At the beginning of this baseball season the Giants elevated
relief pitcher Matt Herges from setup man to closer.
At the beginning of this baseball season the Giants elevated relief pitcher Matt Herges from setup man to closer. The Giants needed a new closer because they didn’t re-sign Tim Worrell, who filled the position last season, and traded reliever Joe Nathan to Minnesota. Nathan now has 33 saves for the Twins and an ERA approaching the maximum speed limit number.

Herges served the Giants well, converting most save opportunities into wins for the team. Then, unfortunately, Herges developed a new “out” pitch. When he threw it, opposing batters hit it out of park. Herges is now the guy Giants manager Felipe Alou brings in when the team is either so far ahead or behind that the obligatory two-run homer that Herges serves up doesn’t matter one way or the other.

Matt Herges, in one fell swoop, has gone from closer to circus act.

Herges is now looking for new friends. And here’s a suggestion: The beleaguered reliever should stop in Hollister and get acquainted with the DA

The DA has more problems than a crisis center. A group of locals wants to recall him from office. Two employees of his office for creating a hostile work environment are suing him and now a volunteer working in the DA’s office has attracted the attention of law enforcement officials because the guy has shown up at traffic stops wearing a badge. Nobody, including the DA, seems to know how the volunteer came by the badge.

Police officers and deputy sheriffs are all too familiar with the routine. They deal every day with segments of society who (a) didn’t commit the crime; and, (b) didn’t see the crime committed.

All of the above should raise the question of the DA’s ability to run his office on a day-to-day basis.

The phrase “out of control” is usually reserved for things like runaway wagons or something along the lines of a stock market crash, as in “The stock market is out of control. Out of control doesn’t, and shouldn’t, come up often in conversations that relate to a county’s top prosecutor.

Now we heard the phrase a lot, for example, when the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal got up on everybody’s radar. The Pentagon spokesmen always have a claimed the top U.S. military people in Iraq weren’t involved in the prisoner abuse scandal and individual soldiers were simply “out of control.” During Watergate, Richard Nixon claimed, for quite a while, that whatever happened didn’t happen because of him. Sort of “some of my supporters were zealous and out of control.”

But out of control and plausible deniability are separate items on the chalkboard. If the DA didn’t know what the volunteer in his office was doing and how the guy got the badge, who did know? Volunteers are usually accountable to someone, no matter the organization. A regular volunteer comes into the office, checks in with the volunteer supervisor and does what tasks the volunteer performs.

It looks like the volunteer program in the DA’s office was so loosely supervised as to allow this particular volunteer time to go out and play officer of the law. All of which has served to get the attention of the sheriff, cheesed off the deputy sheriff’s union and caused a lot of quack.

Sooner, rather than later, the DA is going to run out of thumbs and fingers plugging all the holes in the leaky dike. Like Matt Herges, the DA appears more and more to have lost the sink on his sinker pitch.

There’s an old saying about clowns in the circus that goes something along the lines of, when the center ring is filled with 12 clowns by the time you crawl of the little car, you may be a clown, but you’re just the thirteenth clown.

All these newspaper headlines and stories about the miscue of the week in the DA’s office just add energy to the group that wants to recall the DA And everybody knows how the wizards on the board of supervisors feel about having to hold a costly recall election.

So the DA needs to get rid of the red nose and floppy shoes and otherwise change up on the appearance that he doesn’t have much of a clue about what is going on in his office. Then again, the lawsuit charges that he isn’t there quite a bit of the time. But, who knew?

Bob Sanders is a freelance columnist and communications consultant. Reach him at [email protected].

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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