13 in the Books

Quite a lack of posts on my part lately, and I apologize for the slow period. Work travel season has arrived, which means much time spent bouncing around airports, hotels and time zones. Wasn’t really able to catch a lot of baseball down the stretch, which was a bummer, but getting mathematically eliminated early in September didn’t leave a lot to be desired for the Giants over the final couple weeks of the season. I was, however, able to catch the final orange and black at-bat of the year, getting off the plane just in time to see the Bay Area’s newest $90-million man take a shoulder-high fastball from Huston Street to deep center. Typical Pence!

So it was Walkoff City, Giants variety on the final day of the regular season, followed by on-field speeches of gratitude from Bochy, Posey and Zito. I don’t know many teams who have the kind of relationship the Giants do with their fanbase. Pretty special stuff, even in a season of epic failure. Zito got one of the biggest ovations I’ve ever heard, which had to feel good for him. I always think it’s funny when players go from whipping boy to hero in the fans’ eyes, and that’s certainly the case with Zito. I guarantee you the majority of those people were ready to wash their hands of him many times over the past 7 years (if they were even Giants fans in 2007), and now he’s an icon.

To be clear, I have no beef with Zito. The Giants spent the money, and they didn’t get the individual production they paid for. They did, however, bring home two titles, and Zito was a part of that. So… yes, I’ll forever remember his Game 5 start in St. Louis, and his Game 1 performance against Verlander in the World Series. Gutsy. But I’ll also not deny that I would have had supported the Giants cutting ties with him on multiple occasions during his tenure in SF… I guess it’s a damn good thing they didn’t, huh?

Back to the story at hand. As October rolls in, the Giants will be watching from home, and hopefully resting and preparing for a redemption campaign next year. I love playoff baseball, but it will be a little bittersweet this year. Who’s our favorite team this postseason? Anyone playing the Dodgers…

As for the Giants, they combined a 43-51 first half with a 33-35 second half, bad enough for a 76-86 finish. They tied for third place in the NL West, and will have the 14th pick in next year’s draft. A 16-11 final month of the season was all that kept them from a top-10 pick, but I do think they regained a bit of that lost morale, which may be just as important to their chances next year.

There were so many things that factored into this season’s collapse; injuries, pitching, hitting, fielding… what am I missing? Personally, I don’t feel like digging into the negatives anymore. I’d rather look to the future, as there are certainly some changes necessary to get this team ready for contention again… which we, the fans will expect of them next year. Two rings in three years sets the bar pretty high, but that’s the way it should be.

Sometime in the very near future, I’ll try to dive head-on into the offseason. I’ve got big plans for my first winter in the blog universe, including a look at the stability of this team going forward, position-by-position. There are many minor league topics to keep in mind as well, and I’ve already started working on a major offseason prospects list. Of course, the Arizona Fall League is coming up as well, and we’ll keep tabs on Crick, Mejia, Susac, etc. Should be pretty fun stuff. If only there were 36 hours in a day!

As always, thanks for reading. Not the best first season to begin a blog, I know. But nobody said it was going to be roses every season, right?

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