As the walls close in (supposedly) on the Sultan Of Surly, the SF Chronicle’s Resident Worst Haircut Of All-Time, Ray Ratto, questions the lower than low recent profile of Giants owner Peter Magowan.
Peter Magowan (above, left) has been actively away from center stage for a while now (I think John Cleese referred to it as the art of “not being seen”), and folks are beginning to notice.
When he was last spotted at the All-Star logo news conference, he was aggressively non-committal on a number of important topics — about Barry Bonds (no doubt at the behest of counsel), about the impact of the All-Star Game on the team’s general welfare, on the essential direction of the franchise. In fact, he has been pretty non-committal even about attending the games. Time was you couldn’t hit your remote three times without seeing him in his usual seats beside the Giants’ dugout, but no more. He is, for lack of a better term, an occasional die-hard.
Maybe he’s learning that owning a baseball team isn’t the daily Mardi Gras it looked like when he assembled the original ownership group. Maybe he finally has come to know that every good/lucrative thing he has done with the Giants’ brand has come at a hard price.
Or maybe he’s just got stuff to do. What, you don’t have chores around the house?
His always has been the desk at which all things Bonds have landed, from the day he tried to sign him with Bob Lurie’s money in 1992 to the right here and now, and that is not going to change.
If Magowan thinks he can fill the ballpark solely on the basis of the All-Star Game, and that there won’t be any backlash from Bonds when he isn’t re-upped, then Extreme Makeover will have begun.
If he thinks otherwise, if he thinks Bonds is close enough to Henry Aaron to warrant one last go-round, if he really wants to play Courtroom Roulette with the left-field position on his ball team — well, then the maintenance will be deferred yet another year. Indeed, the soul-rusting mediocrity of the NL West has allowed the Giants to delay whatever scheduled upgrades they might have in mind for the last two years.
The Giants’ future will be clarified at least to some extent Thursday, when Bonds is expected to learn whether the BALCO grand jury has an envelope with his name on it. It is, however, only the largest of a number of questions facing the owner in the next few months, and he can’t be Johnny Noncommittal much longer. He spent all those other folks’ money to own a ball team 14 years ago, and for the first time in more than a decade, he genuinely has hard work to do.
Newsday’s Ray Sanchez (no relation to the aspiring clubhouse barber with the similar name) predicts the players’ union will have a tough time contesting a possible MLB suspension of Bonds, when and if one is imposed.
In 1980, commissioner Bowie Kuhn, citing the best interest of the national pastime, suspended Ferguson Jenkins after the Texas Rangers pitcher was arrested on drug charges in Canada before baseball had a drug policy. Arbitrator Raymond Goetz later overturned the suspension, ruling that a player could not be punished for offenses outside the workplace.
That same year, arbitrator George Nicolau ordered the Utah Jazz to pay forward Bernard King his full salary for the 1979-80 season. The organization said it had indefinitely suspended King following his arrest on sex abuse charges in order to protect the integrity of the team and the league. In his opinion, Nicolau said it was up to a court to decide King’s guilt or innocence.
In the Bonds case, a strong argument could be made that steroid use has a direct impact on the workplace.