At 30-41, the Giants are on nearly the same embarrassing pace as the last Giants to team to finish in last place: the 1996 wonders that finished with 94 losses.
Let’s take a closer look at how the two teams measure up against each other, position by position.
Catcher: Bengie Molina is the MVP of this current Giants squad. After hearing stories of Molina steaming for an hour after losses, still in his gear, there’s no doubt in our mind that he should be the Giants’ All-Star representative. Send the guy who actually cares about wins and losses. Plus, he’s leading the team in hitting (.294). As for the 1996 team, catching duties were split between Rick Wilkins (who could hit but not throw), Kirt Manwaring (who could throw but not hit) and Tom Lampkin (who just sucked). Edge: 2007
1st Base: It’s bad when the ESPN stats page doesn’t even recognize your team as having a starting first baseman. It’s worse when your two-man platoon of Rich Aurilia and Ryan Klesko (five homers combined–at a power position, we remind you) might not hit more homeruns than the quite possibly the single worst regular first baseman in memory: Mark Carreon. The Klesko/Aurilia combo is hitting exactly .260. Carreon hit exactly .260 with nine homeruns in 1996. Heavens. Edge: 1996, because Carreon was one person and Klesko/Aurilia are two people. In theory.
2nd Base: For better or worse, Steve Scarsone (along with William VanLandingham) is the poster child for the awful ’96 team. He hit .213 and was trying to replace a fan favorite in Robby Thompson (who, for the record, also sucked that year in a backup role, hitting a neat .211). Meanwhile, Ray Durham is somehow the Giants’ premiere power hitter behind Senor Bonds. He plays defense like he has a frying pan on his wrist, is hitting .262 and is due for his biweekly DL stint, but … Steve Scarsone. Edge: 2007
Shortstop: This one’s tough for us Omar fans. Do you take a 24-year-old Rich Aurilia, hitting .239 in his first season in the bigs? Or a 40-year-old Omar Vizquel, the fielding wiz/Hall of Famer hitting .220? … Good lord neither of these teams could hit. Edge: 1996, on age.
3rd Base: All-league slugger and Gold Glover Matt Williams, still in his prime (more or less) or Pedro “It’s hard ground ball to short!” Feliz? Please. Edge: 1996
Left Field: A 31-year-old Barry Bonds put up this line pre-steroids: 122 runs, 42 homers, .308 average, 129 RBI, 151 walks with an OPS of 1.076. He also took home a Gold Glove. Edge: 1996
Center Field: Marvin Benard’s Contract was the worst Giant of the mid-90s. At least Dave Roberts can run fast and has a cool goatee. Edge: 2007
Right Field: Glenallen Hill, orange Oakleys and bulging arms aside, was still a decent power hitter. He hit 19 homeruns in less than 100 games with the Giants. On a team with Ray Durham as the “other” threat, I’d sacrifice average for power. Plus, when you’re losing so much, every bit of entertainment helps, and nothing–nothing!–was more entertaining than watching G-Hill meander after flyballs in the windswept confines of the ‘Stick. Edge: 1996
Starting Pitching: Not even close. To remind you, the 1996 starting rotation consisted of the aforementioned VanLandingham, Allen Watson, Mark Leiter, Osvaldo Fernandez and Mark Gardner (though Shawn Estes was a late-season call-up, if we remember correctly). Edge: 2007
Bullpen: Both terrible, but at least the ’96ers had one of the best closers in the game: Rod. Beck. He somehow racked up 35 saves that year. Edge: 1996
Final Tally:: 1996: 6, 2007: 4 — so this present team is indeed worse by our scientific methods. Next up, the 1985 disaster.