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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Redemption of Barry Zito

Perhaps one of the best stories to come out of the 2012 World Series is the redemption of Barry Zito. If you recall, in 2007 the San Francisco Giants signed Barry Zito to a 7 year contract for $126 million. It has been called by many one of the worst contracts in the history of American sports (see e.g., "15 Worst Contract in American Sports History") although as I pointed out in an earlier post ("Is Zito's Contract Really One of the Worst Ever?"), it wasn't even the worst contract of 2007.

Regardless, Zito has been the target of a lot of wrath from Giants fans over the past six years, and people with thinner skins would have thrown in the towel and quit (or at least asked for a trade). But he didn't, not even after he was left off the 2010 post season Giants roster. He continued to work hard, and this year he was rewarded for his perseverance. He won 15 games (and only lost 8) during the regular season, and while one would be hard pressed to argue that his contract has been a great deal for the Giants, after his clutch pitching performance NLCS against St. Louis when the Giants were down 3 games to 1 ("Barry Much In It: Giants Win Game 5"), and against the Tigers in the opening game of the World Series with Justin Verlander, perhaps the top pitcher in baseball, on the mound for the Tigers ("Panda Hits 3 HR"), I think many Giants fans are ready to forgive and forget. I know I am. I don't know if those two wins were worth $126 million, but they were awfully close.

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