The 2021 baseball season is upon us. This time, it arrived in time and with a full, 162 games schedule. As nice as this sounds, I assume there’s some bitterness after the Expos’ moved from a country that clearly deserves two ball clubs but only has the Blue Jays. It’s understandable for the fine people of Edmonton to not want to cheer for the bluebirds, my friend and site owner Len Nunes already pitched the idea of adopting the Colorado Rockies. Now, it’s my turn to make a pitch for another team: The San Francisco Giants.
Let’s be brutally honest for a second, we are not good. 2020 wasn’t very kind to San Francisco as the Giants finished two games below .500 posting a 29-31 record. They came close to the playoffs but, that was more of a gift from the expanded format rather than an accomplishment. 2019 wasn’t better either. A mediocre 77-85 record saw the Bay Area team finish third in the NL West. The bottom of the barrel was only avoided by seven games.
Pitching shows just how tough things have been. Giants had the third-worst team ERA in the NL with 4.77 which, translated to a minuscule 4.6 WAR stat back in 2019. We climbed a spot last year but ERA climbed with us too: 4.99.
The past couple of seasons have had some bright spots to them despite looking more like a golf cart stuck in the rough than a baseball team. Catcher Chadwick Tromp was a pleasant surprise and Joey Bart proved he’s worth some more time and work after being called up to cover for Buster Posey. Mauricio Dubon gets better by the day and Darin Ruf has turned into a reliable asset in California after his return to the big show. Let’s not forget, Kevin Pillar paid a visit to the Bay in 2019 and instantly ignited his game like a match. We aren’t good right now but, as you will see, we will be, eventually. More on that in a second. Let’s talk about the past, after all, everyone needs to be reminded how good this team can be.
The Team of the Decade
The Giants were, undoubtedly, the team of the decade. Three World Championships in six years are a clear testament to that. More importantly, they talk about a team that knew how to perform when it mattered the most. They weren’t dominant like Chase Utley and the 2008 Phillies, neither were they flashy like Jeter’s and Rivera’s 2009 Yankees. What they were was a collection of talent grittier than two tons of sandpaper that ran like a bus during the regular season and turned into a sports car come Postseason. Take a look at Edgar Renteria for instance.
- Renteria spent his final Postseason in the Bay and had a pretty average regular season before it. Hit for .276 with just 3 homers and 22 RBI in what was barely half a year of playing time. Come World Series time, he turned into a batting machine hitting for .412 and .444 OBP. A key three-run home run late in game five earned him the MVP Award.
- Madison Bumgarner is perhaps the greatest example of the Giants’ ways. The offseason rodeo rider has never been quite up to his peers during the regular season. His ERA has never gone done below 2.70 in his career and his win-loss records ain’t anything spectacular as the bullpen got the win for him more times than one. Came October though and he was arguably the greatest Playoff pitcher of all times. Postseason ERA: 2.11. World Series ERA, straight out of a video game: 0.25.
Of course, all good things must come to an end. The Giant dynasty lost the battle against age and saw his last championship opportunity slip away at the hands of the Chicago Cubs back in 2016. We had fun, we had our seasons in the sun. As previously mentioned, times have been rough lately, nonetheless, the tide will turn. Fear no more people of Edmonton, we are not the Detroit Tigers.
Forward is the Only Way to Go
The next generation of Giants are rolling out, some of them are already on the field. We’ve already discussed Dubon out in there in short who, grew up idolizing Brandon Crawford and will most likely get the torch from him in 2022. Buster Posey has, of course, Bart behind him. Keep an eye on the mound for guys like Caleb Baragar who turned into a nice weapon off the bullpen. He pitched 22 and 1/3 innings in 24 games and allowed only 13 runs. Striking out a total of 13 batters made up for a whopping 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
Heliot Ramos should not be overlooked either. He’s making quite a bit of noise in Arizona thanks to his .417 batting average and 6 RBI. We might see him out there in center field during the regular season, especially if Dubon, who splits time between the in and outfield takes charge over at shortstop sooner than expected. That brings me to my last point as Dubon’s spot is covered by Crawford who epitomizes the feeling of this upcoming season.
Bobbleheads and Goodbyes
It would be a miracle for the Giants to make the playoffs and yet, mood is still very bright in San Francisco. Despite the ongoing rebuild and the sheer dominance Dodgers have over the Northern team, we will still remember our heroes as the 10th year anniversary of the first World Series since 1954 is overdue a reunion. Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Bengie Molina, Bruce Bochy and more, will take on the field once again to remember the Giants, those Giants.
With that will come bobbleheads that have been stored somewhere inside Oracle Park for a year and a tearful but, happy goodbye to those who still stand among the younger blood: Posey, Brandon Belt, and Crawford. The final curtain will roll down the bricks in right field and then, only then, will San Francisco roll its kayak towards another dynasty.
For all this: for the excitement, the history, the future, and the goodbyes. People of Edmonton, consider the Giants.