If you’re part of the Giants’ brain trust that ushered out the Barry Bonds Era in San Francisco on Wednesday, today you understand exactly how Steve Martin’s character felt at the end of “Father of the Bride.”
You’ve just hosted a fabulous and emotional party that ended with you saying goodbye as a family member you’ve coddled for years leaves your home for a new, independent chapter of life.
You’re absolutely exhausted. You’re vaguely satisfied. And try as you might to fight it, you’re a little bit sad.
Oh, and what’s left of your house is a bit of a mess.
As the enormity of the moment starts to sink in, an enormous question hangs in the air:
Martin’s character still had a wife and young son to take care of at the end of the movie, and Giants ownership and management, in a sense, has the same thing in Bruce Bochy and a collection of promising young talent.
But thanks to the inevitable sequel, Martin was reunited with the beloved daughter to which he bid adieu in the first flick, and a whole new set of silly adventures ensued.
But unless young Nikolai Bonds quickly blossoms into a legitimate big-league power hitter with every bit of the gate appeal his tempestuous father possesses, there will be no sequel to this saga for the Giants.
The only remaining similarity is that the next edition of the Giants might be playing to as many empty seats as did “Father of the Bride II.” Bringing back Martin Short didn’t make the movie any more appealing to the masses, and Martin Short is a heck of a lot more entertaining than Dave Roberts, Randy Winn, Ray Durham and Rich Aurilia combined.
So now what? The Giants are loathe to use the word rebuild, and with the starting rotation they’re returning and the mounds of money they’ve banked while in bed with Bonds, they really don’t need to tear it all down and start from the foundation.
What they need to do is what the producers of “Bride II” did not, and that is infuse the franchise with a fresh breath of air in the form of a big-name star that everyone wants to see. Unfortunately, the free-agent market this winter probably won’t feature any leading men.
Alex Rodriguez? He’s certainly the 2008 baseball equivalent of 1995 Hollywood’s Mel Gibson. But Gibson was busy with the a little project called “Braveheart” when “Bride II” was filming, and while A-Rod can opt out of his epic contract at the end of the year, it’ll take a team with the bravest of hearts to pony up the kind of cash Rodriguez can command.
Are the Giants that brave? If they’re not, they’ll be battling the rest of baseball for guys such as Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Mike Cameron, Aaron Rowand and Mike Lowell.
And let’s be honest: All of the above are nice players, and they’d be of some help. But they’re more 1995 Kevin Costner than Mel Gibson, and we all know what happened to “Waterworld” that year.
Mychael Urban is the author of “Aces: The Last Season On The Mound With The Oakland A’s Big Three — Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito” and a writer for MLB.com. He also hosts the weekend edition of “Sportsphone 680” on KNBR (680 AM).