San Francisco Giants Absorb Cheap Shot from Mets GM, Shellacking from the Nats

Bleacher ReportSenior Writer IJuly 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants connects on a first inning RBI single against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 23, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

San Francisco Giants fans will have to forgive New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson; I'll make no such plea in regard to the Washington Nationals.

But let's deal with the disgruntled GM first.

The man helped turn the Oakland Athletics back into a championship franchise, won a World Series over the Gents and still had to settle for second fiddle in the Bay Area. Now, he's reprised the role in the Big Apple, pulling strings for the Metropolitans while withering away in the shadow of the New York Yankees.

That's bound to make anyone a little bitter. 

As the San Francisco faithful have no doubt heard by now, Alderson has taken to Twitter to air his grievances over the 2012 MLB All-Star Game voting results.

His first tweet was reasonable enough since it could be construed as a criticism of the voting process—which is a joke; a transparent ploy to drive traffic to's website regardless of how it skews the results. Or, it could also be interpreted as a criticism of the Mets fans themselves. Either way, totally justifiable.

His second tweet? Yeah, not so much.

Look, I get that Alderson is going to bat for his guy. David Wright absolutely should be the National League's starting third baseman. You could find the most talented trial attorney on the planet, and he/she wouldn't be able to make a cogent, fact-driven argument supporting Pablo Sandoval's selection over Wright.

It simply does not exist.

If you're a sabermetrics true believer, Wright has been over three times the player that the Kung Fu Panda's been. Even if you're not a true believer, that's game-set-match as far as "who should start the All-Star game" is concerned.

Except that Giants fans voted like crazy, and Mets fans didn't.

One more fly in Alderson's ill-conceived, they-only-voted-for-a-cute-nickname ointment: Sandoval has actually been quite good when he's been on the field. Even after missing time with a hand injury, which is never an easy thing from which to rebound, Pablo's posted impressive numbers.

Amongst NL third basemen with a minimum of 180 plate appearances, he has the third highest average (.313), the fourth highest on-base percentage (.371) and the third highest slugging percentage (.506). He's also top 10 in home runs, runs scored and wins above replacement, while his 28 RBI are good for 11th at third base despite sitting for more than a month.

Furthermore, though Sandoval will never be confused with Brooks Robinson, he's been playing a nice 3B of late.

Again, none of this is to say he should be starting in the Midsummer Classic, nor even that he's got a strong argument for inclusion over, say, the San Diego Padres' Chase Headley or the Milwaukee Brewers' Aramis Ramirez.

It is to say, however, that the Panda's case is not a total joke. So it's disingenuous and a cheap shot to pretend that Giants fans only voted for a "cute nickname."

Speaking of cheap shots, I played Little League against Alderson's son, Bryn. I could take a few of my own at father and son, but I've got a bit more class than that (no condescension there—I'm not that classy). The elder Alderson is a former Marine who served a tour of duty in Vietnam; both of those distinctions are worthy of respect.

And kids will be kids. Of course, I'm not above mentioning that if Alderson is looking for someone to blame for the ASG results, I suggest he get himself a mirror.

As he pointed out, NYC is bursting at the seams with a population over eight million, which makes it 10 times the size of San Francisco's. With apologies to Burbank, New York City is also the media capital of the world; "The City" is not. New York is the city that never sleeps; many of the Sucka Free's inhabitants are too stoned to even turn on a computer. Finally, Wright's case for starting dwarfs that of Sandoval's.

Yet with those monumental advantages, the Mets front office couldn't or didn't try to mobilize its fanbase behind its franchise cornerstone. That's fine, as there are more important things than starting in the All-Star game—but then don't take to social media to whine about it afterward. Deal?

All right, enough about Alderson—his was one of two indignities inflicted upon Los Gigantes this week, and it was the lesser of the pair.

The real villain in SF's world these days is the franchise that calls our nation's capital its home.

The Washington Nationals obliterated the fragile shell of confidence around Tim Lincecum on Tuesday and then ambushed Madison Bumgarner on the Fourth of July after the southpaw had been staked to a three-run lead.

Even with Matt Cain on the bump in the final game of the series the Giants couldn't salvage a win, as the bullpen went up in flames with fill-in closer Santiago Casilla getting the loss in walk-off fashion.

The sweep in D.C. knocked the Giants out of first place and gives them five losses in their last seven games. Now the Giants head to Pittsburgh to take on their third first-place team in three series, which is neat considering they've only played two divisions in that span.

To be sure, there are mitigating factors to consider from the series with Washington.

The Nats have been as hot as the District's weather for the last couple weeks no matter what offensive stat you fancy.

The Freak has rarely excelled in hot weather, and he started the first game after a transcontinental trip. MadBum, well, he's entitled to an off night, and he did have to take the hill at an odd hour—11 a.m. ET (or, 8 a.m. PT). Meanwhile, Cainer bounced back from a poor start against the Cincinnati Reds before tiring in the heat and giving way to the aforementioned flammable 'pen.

Nevertheless, the Nationals are one of the best teams in baseball to date, and you'd always like to have a strong showing against the elite teams.

Unfortunately, the Giants will have to settle for a single close call.

And watching their third baseman start the All-Star game.


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