If new San Francisco Giants managing general partner William Neukom runs his franchise like he picks his bow ties, things will be good.
At his first press conference since taking over for Peter Magowan as the Giants' managing general partner and chief executive officer the first day of October, Neukom stressed how much he wants things done the right way.
"We want to develop a 'Giants Way' of playing baseball," the team's new managing general partner told reporters Tuesday. "My idea is that we adhere to it at the minor-league level and all the way up. It's how you play the game, conditioning, fundamentals, a rigorous Spring Training regimen, everything. We want the best talent, the best teachers, the best leaders, the best trainers, and we want to have better communication on what we want and how we want it done."
With Neukom having the backing of General Manager Brian Sabean and Manager Bruce Bochy, the former American Bar Association president will have experience around him to make sure he does his job right.
"What I want to be is good at my job, and that means, again, we get the right baseball talent and teach the fundamentals, we play the game the way it ought to be played and have a winning culture and a winning record. And on the business side, we have remarkable people doing extraordinary things because of their incentive to do it."
He also had kind words for Sabean for, over the past few years, putting a bigger emphasis on youth and making them the cornerstone of the franchise for years to come.
"The question is how many of those people will be able to deliver that consistently over a full major-league season, and we think some of them will and should, surely, without naming names," Neukom said.
"Then there's the next round of talent, which is deeper in our farm system. We want to bring those people along in a way that enables them to convert their gifts into major-league skills, and we think we'll have maybe a little more time and a little more discretion. Some of the people who came up this year, frankly, came up sooner than might have been perfect if we had a deeper system.
"It somewhat accelerated things in 2008, and we hope we can get to more of a sort of modulated progression for this very promising talent as we bring these people along from Single-A to Double-A to Triple-A and up to the Giants."
The new boss also discussed the contracts of Sabean and Bochy, with both of them expiring at the end of next season.
"We're not going to be distracted by that," said Neukom. "We're going to focus on making sure our trajectory toward competitiveness goes up from where it was in '08 so we can have a team we can all be proud of in '09 and beyond. That's job one."
And building off of that, Neukom didn't rule out the possibility of letting Sabean splash some cash this winter and going over the usual budget of around $90 million
"Think in terms of how you're going to assemble a roster that's going to be competitive in '09 and come back to us. We may not be able to afford Plan A; we may tell you that we're really at Plan B or Plan C because of financial realities. But we've asked him, without being wild about it, don't be limited entirely by the notion that you have 'X' amount of dollars to spend for '09. Think somewhat out of the box and be creative about this. We just think that's the way you run a talent business."
It should be obvious that the Giants are still in the rebuilding mode, whether you like it or not.
However, if Neukom keeps rockin' the bow ties, the seats next to the Giants dugout will look awfully fancy next season.
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