Mix of castoffs, 'Dirt'-y work have been key to Giants' success
PHILADELPHIA -- The Giants' clubhouse is an eclectic mix, and that's putting it mildly. There's the superstar pitcher who looks and sometimes acts 15 -- though never when he's on the mound, where he's plenty mature. There's the MMA-loving, tattooed, born-again Christian closer who seems even more out there than most closers. And of course, there's the collection of castoffs that comprise most of a starting lineup that wouldn't ordinarily scare anyone beyond reporters but is putting a bit of fear into opposing teams lately with timely hitting and solid fielding (until their
"They really remind me of the Dirty Dozen, a bunch of castoffs and misfits who've coalesced as a group and play to win,'' the Giants' excellent manager,
The Giants for years had baseball's biggest hitting star. Now instead, to go with a superb pitching staff, they have a collection of mostly low-paid position players who came for nothing or next to nothing. None of their new players are nearly as infamous for being as prickly as
It's surely a funny mix in that clubhouse. Beyond cleanup-hitting rookie phenom catcher
Huff was never known to be the easiest guy to deal with. Until he got here, anyway. He joked to one writer he knew from a previous stop, "Can you believe I got the Good Guy award?'' Hard to believe, but he did. Not only that, he seems to deserve it. He has been nothing but a gentleman, according to all around the team.
Burrell is an especially tough customer known for ignoring many reporters who request interviews but kowtowing to a couple of the media elite. Yet, by all accounts, he has been a delight. (You have to wonder if maybe they grade on a curve in San Francisco after dealing with Bonds and
Somehow, Bochy, one of the best in the business, makes it work. Naturally, he demurs.
"I give them all the credit for putting aside their egos and agendas,'' Bochy said. "That's a credit to who they are and how they've handled things.''
The credit for the Giants' turnaround goes to the whole group from general manager
The powerful pitching staff was built through the draft, and
"He has drafted some very good pitchers. It's not only their raw ability, but how their mind works and their competitiveness that he reads very well,'' said Dodgers GM
"The first thing is talent,'' Tidrow said, "Then you try to go deeper.''
Lincecum starred at the University of Washington but somehow slipped past nine teams before Tidrow insisted the Giants take him with the No. 10 pick in 2006.
"He wasn't a secret. We were just hoping he'd fall to us,'' Tidrow recalled. He also remembered several folks warning that Lincecum was a right-hander who was no more then 6-feet tall. But Lincecum didn't care (and he reminded Tidrow of his Yankees roommate
"I remember I saw him in the first game of a doubleheader and liked him, and everyone we sent in there liked him,'' Tidrow said.
"I really liked his competitiveness and his ability to pitch in and thought he was going to throw harder,'' Tidrow said.
"He had a lot more talent than he showed,'' Tidrow said. "We just fixed a couple things.''
"I saw him as a sophomore at LSU and he was unbelievable, then I saw him at Long Beach State and he was obviously hurt,'' Tidrow said. "He had an unbelievable curveball and really good stuff. We took a flier on him, and got lucky.''
It's not luck, of course, if it keeps happening.
Their major-league scouts haven't done too badly, either. Torres, who became an overnight star, was a cheap free-agent pickup after Tidrow, Sabean and Evans had their eyes on him for years.
They tried hard for a big bat at midseason but didn't want to part with Bumgarner or Sanchez for Milwaukee's
The Giants put in a claim for Ross on the waiver wire at the deadline, and after the Giants rejected the Marlins' two requests for prospects (the second one much lower than the first), Florida simply handed over Ross. Part of the idea in claiming Ross was to block the even more offensively-challenged Padres, but today it looks like the genius move of the year.
The trade for
While the accomplished
• The Mariners acted fast to hire
• Valentine turned down the Marlins, who had the good sense to make him an offer after turning him down in the summer. Perhaps they should have hired him then, though, because that rejection probably stuck in his mind. Would have been an interesting South Florida soap opera. Too bad.
• The Pirates were thought ready to act within a week or so, but if Wedge was indeed their top choice, they'll have to come up with someone else. Pittsburgh probably knows that acting fast is in their best interests though, as an organization with 18 straight losing seasons, they might not get their first choice.
• Some GMs are surprised Red Sox pitching coach
• White Sox GM Williams has had his fill of closer
• The Phillies' offense has been spotty lately with 16 runs in their seven games heading into Game 2. But if