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 Colorado... Ouch.
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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