Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The 2008 San Francisco Baseball Giants

Jose Castillo, Brian Bocock, Steve Holm. These are my 2008 San Francisco Giants. Wait, let me rephrase that. These are my 2008 San Francisco Giants?! I must have been hiding under a PacBell Park (yes, I still call it that) sized rock since November because I haven’t heard of half these guys. I knew the team was turning the page on the Barry Bonds era but this is something else. Although, to be fair, turning the page is something of an understatement. Peter Magowan and Brian Sabean ripped the page out of the book, set it on fire and danced the happy dance as it evaporated into winds of McCovey Cove.

And I’m not a fair-weather fan. Through the good times and the bad, I’ve supported this team since I was old enough to throw a baseball. I even, sort of paid attention during spring training this season even though this team, by all rights and analysis from the ‘experts’, is destined to finish in the cellar of the National League West and there are several other more important and interesting sports storylines in the Bay Area. (For instance, have you seen the Warriors lately? They’re the most exciting team in the NBA these days. And those Sharks that no one outside of San Jose seems to care about? Why they have a decent shot to win the Stanley Cup this season. )

So I shook my head when the Giants signed Aaron Rowand to a bazillion dollar contract (anyone ready for a salary cap yet?) and sighed when Omar Vizquel, Noah Lowry and Ray Durham went down to early injuries and resigned myself to the fact that this just wasn’t going to be our year. But, hey, on the bright side we’re going to play all those young prospects I saw last September, right?

Er, well, maybe. Maybe? What happened to the Ortmeiers, Schierholtz and Frandsens of the world? I guess I should have been paying closer attention in Spring. If I had I would have known that Ortmeier was impressive enough to barely make the roster, which according to him was his goal the whole time. I thought that was interesting given that I and everyone else living within 50 miles of PhoneBook Park were expecting him to be the everyday 1st baseman but I guess he fooled us.

Schierholtz was even better than Ortmeier this Spring and was rewarded by being assigned to AAA.

As for Frandsen, apparently he was hurt in March as well, a fact that I had forgotten about until now. And forgotten is a appropriate word in this case as it describes Frandsen’s career up to this point: Completely forgettable.

So now we have Brian Bocock, Steve Holm and Jose Castillo. Three players I’d never heard of until Saturday when I happened to catch a few innings of the traditional Bay Bridge series. And it’s not surprising that I haven’t. Bocock and Holm haven’t played a single major league game between them and Jose Castillo has played the last three seasons in Pittsburgh, which I’m told still has a major league franchise.

So this is what I have to look forward to today; my new look 2008 San Francisco Giants. Well, had to look forward to, as while I was typing this, my Giants, Bocock and all, lost in perfect, predictable fashion, to those Bums from downstate, 5-0. As I watched that final pitch I pondered what the over/under for shutouts for the season would be and whether or not I could put money on it.

It’s going to be a long season. A long season of being shutout game after game after game. A long season of blowing late inning leads (when we have them). A long season of defensive blunders sure to make every Sportcenter blooper reel. A long season of watching players named Bocock, Castillo and Holm. A long season of hating Jeff Kent. A long season of double plays with one out and runners at the corners: the bane of every Giants fan over the last 3 seasons (this last point and the ensuing exerpt from an e-mail exchange with my buddy Ed prompted this blog).

Ed: I'm only listening on the radio... Do they look as bad as they sound?

P.S. I need to get a bigger heart just so I have somewhere for all of the hate that I feel for Jeff Kent.

Me: So far, they're as bad as they sound.

Without Bonds in the line up, Lewis, Davis, Velez and anyone else at the top need to be stealing bases every time they get on. Guys need to be sacrificing runners over and not hitting for the fences. And NO MORE Double plays! It's at the point where anytime the Giants have runners at 1st and 3rd with one out I just assume the next pitch will be hit into a DP. Fuckin' embarrassing.

Ed: Seriously. Their ability to hit into a double play even when it seems improbable is frightening.

It’s going to be a long season. I can’t wait to see them in the home opener.

I love baseball.

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