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On the End of the Season, Barry Zito Second Career Idea, Coming Right Up and My Thoughts on All Things Contractual

Quickly… I’m honored and flattered to have my blog on the front of MLBlogs.  Thank you, people who decide those kinds of things!  But could you have chosen a picture where I wasn’t having a bad hair day?  That was a Bad Hair Day with capitals.  Do you think that’s why Ryan Braun didn’t come over?  Never mind.  Let’s have this conversation another time.

I want you to know that this game is giving me nightmares.  It’s not like I’ve never dreamt about baseball before.  Last offseason I dreamt that Barry Zito was having Thanksgiving dinner with my family and he kept falling asleep on his plate of noodles, and he didn’t look great with tomato sauce on his face, but this was different.  (That dream does beg the question: “Why were you eating noodles on Thanksgiving?”  Good question.  Don’t know the answer.)  Last night I dreamt that the Giants last game kept going on and on and no one would tell me the Braves score.  I was running around the house yelling, “Did it go final?”  I think it’s time for the regular season to be over.

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Photo not by me.  I don’t really eat noodles that much.  I just dream about eating noodles.

The regular season and the playoffs feel really different from each other, obviously, and today feels like the end of the marathon, which has literally lasted more than half a year.  It still feels less like a marathon, though, because it’s about one game or three games right now, so we’re getting a taste of the playoffs, instead of the “lots of time” mindset.  It’s going to be fun, no question, but I’m still sad for the endless every day spring and summer games to be over.  It drizzled today.  Where did the year go?  Did this go as fast for you as it did for me?  I’m looking at the year and it reminds me of Zito’s start yesterday.  A kind of, “Oops, that happened too fast, can we go back?”  It was ugly, yesterday.

My assessment about the Willie Mac Award has always basically been that 100,000 fans opinions are equivalent to one Barry Zito opinion.  Literally, they are, because the winner of the fan vote counts as one, just each player or staff member vote counts as one.  Self-esteem denting much, fans?  But those 100,000 fans together might pitch a little better than Zito did yesterday.  At least they might throw strikes albeit strikes that would land in McCovey Cove.  As we always say to console parents whose kids are getting snowed at Little League games, “At least he’s throwing hard.  At least he’s in the zone.”  When they start walking in runs, we say, “Does he play soccer in the offseason?”  (Just kidding, about that, by the way.  We actually nod soulfully.)

If his pitching career fails, I’d like to suggest a new career as a nail polish namer.  I’m not really clear on how you get into that industry, but name recognition might help.  Do you think people who hire nail polish namers would be familiar with a Cy Young Award winner?  You never know.  Anyway.  The reasoning behind my idea is in his nicknaming of Pablo Sandoval which has becoming one of the great marketing tools of the Modern Era (I’m talking about Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval, not Pablo “Strand-Em-All” Sandoval) and his naming of his sporadic radio show “The Unicorn Hour”.  That might have been dreamed up by a brilliant young marketing executive at KNBR, but it kind of sounds like he came up with it.  And if he ever lacks inspiration, he could just dig into his 126 million dollars and hire someone to come up with ideas for him.  Take it from someone who spends a small fortune (a small fortune in my terms.  Not even on the radar screen in terms of 126 million dollars) on nail polish.  They need some fresh blood in the naming process.

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Photo by me.  One of my favorite ways to waste time is to photograph bottles of nail polish from interesting angles.  For once, I am not kidding.

It may sound like I’m picking on Zito about his contract, so I want to make it really clear that I’m not and I’d like to take this time to state my opinion on all things contractual.  Let’s say the thought process goes like this:  Coming home from a hard day of work to your family, who you are desperately trying to support in tough economic times.  You turn on your radio and hear, “And Zito walks in another run.”  You think, “God, how long would it take me to make as much as he makes in one GAME?  I hate Barry Zito.”

That’s where the thought process goes wrong.  I’d like to put us all in a room, getting offered 126 million dollars for doing nothing.  I think we’d all say yes.  Zito got offered that money to do what he’s probably wanted to do since he was a little kid.  You can hate the industry of baseball for how much its athletes get paid or you can hate Brian Sabean for signing someone to such a huge contact for so many years, but why hate Zito himself, exactly?  Take Aaron Rowand as another example.  The guy is notorious for working as hard as he possibly can to do his job well.  And some General Manager offered him financial stability for the rest of his life.  Why hate Aaron Rowand?

All kidding and hard stuff aside, though, I still believe in Zito, if only because he seems programmed to contradict people, like the rest of his current team.  He’s been Gollum for a while now, but he could still become “a light when all other lights go out.”, if given the chance.  To take a page out of NY baseball lore (since we’re the mercenary Yanks now):  You Gotta Believe.  Or, you know:  You Gotta Bereave.  We’ll see.  Stay tuned, darling people.  The marathon is going… going… gone…

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