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For some Giants fans, Carlos Correa news is ‘the final straw’



© Neville E. Guard | 2021 Oct 8

Joe McCormac has been a Giants fan his entire life — through the team’s ups and downs, the freezing nights at Candlestick Park, the near-move to Tampa Bay. He’s seen six managers, three World Series trophies and dozens of splash hits.

McCormac, 42, has been going to Scottsdale for Giants spring training every year since 1999. He had season tickets from 2000-2009 and again from 2011 to 2018. He’s traveled to other cities to watch his favorite team.

After all that, he’s no longer a fan. 

“Giants fans are tired of being runners-up,” McCormac told KNBR. “The Giants’ last (World Series) title is nearly a decade old. Farhan (Zaidi) was hired to build the farm system and then strike when the time was right on big free agents. They’ve failed. Ownership has not shown they have the tenacity to go out and get star players and the fan base realizes this. 

“As of right now, I have zero interest in the 2023 Giants. They have a roster full of no names and no one that is worth the price of admission. I have loved this team for 40+ years but I refuse to support them until there is a regime change at the ownership level…Until I see a change in philosophy, I will focus my dollars and attention on other endeavors.”

McCormac’s disaffection is the direct result of the Giants’ failure to execute their agreed-upon deal with shortstop Carlos Correa. The once-passionate fan hadn’t bought a jersey since 2011, but was planning on purchasing Correa threads as soon as they became available. That jersey won’t ever appear in the team’s dugout store. 

Perhaps more than ever before in Major League Baseball, the Giants’ past week invigorated and then exasperated an entire fanbase. 

On Dec. 13, the Giants agreed to terms with Correa on a contract that would have made him the fourth highest paid player of all time and the franchise’s cornerstone for the next decade. 

On Dec. 20, due to a difference in opinion on his physical, Correa signed with the New York Mets.

Without landing a superstar like Correa, the Giants’ offseason is lost. They might stand to lose even more, financially and intangibly, by disillusioning their fanbase. 

Details are still emerging as to how and why the blockbuster deal fell through. Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, told The Athletic that he gave the Giants “reasonable time” to complete the contract. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reported that a 2014 ankle and leg injury — when Correa was 19 — rose alarm bells for the Giants. 

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi released a statement.

“While we are prohibited from disclosing confidential medical information, as Scott Boras stated publicly, there was a difference of opinion over the results of Carlos’ physical examination,” Zaidi said in the statement. “We wish Carlos the best.”

That won’t do much to smooth the situation over. For Stephen Scarpulla, a season ticket holder since 2004, it was the breaking point. 

“I guess you could say it’s still unfolding,” Scarpulla told KNBR. “I think kind of waking up to it, it was kind of like what the hell happened? Let’s give them a (chance) to explain themselves. But I think the explanation that Farhan released…was unsatisfactory. I think I speak for the other members of our season ticket holder group, we all said that was the final straw.” 

Scarpulla and his two friends shared season tickets, and he said he’d go to about 60 games per year. They sat in the center field bleachers first then upgraded to the club level. No longer.

“We all talked amongst each other, like ‘hey, something doesn’t pass the smell test here.’ None of us have any intent on renewing,” Scarpulla said. 

Because the deal fell through so fast, many are still processing the stunning turn of events. Ryan Muir, 30, said he had reservations about signing a player with an injury history because of what his other favorite team, the Sharks, have gone through with the oft-injured Erik Karlsson. 

Even so, the club’s inability to land franchise-altering stars has gotten to Muir. 

“It’s been really tough to continue to be as die-hard of a Giants fan,” Muir said. “Sadly, what’s been nice is how many tickets go on resale and how easy it is to get tickets for cheap. But even now, it’s like do I even really want to go support the team? Even for good, cheap tickets?” 

Muir said he’ll go to much fewer games than the 10 to 20 he averages now because of this week’s sour taste. He added that one of his friends terminated the season tickets he had for 10 years. 

The sentiment of canceling season tickets is boiling in the wake of the Correa debacle. KNBR host Brian Murphy ranted on the air “I don’t know if I can keep my season ticket group together after this.” Another KNBR host, Tom Tolbert, said that the Giants should refund the season ticket packages bought after news broke of Correa signing. 

Though the Giants never made the signing official, they’d scheduled a press conference to introduce Correa and had begun an ad campaign featuring Correa in a Giants uniform promoting three-game holiday ticket packages. 

Alienating fans is never ideal, but it’s particularly problematic for the Giants in this moment of time. 

Last year, the Giants averaged 30,650 paying fans per game. It was the poorest attendance in Oracle Park’s history, excluding seasons restricted by COVID-19. 

On Sept. 29, Carlos Rodón made his final start at Oracle Park. He had put together one of the most dominant pitching campaigns in Giants history, breaking Tim Lincecum’s record for double-digit strikeout games. In that Thursday night outing — a six-inning, two-hit, 10-strikeout masterpiece — Rodón pitched in front of 24,112 paying fans. Oracle Park’s capacity is 41,915. 

“I’ve always enjoyed pitching here,” Rodón, now a Yankee, said after that gem. “It’s definitely a home field advantage when I pitch at this park and the boys play good defense. It seems like when the crowd’s behind us, we play well.”

Despite winning 107 games in 2021, many vocal supporters clamored for more star power during San Francisco’s 81-81 season, its first after Buster Posey’s retirement. Correa was supposed to fill that void for the next 13 years. For a week, the Giants — and their fans — finally had their guy. 

Then the nightmare scenario unraveled, leaving a roster without a signature everyday star and fans exasperated. The Correa signing that salvaged SF’s offseason undid it just as rapidly when it collapsed. 

No more game-changing free agents remain available. The Giants are projected to have a payroll of roughly $153 million — $80 million below the luxury tax threshold and less than last year’s .500 roster. 

“The fans don’t know where we’re going,” Muir said. “We kind of started to rebuild, but we didn’t. But then who did we sign? We haven’t really signed anybody big with all the money we’ve been offloading…Anybody, any of the top 15 free agents, and we got nothing. And how it went down, it was just so bad.” 

“Fans, we always say ‘In Farhan we trust,’ but it’s really starting to wear thin,” Brian Cook, a 29-year-old medical salesman and lifelong fan, said. 

Cook said attends about 30 to 45 games per year. After this week, that number will likely decline.

“I’m always going to ride with my team, but it is frustrating,” Cook said. “Those weekday games when you’ve got nothing going on and you’re like ‘hey, let’s go check out the team at the ballpark,’ this is a time when I’m really going to second-guess if I’m going to buy that ticket.”