Charlie B. Johnson’s decision to promote Brian Sabean to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and extend him and manager Bruce Bochy through 2019 is a right and proper thing to do. Three rings, and all the bragging rights at every restaurant in Palm Beach, Florida, will make an owner want to do that.
(We’d say Larry Baer here, but this is the sort of thing that he’d have to run through Charlie B., and the sort of thing Charlie B. would have to sign on to, therefore the credit goes to him).
But in the final analysis, no matter who had to sign the paperwork, the real question remains: Is that really a sufficient reward to the two men who are by any analysis the architects of the most arrhythmic dynast-ette in baseball history? “Hey, we’ll give you some more money and you can keep your jobs for the next four years?” Where are the sailing ships of tribute from foreign lands? Where are the promises of perpetual emeritus employment? Where are the sedan chair rides to and from work with hordes of dewy-eyed interns scattering rose petals in their paths?
I mean, extensions are all well and good (and Bobby Evans being kicked up to the title of general manager is probably happy news at the Evans house and all), but they seem oddly mundane rewards for making San Francisco a baseball town. That takes a level of heavy lifting unfathomable by mere mortals.
So what to do then for the men who have won everything? Consider this their SkyMall moment.
• BALLPARK STATUES: This is pretty de rigueur stuff these days at new ballparks, so Sabean sitting in a ballpark seat or Bochy standing at a dugout railing is a little boring for the modern conceptual artist. Thus, we suggest two massive bronze pieces.
One would be a gigantic fliptop cellphone with a crank on the side to commemorate Sabean’s Vietnam War-era mobile (the crank is there to power it, since batteries hadn’t been invented when he bought the phone). The other would merely be Bochy’s enormous conk, with Saturn-like rings made of moons of the 94 men who have managed big league teams since he took the job.
• BETTER TITLES: “Executive vice president” is the sort of wordy honorific upon which Sabean would unclog his nostrils. “Godfather,” “El Jefe,” “Undisputed Lord Of The Manor” or “La Camicia Nera (The Black Shirt)” would serve better. You know, something to make people come close to wetting themselves when they must invoke it.
As for Bochy, and we hate to keep going back to this seemingly bottomless well, but “The Head” is better than merely “manager.” Now he’d wince at the notion, but that’s the price he pays for failing to fail so often.
• OBJECTS NAMED AFTER THEM: For Sabean, an in-stadium restaurant where the walls, tables, upholstery and dishes are all black (“come for the absence of spatial relationships, stay for the food”). For Bochy, the Giants clubhouse and interview room, where he has spent his happiest and most miserable hours.
• SERVANTS AND OTHER AIDES: They both have ample support staffs, but they need official titles, like “The Sabe-ettes” and “Boch-ettes.” The jobs of course would be gender-neutral so as to preserve harmony at home. You don’t want Kim Bochy giving him the snake-eye after a long day at work and snarling, “And how were the Boch-ettes today?”
• NAMING RIGHTS: Sabean gets some credit for having helped build and icon-icize the ballpark, having been here since 1996, but since he can’t pay enough as the phone company, maybe just naming the suite level after him, with pikes at regular intervals with the heads of the 74 general managers who have been fired since he was hired. It would look kind of like a Tudor prison that way.
As for Bochy, the dugout for when he retires, but until then, the sunflower seed bucket would be a way to go. Humble, yet utilitarian.
• And finally, ON-FIELD VALET PARKING for both of them. They don’t need it, living as close as they do to the park, but for the same reason Guy Caballero didn’t need the wheelchair in SCTV but used it anyway.
For respect. Charlie B. would understand.