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Homegrown Heroes


There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Mark Teixeira cost $180 million. C.C. Sabathia cost $152 million. A.J. Burnett cost $82.5 million. And yes, the Yankees got their 27th World Championship for all that money.

But that was last year.

Glory is an extremely fleeting concept in major league baseball these days. Where are the Bronx Bombers and their league-leading $206 million payroll now?

Like the rest of us, they are sitting on their couches watching the San Francisco Giants, and the league’s 10th-largest payroll, dominate the game from 60-feet, 6-inches away.

A few years ago, the Tampa Bay Rays were showered with adoration, not just for reaching the World Series but for how they did it. It was long and tedious process. It was the right way to do things. It was the future of baseball.

One out of three isn’t too bad, because building through the draft and grooming the foundation for success from within has taken center stage once again. Just ask the Phillies. Or the Braves. Or even the Padres, for that matter.

So why haven’t the Giants, and general manager Brain Sabean, been given the same sort of praise the Rays got in 2008?

The blueprint for the Giants’ championship run is equally impressive, if not more so. Like the Rays, San Fran won the NL West and two subsequent playoff series based largely on excellent homegrown pitching. In fact, the four-man homegrown rotation of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner is only the second fully homegrown rotation in postseason history (since the inception of the draft in 1965), the other being the 1986 Boston Red Sox rotation comprised of Roger Clemens, Oil Can Boyd, Al Nipper and Bruce Hurst.