For San Francisco Giants fans who love superstitions and coincidences, 2020 has become the year to watch.
Most people who love baseball have their superstitions. Hunter Pence gives fiery speeches when the Giants are in win-or-go-home situations, my grandmother wore the same shirt for every Giants game she watched on TV, and there are always those fans who need garlic fries or a crab sandwich when at Oracle Park.
Why do we do it? Because past experience has proven to result, at least a majority of the time, in a win for our team.
But there are times when superstitions and coincidences fall in line too many times to where they have to be accepted as potentially mathematically likely or just flat-out true.
That is where Taylor Swift, 2020, and some other coincidental factors come into play for the Giants.
The Giants’ 2010 World Series Championship was a miracle, and 2012 was not far behind that. But after two wins as massive underdogs in two even years, it was fate the Giants would be put in the same position again in 2014. And of course, they went on to win on the heels of an incredible Bumgarner relief appearance to capture their third title.
The San Francisco Giants had us believing in this even-year magic. Or more simply put, we were BeliEven.
There is no hiding the fact that the Giants did not have this magic after 2014 though. After another odd year going as 2015 should have given the team’s pattern, 2016 was lined up to be another success as the squad entered the All-Star Game with the best record in baseball.
However, the team went in a tailspin as the bullpen imploded every time it was needed. The team’s record in the second half of the season: 12 games under .500. Though they pulled out a win over the New York Mets in torturous fashion thanks to a late Connor Gillispie home run, the Giants were trounced by the Chicago Cubs 3-1 in the Divisional Series.
But those problems possibly arose because the Giants’ even-year magic is not strong enough alone. It needs help from singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.
The Taylor Swift Effect
Superstitious fans got some great news on Opening Day when pop artist Taylor Swift dropped a new album.
Don’t know the connection? Take a look at how each of Swift’s albums coincides with a momentous year for the team. Starting in 2006 with drafting Tim Lincecum and the release of her self-titled album, the pattern of album releases and Giants’ success continued through each of the teams’ World Series Championships in the 2010s.
But things went off the rails when Swift broke from the pattern and did not release anything in 2016. She instead waited until 2017, a dreaded odd-numbered year.
But here we are again: an even year, Taylor Swift announces her new “Folklore” album will release on July 24, and the Giants are just starting their season with an Opening Night bout with long-time rivals in the Los Angeles Dodgers.
What more could a Giants fan ask for in a potential playoff season lead by superstition and magic? Well…
New Decade, New Catcher?
Many fans may have been thrown by the Giants’ decision to not have catcher Joey Bart start the season with the team. The highly-touted prospect will have to wait just a little bit longer, as will fans, for his MLB debut. But another catcher was in a similar position in 2010.
That catcher’s name: Buster Posey.
Though Posey made his MLB debut in 2009, his true rookie campaign came in 2010. Though he was receiving plenty of at-bats, he remained in competition with veteran Bengie Molina. It was not until July 1st when the Giants finally made a deal that sent Molina to the Texas Rangers, thereby officially handing the reigns over to Posey.
Just wait a minute Giants fans, Bart will be here soon enough. Perhaps he will bring another dynastic run through another decade for the franchise with him.
Though not the cast of Madison Baumgarner and Matt Cain as the fans may be used to, the Giants are starting 2020 with some more young talent they have been developing in their farm system to add to the list of more homegrown talent that includes Posey, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt.
San Francisco’s Opening Day roster includes some talent they have debuted already, but none the less have been a part of the system for a bit, such as Austin Slater and Connor Menez. But coming up and making their debuts for their first full season are Sam Coonrod and Logan Webb.
These are some names who are looking to lock-up a long-term position with the team, and Farhan Zaidi & Co. have held onto them, hoping they develop into the MLB talent they believe they can be.
The Giants of the 2010s won their titles with rosters that blended young talent and veteran leadership. As we enter a new decade, some of those players have certainly moved from the first category to the second, but they happen to be here with the Giants anyway.
Players like Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Pablo Sandoval are former champions with winning pedigrees. Emotional leader Hunter Pence has also been brought back to join the rebuilding Giants.
The experience and know-how are there. Two questions remain: who from the newest additions will fill the roles of Cody Ross and Pat Burrell, and which young Giants will take this opportunity to cement their futures with the team?
Whether you subscribe to superstitions or not, or take the reoccurrence of too many coincidences to hint at direct cause-and-effect, fans can all agree that the 2020 Giants will be fun to watch. It is a new era, with a new team, and what we can hope is the rise of another (maybe even-year) dynasty.