Ray Ratto

Giants, Marlins put public onus on Giancarlo Stanton if deal falls through

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AP

Giants, Marlins put public onus on Giancarlo Stanton if deal falls through

The San Francisco Giants have agreed to take Giancarlo Stanton. Now they have to get Giancarlo Stanton to agree to be a Giant.

And that has always been the hardest part of this deal.

General manager Bobby Evans (speaking on KNBR 680) said the Giants and Miami Marlins have agreed on the framework of a deal that would send Stanton and the $295 million sticker on his carry-on bag to The Thing On King, which means that both teams have put the public onus on Stanton if this deal doesn’t happen.

Which I suspect Stanton is fine with carrying. There is no indication, though, that he either is or isn’t interested in anything other than a landing spot with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are better and reside closer to his ancestral home in Panorama City. Until he decides to come off his geographical preference, or the Dodgers announce they aren’t interested in him at the Marlins’ adjusted price tag, or he just decides he’d rather stay in Miami and try again next year, that’s where the issue resides.

The Giants want an answer by Monday, though, because they want to pivot in time for the winter meetings in Orlando. If Stanton doesn’t want San Francisco, they have other fish they need to fry, because standing pat with the worst power-hitting team in the game isn’t going to play well. The days of hiding behind their pitching staff are over; the game has changed into a zero-sum game where the Three True Outcomes are the new orthodoxy, and the Giants cannot sell the good old days now that they are truly good and old.

In short, the Giants and Marlins have done the easy part – agreeing with each other. Now comes the real work of making Stanton see the wisdom of resuscitating a moribund batting order one big fly at a time.

Frankly, were I Larry Baer, I’d consider hiring Stephen Curry and Draymond Green from the Warriors for a couple of days and putting on that Hamptons hard-sell that worked so well 18 months ago. The customers have gotten a nose full of Stanton, and that comforting bakery smell won’t go far without some actual baked goods.

Ed Lee's favorite team was The City itself

Ed Lee's favorite team was The City itself

Ed Lee was an activist for San Francisco his entire life, before and while he was its mayor. He fought aggressively for the city both conceptually and in practice from the time he entered public life as a defender of immigrants rights in the 1980s until he was elected mayor in 2011.

Thus, his passing of a heart attack early Tuesday morning left a hole in the city and its view of itself that will not be easy to fill. This includes his city-centric sports view, which was always “What’s good for the city is good by me.”

Like most mayors, he was there for the grand times, like the last two Giants World Series parades and the two Warriors arena ribbon cuttings. He was an unabashed facilitator for the Warrior projects in particular, even though the Pier 30/32 project had to be relocated to the south when public opposition to the project overwhelmed his ability to move opinions.

He also was the mayor on duty when the 49ers left for Santa Clara in 2014, though that move was already well in the works before he took office, which is why it is typically misleading to credit or blame a mayor for an owner’s whims.

Lee, though, was an unambiguously pro-business mayor, and insofar as sports franchises are actually businesses with games attached, he was all-in on the Giants and, later, the Warriors. Both teams sent statements of condolence, acknowledging that he was more than willing to be at their sides when his political or persuasive skills were required.

His replacement for the moment, acting mayor London Breed, will likely not have as visible a presence on the sporting landscape, as the Warriors arena project is already well underway and the Giants are safely ensconced at Third and King.

Lee’s measure as mayor, though, was not his sporting profile, as it has been for other mayors across the country. His favorite team was The City itself, and he fought for it passionately until his death. In that way, he was as important to his constituency as Buster Posey or Stephen Curry is to theirs, so in the end he seems less like an interloper on the sporting landscape and more a passionate advocate for the city in which they played, or will play in the future.

The Cult of Jimmy is already in full swing

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The Cult of Jimmy is already in full swing

It’s been two games and one series. It’s been 74:43 of playing time, 143 plays, 822 total yards, 643 passing yards, 48 points, three touchdowns, nine field goals, seven punts, 43 first downs and a rating of 92.7. Mostly, it’s been two wins in two weeks after two wins in the previous 64.

So yes, the Cult Of Jimmy is already in full swing.

San Francisco 49er fans have always been thus, going back four generations. They have wanted to love their quarterbacks instantly and fervently, until they decide to hate them. Frankly, it has a bit of creepy about it.

And now, based on those numbers over those two games and that one series, it is the Cult of Jimmy.

Yes, Garoppolo. As though you needed to ask.

People who are late to the Bay Area think this is logical fandom, applying simplistic notions like “Well, he’s better than the guy he replaced,” or “they haven’t been very good, and he represents hope.”

But that’s not it. It’s airborne, passed by dreamy-eyed ravings in taverns and at the office and the loading dock and the store floor. It’s pathological. It cannot be resisted. It’s aggressively peculiar to 49er fans in ways that no other fan base endures.

And the thing that makes it worse is the notion that Garoppolo is also considered by some of our more adamantly superficial citizens as handsome/pretty/borderline hot. That adds romanticism to the cult, which really does veer the whole movement toward the outskirts of Creepytown.

And yeah, it is exactly that, so don’t deny it. People did this with Colin Kaepernick, and Jeff Garcia, and Steve Young, and Joe Montana, and John Brodie and Frankie Albert too. It is a rite of passage for 49er fans, and the people in the middle of it don’t think it’s happening when it is in full bloom.

But here’s what changes it, when it can be changed at all: So-so performances in the next three weeks against Tennessee, Jacksonville and the Los Angeles Rams. Three clearly superior teams (though Tennessee doesn’t exactly fill the heart with the same dread as the other two) that can test the 49ers in ways that neither the Chicago Bears nor Houston Texans could.

If Garoppolo reverts to the NFL quarterbacking mean in those three games, then he will move from cult object to argument starter, the way Kaepernick and Alex Smith did. But if they win two of the three, and especially if one of the two wins comes against the Rams, the Cult of Jimmy will become a full-on Montana-level religion. It will take on its own life with its own costumery (49er jerseys with the number 10 will challenge Kaepernick and even Montana jerseys), and woe to anyone who argues against it by pointing out that just as two games is too small a sample size, so is five.

In short, the next three weeks may or may explain the 49ers to you, but they will certainly explain the full effects of the Cult of Jimmy. It is the 49er Way that no slogan or marketing campaign can ever capture.