I just spent half an hour or so talking to Henry Schulman, a sportswriter for the Chronicle. Henry wanted my perspective on the work of Giants GM Brian Sabean for a piece he's putting together as Sabean begins his 10th year with the club. Schulman said he wanted someone who could give a less-positive perspective without ranting too much ... Sabean doesn't lack for champions of his work, so I guess I was representing the dark side.
It was very fun to do this interview. I tried to be fair in discussing Sabean, who has many strong qualities as a GM, despite all the complaining I do about him. What was especially fun, though, was getting Henry's picture of the team. Sportswriters work behind the scenes without being a part of the scene, which limits somewhat the amount of insight you can pick up. Nonetheless, Schulman obviously has a different and deeper understanding of the interactions amongst the Giants community. And while I don't want to say anything too specific ... not that he said anything all that outrageous, but I don't want to abuse any possible confidences ... I can say that it's very interesting to think about how a baseball club is, in many ways, a lot like any other enterprise, with office politics, people who are liked and people who aren't liked, pressures from above and below, stuff like that.
I will say this: while Henry Schulman is not blind to some of Sabean's deficiencies, he did a good job of presenting Sabe's train of thought. I came away from this with a better sense of how Sabean works.
OK, I can tell one thing he told me ... Neal, this is for you, I asked him about this specifically with you in mind. I said my son thought Mark Gardner would make a good pitching coach, and Schulman agreed that Gardner had the players' confidence, that he was helpful, and that a future as a pitching coach might be in the cards. Henry also added that Righetti likes working with Gardner as well, that they complement each other, and that there wouldn't appear to be any immediate changes in the Giants coaching staff.