Alright, so maybe I jinxed him and hopefully this will reverse it, but
that’s a far shot of an excuse for the way Rich Aurilia has been
producing offensively. The only notable good offensive days he’s had
recently are game four against the Cardinals in St. Louis, where he
went 3-4, and game three against the Rockies in Colorado, where he went
2-4 with a single and his ninth jack of the season. After that game,
the Giants were hoping for Richie to be heating up going into Arizona,
where he has always been able to produce.
Wrong. In nine at-bats, Richie mustered up one hit at the BOB...
granted he did not play in the first game, despite his decent success
against Miguel Batista and great history at the BOB. Alou just likes
Neifi Perez more, but that’s a different story. Richie has had the most
homeruns at the BOB as an opposing player, even more than Barry Bonds,
and yet, he came up with nothing. And what about Coors Field? Richie
loves playing at Coors, and sure he had a few hits, but before the
final game in Colorado, Richie went one for twenty-seven this season in
So why is this so? Well, Richie lost a lot in his swing. You almost
want to reach out to try and catch him when you watch him swing because
he’s so off-balanced. I am not even going to get into his early season
eye problems because that has obviously been over and done with- Richie
can see fine, and if not, then just slap on those cute goggles, buddy.
The one thing that could have been a factor was his abdominal pains,
which may have caused him to lose some hip and lower body motion in his
swing. Whatever it is, you can bet Richie is glad to be home for the
All-Star break, and you can bet he’s happy the first half of this
season is over.
Are the Giants going to get rid of him before August? No, I don’t think
so. Is it possible? Yes, it is, but let’s look at why the Giants will
give him a chance. Richie is a franchise player and has always been
with this team. He’s given them his prime years as a player, on and off
the field... So the least the Giants can do is give him the second half
of the season to redeem his first half misfortunes.
Richie’s presence on the team is valuable as well. Players, especially
rookies, look to him for leadership. How many times has Jerome Williams
looked back at him when he gets into a jam, and Richie responds with
a, “Just get him to hit it to us and we’ll do the rest.”? If you
haven’t been paying any attention to that, look again. It happens every
single time. Leadership is a rare quality to have in players,
especially from veteran players who have been playing for their fair
share of time. They take rookies under their wings and carry and guide
them through life as a big leaguer.
And how many times have we seen Richie play defense? He is one of the
most underrated shortstops in the league, and yet he comes up with
spectacular stops. The dynamic infield of him, Ray Durham, and
especially with J.T. Snow on the receiving end is a rare combination to
find in the league and has led the Giants to be the best defensive team
this season with the fewest errors.
On the field, he’s a reassuring leader, and when his offense slumps,
you can always count on his defense to come through. Off the field,
he’s a community player. He is one of the more popular Giants amongst
fans because of his extensive community services and his fan
interaction. He has also been one of the more vocal players, speaking
up on issues dealing with baseball as well as everything else. His
voice can be heard on KNBR and on TV broadcasts no matter if the Giants
win or not, and no matter if he’s in the biggest slump of his career.
Fans respect how much time he takes for his community, and don’t think
that Sabean isn’t going to look into that when Richie’s name comes up.
Do I sound biased? Yes. Am I biased? Yes. We’ve still got half a season
left, and we’ve all seen what a 2001 season Richie looks like. No one
is taking Richie’s slump as hard as Richie himself is, so don’t think
for a moment that this guy is going to give up. It’s not for his own
glory, it’s to help his team win... And don’t doubt the determination
he’s going to have coming back for the second half.
Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She
currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for
SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the
meaning of life can be sent to Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org
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