins in August, comes to mind. But Hurdle cited Cooperstown candidate Vladimir Guerrero, who was limping around much of last year for the Angels before signing a one-year deal in the offseason with the Rangers and has already earned comeback awards for this year. "It's good the experts aren't always right," Hurdle said. Guerrero, incidentally, will play right field in San Francisco, where there's no DH.
18. Both these teams have a bit of a steroid past. The Rangers' situation was "loosey, goosey," according to Alex Rodriguez's explanation of his usage in his three-year stopover there from 2001-03, and other Rangers were listed in Jose Canseco's book, Juiced. The Giants, of course, had Barry Bonds.
19. There's a dispute over whether Giants closer Brian Wilson's unusual style is all one big put-on designed for attention. The Rangers' C.J. Wilson (no relation) said, "He's a left-hander in a right-hander's body. He's smart ... he's got you guys all played.'' But Giants rookie Buster Posey said, "Brian Wilson is like that 24/7. There's no acting."
20. Zito said of AT&T Park, "This ballpark will always be synonymous with Barry Bonds. He is the greatest baseball player ever." There isn't all that much notice that Bonds played here, aside from a plaque that Zito pointed to. But Giants legends Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, who never played at AT&T Park, are much more prominently honored there.
21. This Rangers team features some of the best interviews in the game, including the aforementioned Wilson plus Michael Young and Francoeur.
22. As with Molina, Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria appears likely to retire. Though he won't say for absolutely sure, he hinted at it when he said we may see him back next year "as a coach." In which case he should probably be listed among free agents as an anagram: E. Renteria, a retiree NA (not applicable). Renteria was the World Series hero in 1997 when he delivered the game-winning, walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th for the Marlins against the Indians. "I was a kid jumping all around," Renteria said. "Now, I'm not jumping around because I'd get hurt if I jumped around.''
23. Mazel Tov: The Rangers' owner (Greenberg), GM (Daniels) and a star player (Ian Kinsler) are Jewish.
24. The best analysis I heard all day yesterday came from a longtime baseball person who said, "The Giants pitch better but the Rangers do everything else better.'' My pick: Rangers in seven.
As expected, Sandy Alderson is being hired as GM of the Mets, as SI.com reported first. Alderson brings added credibility to the front office. It just seemed like team owner Fred Wilpon wanted Alderson from the start. But not everyone thought it was the right choice. I would have opted for the other finalist, former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes, or waited a week to see about getting Daniels. "Daniels was a home run. As usual the Mets settled for a single,'' one competing GM said. However, contrary to one report, Daniels never called the Mets to ask them to wait for him, sources said. He's in the World Series, after all. Who'd really believe he'd be calling the Mets for a job now? Byrnes was said by the New York Post's Joel Sherman to have impressed the Mets, but they opted for the candidate with the most "stature and experience.'' They also opted for a candidate who will be well-received in New York.
Greenberg said again that he expects his contract negotiations with Daniels to be "short and sweet.'' What about free-agent-to-be Cliff Lee? Greenberg said, "We hope they end up being sweet but they probably won't be short." As for how the USA Today report that Lee's wife didn't appreciate Yankee fans acting boorishly toward the Rangers wives during the ALCS might impact their chances of keeping their ace, Greenberg said, "It doesn't hurt." Misty May Treanor, the wife of Rangers catcher Matt Treanor and an Olympic volleyball gold medalist, took a picture of Yankees fans apparently spitting at the Rangers' wives that was on her Facebook page.
Joe Girardi's negotiations with the Yankees aren't expected to take too long, as the Cubs are no longer an option and New York is expected to offer $9 million over three years off a disappointing season. Not bad work is you can get it.
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