Friday, May 16, 2008

Thanks, Peter

I just got the e-mail from Peter Magowan. No, we're not on each other's buddy list; I'm a Giants season-ticket holder and everyone got the same message.

Instead of hitting the "reply" button, I'm using this forum to say, "thanks".

It's been fashionable in some quarters to bash Magowan and Giants management for a) signing Barry Bonds, b) letting the team descend into mediocrity the last few years, or c) whatever else bugs you about the franchise.

But though the Giants never won it all under Magowan's stewardship, he (and the rest of the long list of minority partners) not only kept the team in San Francisco, they pretty much guaranteed its future in the Bay Area. Let's not forget: in 1993, there was a very good chance that this team was bound for Tampa Bay. Every attempt to get a new stadium to replace the clearly inadequate Candlestick Park had been rebuffed. Magowan and Company not only kept the team in SF, but they also penciled out a way to build that terrific ballpark.

And as part of the whole package, we got Barry Bonds. I am not here to defend Bonds' churlishness or to protest his innocence, but when the Giants acquired him, everything changed. The team became instantly respectable, and it's not too great a stretch to argue that Bonds' presence helped the organization work the numbers for the new ballpark.

Has Magowan made some mistakes? Sure. Most notably, he overpaid Bonds, costing the team the ability to hire a few other key pieces. He helped create the toxic atmosphere in which Bonds operated.

But Peter Magowan also saw the game from the fan's point of view. Sure, a way-richer, way-more-connected fan, but still, a fan. For that, Giants fans owe him their deepest thanks.

After all, we could have been commuting to Tampa.

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