Opening Day

It’s March 31st and the opening day of the baseball season, at least for the majority of teams in MLB. For 50 years now the Giants & Dodgers have been on the west coast. While in many ways it’s been one sided success, in terms of Championships, over the years there are so many fond memories from Giants & Dodgers games that I won’t even try to list them all.

While the Giants are clearly in a transition mode, and almost certain to lose a LOT more than they win, sometimes as a fan you have to look for those positive signs and/or the little things one can take from a game that will last a long time.  We still on occassion talk about a John Montefusco win, a Mike Ivie Grand Slam, or a Joe Morgan HR to beat the Dodgers.

I’m afraid that the 2008 season will be a very long season for the Giants.  While they have the potential to be a very good pitching staff, the offensive side of the game will be well below average and on many days scrathicng out a few runs will be a challenge.  Couple that with the fact that they are not playing good defense, at least so far in spring training, and you have the makings for a very longseason from a fans standpoint.

Many fans have wondered why the Giants simply didn’t trade some of their veterans for some up & coming & younger players. In this fans opinion it’s simply because other teams did not want or need them.  I often ask fans/friends, if you think a certain player isn’t very good then WHY would you think anyone else would want them AND give you back something of ANY value?

The way I see it, we have to weather this storm and brace ourselves for a long year in terms of wins measuring our success. Some of the success will be the growing of some of the young pitchers. Watching Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum grow one year wiser is a step towards the future. Watching players Like Eugenio Velez fly around the basepaths will be something we haven’t had in SF for years.  Can you name the Giants last legitimate speed guy? I’ve often felt that in our home park the team should be built around Pitching, Defense and Speed more than power.

With Barry Bonds no longer in the lineup, the ability to wait for the big guy to pick us up is also gone. It’s time to manufacture runs via the stolen base, hit & run, moving runners via a bunt or hitting behind the runners. We had become SUCH a station to station team that we cost ourselves a lot of runs over the years afraid of running into outs. That was in large part because the team speed was almost non-existant. 

As fans we can all hope for 2008 as a stepping stone to the future but I think we’re probably still a couple of years away from seeing the future. Many of the so-called experts look to 2010 as a more realistic timeframe for the Giants to turn things around and vie for a division crown again.

In the meantime, look for those positives, cheer a great play, boo a half hearted effort and hope. What we have to have as Giants fans is hope, and of course, PATIENCE.

 

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