SAN FRANCISCO -- Stricken by the cancer that killed him Sunday, Peter Magowan easily grew weary.But he never got tired of talking about baseball.• Former Giants owner Magowan dies at 76Magowan, who led the drive during 1992 to prevent the Giants from moving to Tampa Bay, was a ravenous fan
SAN FRANCISCO -- Stricken by the cancer that killed him Sunday, Peter Magowan easily grew weary.
But he never got tired of talking about baseball.
• Former Giants owner Magowan dies at 76
Magowan, who led the drive during 1992 to prevent the Giants from moving to Tampa Bay, was a ravenous fan and an unshakable optimist. His enthusiasm for the game and the Giants never flagged, as he demonstrated in this interview with MLB.com less than two weeks ago.
On Farhan Zaidi, the Giants' new president of baseball operations:
"Everybody seems to like him, and his knowledge of baseball operations is fantastic, so I think [club president] Larry [Baer] made a very good choice in hiring him. I don't expect things to move quickly. I don't think anybody does. But I think when the season starts, we'll be in better shape for the future."
On whether the Giants' fortunes will get worse before they get better:
"I don't know the answer to that. I think it's up to Farhan and what he can do with what he has to work with. But I will say this: There are many teams that have gone through similar experiences. The Cubs, the Red Sox, the Yankees, Houston [and] Milwaukee, to name just a few. Philadelphia. What they've shown is you can come back if you've got some patience."
On the club's rebuilding efforts:
"We can't waste our Draft. We're drafting low enough that we should be able to get really outstanding players and I think our farm system is still weak and we have to build it, either by trade or through drafting."
On signing Barry Zito to a seven-year, $126 million contract, the richest deal ever given to a pitcher at the time:
"Everybody always yells at me for the Zito signing. But I will say this: We never would have been in the World Series without Barry Zito [whose 63-80 Giants record doesn't include an essential victory in Game 5 of the 2012 National League Championship Series at St. Louis]. And I think if you had said when we sat down to sign him, 'Look, Peter, he may not have the best career with the Giants, but he will put you in the World Series and help you win a World Series,' we all would have said at the time, 'That's a good deal.'"
• Magowan left memorable impression on Giants
On analytics versus scouting:
"I think baseball has become very analytical. We know where these players hit the ball, we know where these players pitch the ball, we know who swings at first strikes, we know the habits of umpires. I think we get a lot of good information. But I also think there's a role for scouts to see the player and his family and judge his commitment to the Giants, judge his behavior -- is he a leader, is he going to be a good Giant, is he going to do what he's told, is he going to try to learn and try to get better? Those things you can't learn from analytics. So I think there's a place for the scouts continuing to do what we've always done."
On catcher Joey Bart, San Francisco's 2018 first-round Draft pick:
"I think he's the best prospect we've signed in five years. He reminds me more than anybody else of [Buster] Posey. Line-drive hitter, hits it all over the field, excellent catcher, leadership ability. I think he's going to get into the starting lineup maybe a little sooner than some others do."
On the name change from AT&T Park to Oracle Park:
"I think this is a very, very good deal for the Giants. It's for a lot more money, which we need for various purposes."
On the ballpark's 20th "birthday":
"Under difficult circumstances of being on the sea, with all the salt and corrosion that we face in trying to keep the place clean with the pigeons and everything, there's a lot of work to make it look like it did when we opened in 2000. I think we've done a pretty good job of doing that. You don't see any graffiti on our ballpark. If we didn't wipe it away, our fans would. They consider it their home and they don't want to see it messed up."
On being able to field a successful team when the park opened:
"I read a lot of articles by know-it-alls who said it wasn't that big of a deal. But this was a football town. And we were in the process of changing that around -- not to take away from the 49ers, but to put us on the map, too. And I think getting off to a good start put our fans in a great mood and made them want to come out to the ballpark."
Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat.