Monday, February 05, 2007

Magowan Seeks Giants Fans' Forgiveness (Yeah, Sure)

Can you imagine Frank McCourt sending an apology letter to Dodger season ticket holders? Even if you get past the concept that he would actually have to string a couple of complete sentences together (a fanciful notion indeed), the thought that he would apologize for, say, raising ticket prices 50% in two years, or greenlighting any possible trade with Tampa Bay, or screwing over all the people who forked out cash for the ill-fated Think Blue Rewards Club, is pretty unlikely.

But up north, that's exactly what Giants owner Peter Magowan did, as he recently sent out a letter to Giants season ticket holders, both apologizing and attempting to explain the singing of Barry Bonds for the 2007 season (a $16M-20M deal). Reports

In the letter, which was confirmed by, Magowan wrote of the decision to re-sign Bonds: "This decision was not taken lightly and we spent significant time evaluating all of the elements and circumstances surrounding the negotiations before we made a final determination to move forward."

Magowan then referred to the Jan. 12 New York Daily News report that Bonds had tested positive for amphetamines and expressed concern about the report's contention that Bonds suggested teammate Mark Sweeney was involved.

Magowan wrote, "We consider any action by one player to unfairly damage the reputation of another player to be a serious matter. Based on the information that we have at hand in this matter and in discussions with both players, all of the facts have not been accurately portrayed. After evaluating the situation and its potential impact on clubhouse chemistry, we came to the conclusion that the Giants' players will be able to function as a team committed to supporting each other and dedicated to doing everything they can to succeed on the playing field."

Magowan explained the controversial signing in terms of long-range objectives and stressed that it's only a one-year deal. He wrote, "Additionally, we felt that with these assurances, signing Barry to a one-year contract helped us pursue a long-term strategy toward getting the club back on track. With his presence in our lineup and only a one-year contractual commitment, we were able to avoid the temptation to trade away some of our valuable young pitching talent and were able to free up long-range funds to acquire a front line pitcher. These decisions enabled us to sign Barry Zito, retain our promising and highly sought-after young pitchers and fill our need for a power hitter in the middle of our lineup. We believe that this combination of moves provides the Giants with a better chance of winning in 2007 and in the years ahead."

It isn't known whether the letter had any impact on Bonds' mood. But MLB people are still holding out hope Magowan has to write a new letter explaining why the deal is no longer.

I don't think Magowan has to worry about Bonds' mood, as the human balloon couldn't possibly get more surly. But I don't buy for a second that Magowan signed this deal reluctantly. After 14 seasons with the Giants, it's hard to claim ignorance. To paraphrase Denny Green, he is what you think he is.

Can't wait to see that "team chemistry" that Bonds has always been so great at cultivating.