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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

San Francisco Giants Make Their Sales Pitch -- And It's Zito-Esque

Posted By on Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 7:00 AM

As baseball fans, I think we can all agree that Tim Lincecum is spectacular. Even homeless men told me last year that the Giants were too painful to follow -- this coming from men who have slept on pavement for 30 years -- but they still peered through the fence when the Cy Young Award winner pitched.

Unfortunately, the team's sales pitch regarding their young prodigy is something like this: "So, you like Tim Lincecum, right? Everyone likes Tim Linceum. So, are you interested in ... some term life insurance? How about an old Ford Taurus? Some candy corn?"

Last year, like many others, I bought "K-Zone" tickets for Giants games. And why not? It was a spectacular deal. Imagine Lincecum -- the league's strikeout king -- whiffed 12 batters in his previous start. At his next home appearance, you could get 12 bucks off certain tickets (but only if you asked for it, special). It was possible to watch the National League's best pitcher for as little as $4.

I don't remember leaving my phone number when I bought those tickets, but the team did call me up. The Giants representative was awfully candid with me, so I'll give him an assumed name -- Manfred.

Manfred wasn't too optimistic there'd be another great deal like "K-Zone." Instead they're pushing something called "Cy Young Packs." The Giants now have three award-winners on their staff: Lincecum (2008), Randy Johnson (1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002), and Barry Zito (2002). OK, fair enough.

But it warrants mentioning that Johnson is now 45 years old and Zito -- well, he seems like a decent guy, but watching him pitch stirs an urge to visit the dentist. What's more, since the $55, four-game Cy Young Packs pick contests as far into future as as the middle of summer, there's no telling who will be pitching. Manfred agreed that you would have a three out of five chance that Lincecum, Johnson, or Zito would be on the mound that day (I'd consider going in for a plan that guaranteed Zito wasn't pitching).

In short, this is a crappy deal and a poorly thought-out sales pitch. The "K-Zone" let me watch the best pitcher in the realm for five bucks. This gives me a crapshoot (in some pitchers' cases a literal CRAP shoot) and costs about $14 bucks a ticket for seats that usually cost around $10 on Monday through Thursday.

Manfred also admitted to me that he has his reservations about Zito and confessed that the team probably just signed Johnson for the spectacle of him winning his 300th game as a Giant. The salesman also was keenly aware that San Francisco's batters turned in the lowest home run total of any squad in the league -- so it won't matter who's pitching if that doesn't improve. Finally, he managed to call the team's All-Star closer Brian Wilson "Brian Martin."

See you in the cheap seats, Manfred.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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