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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Revenge of the "Lunatic Fringe"

San Francisco Giants General Manager Brian Sabean made a comment early in the year about his critics, calling them the "lunatic fringe." The team's PR department must have loved that when it happened, and now that the team is fading and couldn't pull off a decent deadline deal, the "lunatic fringe" line is coming back to haunt him big time.

Today's Betting Fool (via Memphis Bengal) in the Chronicle says:

Sabean made the gross mistake of calling people who dared question his baseball genius the "lunatic fringe." These people don't seem so crazy now.

The Alameda Times-Star says, "Maybe the 'Lunatic Fringe' was right, and Sabean neglected to get a hitter to protect Bonds." Even the Giants page on MLB.com mentions the "lunatic fringe" remark in a season summary:

April was, to be sure, horrendous, as the club tumbled down the National League West stairs and went kersplat in the basement. This wasn't the division's wine cellar with its fragrant air of cabernet sauvignon, but the bottom of the barrel with a foul stink of dregs, prompting a segment of whine sellers whom general manager Brian Sabean called the "lunatic fringe" to write San Francisco off.

Such an impatient lot.

That was written July 1, predicting the team would make no big move at the deadline. The team is still just two out for the wild card (three in the loss column, as of this writing), but there seems to be a very negative outlook right now, given recent struggles (here's a nifty chart tracking the NL West race).

Sabean opened himself up to relentless criticism through that one remark that I'm sure he'll have trouble living down for a very long time. It has to rank right up there with the most out-of-touch things a guy from a pro sports team's front office has ever said to try to shut up naysayers. Rick Pitino's "walking through that door" tirade comes to mind. So does Portland Trailblazer GM Bob Whitsitt's comment that he "didn't major in chemistry" when confronted with charges that there was a lack of chemistry on the team he had put together.