This baseball season brought another memorable year. Chris Heston’s no-no, Matt Duffy’s emergence, and several key veterans throwing their last pitch. But as we spend this time with our families and friends, let’s remember that in just over a week, it will be an even year. And we all know what that means. It’s time to turn the page.
As San Francisco Giants fans, there is nothing more important than hope. Hope is what kept people coming out to Candlestick in the windswept July evenings. And hope is what made us all believe that the line drive to Bobby Richardson was our only chance.
The hardest thing to do is stay consistent. Other teams trying to mimic what you do as a franchise, and in modern professional sports, the business side always plays a role. But the Giants have managed to stay relevant through it all, and that is why we can hope.
Some clubs seem to rebuild every three years. Either by losing players to free agency, or trading away young talent to win now, the teams put themselves at risk for a future filled with bad tidings. The Giants organization seems to have it mostly under control.
It is often difficult to write about a team that is performing well. Dysfunction within a franchise is like gold for a writer. Just look at the sites for the San Francisco 49ers, and you will see twenty articles a day. It’s because there is news there constantly.
But the tradeoff is well worth it, obviously. To have a team that you can faithfully say “they know what they are doing” is such a relief. (Now having two with the Golden State Warriors is even more amazing, especially at the same time, in the same market.)
To come this far and see a team struggle just to contend for many years, and to have them viewed as favorites to play in the upcoming World Series, after winning three in the last six years is something I would never have predicted as a youngster.
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But here we are, able to have hope that the team will see the Dodgers in the rear view mirror next September. Having faith in the Giants’ front office, and know that they have made decisions in the past that have turned the team into champions.
Both Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans have put together a team with both short-term and long-term goals. And by all accounts, the transition from Sabean to Evans has been seamless. And developing a culture within an organization that extends all the way down through the minors takes time and effort. And the team has made it an obligation to do so.
And signing Brandon Crawford to an extension was a move based directly on the thought that you pay guys who have went to battle for you. That is the first priority.
Be thankful that Bruce Bochy is in the orange and black, and that he has surrounded himself with a coaching staff who will assuredly be mentioned in his Hall of Fame speech. (And I believe coaches should be considered for the Hall, not just managers. Dave Righetti is a Hall of Fame coach.)
So even though it takes away some of the fun of wishing and hoping for a particular player, having a franchise that knows what they are doing, it is much better for the blood pressure.
Think about if you were a fan of the Miami Marlins or Oakland A’s. You would never get used to any of the players or coaches with the constant changes in personnel.
Stability can sometimes lead to stagnation, but the Giants have stayed away from becoming complacent because their CEO Larry Baer is also a die-hard fan. He wants the team to win just as much as you do.
So when you go to bed tonight, with those visions of sugar plums, remember to be thankful for the early gifts that were put under the tree (Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija). And stay hopeful that, if the team sees a chance to make any more moves to enhance the already front-running Giants, they will do so.
Sometime after Santa has had his milk and cookies.