We begin Odds & Ends this week with the San Francisco Giants and changes that are already happening and may be coming.
In the midst of their 11-game losing streak,the longest in the team’s 60-year history in San Francisco, the team fired strength and conditioning coach Carl Kochen prior to the start of the team’s series against Colorado. Kochen had been with the team for almost seven seasons.
Giants CEO Larry Baer said Thursday on KNBR radio that the team plans to ‘shake it up’ this winter,which includes making changes to a roster headed for a second losing season in a row during a year where things were expected to get much better. This is leaving many around the organization to wonder if their positions are safe come wintertime.
One person in particular who’s status is up in the air is manager Bruce Bochy,the man who helped lead the Giants to three world championships this decade. Bochy,63, is very much open to returning but the front office is non-committal to saying if he will stay or go until the season is over.
“The love of the game and the desire to get back to the postseason,” Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle ,”I’d love to have another shot at winning the championship. That doesn’t mean it happens like you want, but that’s what I want. I’m still hungry for that.”
“We evaluate the season when the season is over,” Baer told the Chronicle.
Bochy’s contract runs through the 2019 season,as do the contracts of executives Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean.
I honestly think that yes,a shakeup is in order,both on the field and in the front office. I do think roster moves need to be made to give this team a chance to be successful. I have a lot of concern that it will happen given the fact that the ballpark isn’t friendly to hitters at all in a time where baseball is seeing a power surge which more than likely means that a guy like Bryce Harper,as much as I want him to be in an orange and black uniform, isn’t coming their way,not to mention that Evans has not made the grade for me as the team’s general manager.
I think big contracts like Melancon, Cueto,and Samardzija need to come off the books somehow,someway. These three are making way too much money to not only be inefficient but also on the shelf for a team that needs healthy bodies on the field. I also think it’s time to see anyone who isn’t a core player go,and to me,the core is Buster Posey,Brandon Crawford,Madison Bumgarner,and Steven Duggar. Those guys should be safe. Everyone else,not so much.
Now to the front office and it’s obvious if you’ve read my stuff for a long time who I think should go and it’s the man who has helped bring the team down to the lowest of low points. Ever since Evans took over as general manager,he hasn’t made the best moves to acquire talent. The Melancon deal was a bust, Cueto and Samardzija were good for a bit but have since been money pits as players and his failure to get quality power hitters like Giancarlo Stanton have left more to be desired for Giants fans.
Two aesthetic changes also need to be made: Bring in the fences slightly in Triples Alley and lower the price of the fucking beer for Christ’s sake! Charging $20 for that is atrocious.
Moving to hockey and the San Jose Sharks acquiring one of hockey’s best defensemen in Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo,two minor leaguers,the Sharks’ first-round pick in 2020, second-round pick in 2019 and a conditional second-round pick in 2021.
Karlsson and the Senators’ front office/ownership have had a rocky relationship for the better part of a year and trading him seemed to be a matter of time. Rumors of him going to Tampa Bay,or Dallas or Vegas proved to be just that. He joins an already rich San Jose squad with guys like Joe Pavelski,Logan Couture,Brett Burns and Evander Kane that could be contenders for the Stanley Cup this year and have made other Western Conference teams even angrier with the move. Karlsson’s contract,however,expires after this year,but it’s expected that he will sign an extenion with San Jose sometime this season.
Meanwhile this leaves Ottawa fans with no confidence with what the team is doing going forward and it leaves me to wonder if they’ll be any good this year. I don’t think so. On paper this is a great trade for the Sharks and as much as one of my friends is skeptical about losing Tierney and DeMelo, I think the team is only going to benefit by having a two-time Norris Trophy winner on its already deep roster. The one thing that makes it a bad trade is if Karlsson doesn’t come back next year,which I fail to see happening.
Le’ Veon Bell’s holdout with the Pittsburgh Steelers continues as his team prepares it’s game plan against the Kansas City Chiefs for its home opener and it doesn’t look like the 26-year-old tailback is going to end it anytime soon,even as his replacement James Conner looks to be capable of handling the workload.
Two days after his team tied the Cleveland Browns 21-21 to start the season, Bell was spotted at a Miami nightclub partying through the night and into the morning,a clear sign that he is clear on what he wants as far as a new contract goes and how far away he is from coming back anytime soon.
Several teammates have come out to voice their dismay with everything with much of that on the Bell hasn’t returned to the team with regular season underway. The team has even gone as far as removing Bell from their depth chart.
Honestly the Steelers need to worry about who is on the team right now and who isn’t. Yes,Bell is a very talented player who they were counting on to help them contend for a Super Bowl this year, but if he’s going to be this disrespectful and not be a part of this team and contribute when the guy who is filling his spot is doing so admirably at the moment,then you don’t need to worry about him.
If you ask me,I think you should trade him and get the best possible value for him. I’m reminded of a time,not too long ago when linebacker Jamie Collins of the Patriots was traded to Cleveland after it was reported he wanted “Von Miller money” from the team. It was an upsetting move to me at the time,but I understood it as time went on. Not one player should be bigger than the team and it seems like the Steelers are allowing it at the moment. If Bell was on the Patriots,he would’ve been traded to a much lesser team by now and while I’m not suggesting the Steelers do exactly that,I am suggesting that they do what they need to do to make this situation go away and trading your star tailback and getting something tangible back for him is probably the best way to go about it.
Finally this week, the era of slamming people into tables outside Bills home games may be coming to an end.
The Bills and the Erie County, New York, sheriff’s office have made it a point of emphasis to police table-slamming this season, although rules against the activity have already existed as part of the team’s code of fan conduct at New Era Field.
In the past few seasons Bills fans have taken part in slamming themselves and others into plastic tables,sometimes on fire as they’re doing it,giving the nickname Bills Mafia to its rowdy and daring fan base.
“Despite some of the viral videos and social media posts you’ll see, our fans in general are very good, and they are very responsible and have a good time,” Bills vice president of operations and guest experience Andy Major said. “But we want to make sure that everyone understands that we’re going to hold those folks accountable — the [small] minority of fans that do some of those things out there in the community and on game day that we feel are unsafe — we are going to take care of that with our [security] teams.”
While this knocks out my main back-up plan in life in case my career now is over like that to open a store in western New York that sells nothing but folding tables,you do have to have some order outside of these games and have to keep people safe while having as good of a time as possible on Sundays.
I get that their fan base is what it is and they’re trying to have fun,but I see these videos and think that this was the kind of thing that fans did when their team was so bad for so long,but also that sooner or later someone’s going to die from all of this. I don’t want people to go to jail over it,that’s a bit too far,but they need to not get someone seriously hurt,either.
That’s all this week for Odds & Ends,have a great weekend,everybody!