Monday, August 08, 2005

Larry Krueger Steps In It

Those of you outside the Bay Area may be aware of the fact that the Giants just aren't very good this year. However, you're probably not aware of the fracas that's been stirred up since the end of last week, when a commentator on the Giants' flagship station, KNBR, took the team to task by commenting, among other things, about the team's "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly." He also had some choice words for Felipe Alou, regarding whom he opined that "You have a manager in Felipe whose mind has turned to Cream of Wheat."

This would be obnoxious enough just about anywhere, but in a town like San Francisco and with a manager like Felipe who, whatever his managerial shortcomings, takes absolutely zero guff from anyone and also experienced racism American-style back in the '50s as a minor-leaguer in Louisiana - well, you've got the makings of an old-fashioned mud-wrestling match. Add into that the fact that KNBR actually owns (a very small) part of the Giants and is the only sports-radio station in the area with major-league wattage and the story only gets weirder. Thus far, KNBR has suspended Krueger for a week but not fired him; the Giants haven't demanded any firings but have cancelled some of their pre-game hype shows and just generally look pretty cheesed off. Particularly Felipe and the seven or so Latin American players on the active roster.

Without getting into how big an ass Krueger made of himself from a racist-comment-making perspective, was he even right? That is, have the Giants' "Caribbean players" been "brain-dead" and "hacking at slop every night"?

Weeelll... no. Let's look at the guys Krueger might plausibly have been referring to:

  • Moises Alou: hitting .328/.418/.507 with 46 walks and just 32 strikeouts.
  • Pedro Feliz: hitting .267/.309/.446 with 26 walks and 66 strikeouts
  • Alex Sanchez: hitting .324/.353/.432 with 8 walks and 34 strikeouts in limited action
  • Omar Vizquel: hitting .290/.350/.382 with 36 walks and 35 strikeouts. Also providing Gold Glove-caliber defense at short.
  • Deivi Cruz: hitting .265/.299/.384 with 9 walks and 26 strikeouts in a backup role.
  • Edgardo Alfonzo: hitting .295/.349/.372 with 21 walks and 24 strikeouts.
Giants hitters altogether are hitting .267/.326/.398 with 310 walks and 575 strikeouts. It's not just the "Caribbean" players who are "swinging at slop" and of the regulars, only Feliz has been striking out a lot - Alou, Vizquel, and Alfonzo haven't been hacking away like there's no tomorrow at the plate.

Keep in mind that currently, the Giants rank 4th in the National League in batting, but just 12th in OBP and 14th in slugging. That's bad hitting, folks, but it's not just Alou, Alfonzo, Vizquel, Feliz, Cruz, and Sanchez doing the damage; it's been a team effort. And the real problem hasn't been making contact with the ball; it's been a lack of power hitting. So Krueger's not only making a fool of himself, but he's got his facts wrong.

KNBR correctly suspended him for making some racist comments about the Giants' players; they should fire him for not knowing what the heck he's talking about.

1 comment:

Bob K. said...

I believe they have since fired his ass.