Zito not in Kansas anymore 

Upon signing with the Giants this winter after seven years with the A’s, Barry Zito envisioned a seamless transition to his new team.

Spring training, he figured, would be the easiest part. The Giants train no more than five miles away from where the A’s train. So he’s living in the same neighborhood he’s always called home this time of year. And with The Other Barry sure to command much of the spring spotlight, Zito figured he’d fly in under the radar and quietly settle in.

Um, no.

First of all, nobody with a contract that pays him the same type of silly money that the U.S. military typically pays for a few armored Humvees does anything under the radar. And when a former Cy Young winner who just signed the richest deal in history for a pitcher shows up with a radically overhauled windup, it’s the focus of the radar.

Had Zito brought a new windup to camp with the A’s, who were familiar with his insatiable curiosity and related willingnessto experiment in the name of improvement, it would have made a small splash and faded quickly.

At Giants camp, it was the kind of splash that big freak from "American Idol" might make off a high dive. So taken aback was he at the three-day circus it caused, Zito, who is about as media-friendly as big-time athletes get, had a moment you’d normally expect of The Other Barry, telling reporters they’d "lost their privileges."

Later that same day, he relented and further discussed the changes he was making. Later that night, while dining at Frasher’s Steakhouse and Lounge, one of his favorite Scottsdale haunts, he conceded that his hope for a quiet spring might have been a little naïve.

"I didn’t really realize how much more media there is with the Giants," he said. "I’m so used to the laid-back vibe in Oakland, where even the reporters are pretty low-key. I just figured that was how it is in the Bay Area in general."

Um, no.

For a number of reasons, including the reach of the 50,000-watt flamethrower that is one team’s flagship radio station compared to the relative spitwad thrower that carries the other, the Giants are Paul and John while the A’s are Ringo’s half brother.

So when he saw his new windup on "SportsCenter" the morning after his first ’pen, Zito said there was something of a "We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto" feel to it.

Now that the windup issue has died down and Bonds is in camp, Zito might get a little more of the peace on which he’d been planning.

But he also now knows that while the Giants and A’s play their regular-season games no more than 15 miles apart, there’s a Manhattan in Kansas and there’s one in New York.

Mychael Urban is the author of "Aces: The Last Season On The Mound With The Oakland A’s Big Three — Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito" and a writer for MLB.com.

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