Friday, November 5, 2010

The Best Team in Baseball

The Giants have always been the The Greatest Second-Place Team in Baseball. The franchise has been the losing team in the World Series 12 times! "Always the bridesmaid and never the bride." San Francisco fans are well aware of the 1965-1969 teams that finished second every season despite averaging 91+ wins and being stocked with HOFers. Those guys had already lost in the Series in 1962, and lost in the playoffs at the end of the run in 1971 to the eventual World Champs. The Will Clark Giants lost to the pennant winners in 1987, and lost the Series in 1989. The 1993 and 1994 teams finished 2nd. The Barry Bonds Giants lost in the playoffs in 1997 to the eventual World Champs, and finished 2nd in 1998 (and lost a Wild-Card qualifier) and in 1999. In 2000 they lost in the playoffs to the eventual pennant winners, lost the division (finishing 2nd) in 2001 to the eventual World Champs, lost the Series in 2002 (after finishing 2nd in the division), and lost in the playoffs in 2003 to the eventual World Champs. They finished 2nd in 2004. It was an organizational curse to be "second-best." This organization--one of the oldest--has the most wins of any baseball team in history and the most wins of any professional sports franchise in North America. The San Francisco club, however, had an empty spot on the organizational mantle. The Big Prize kept eluding them.

No more. The Commissioner's Trophy resides in San Francisco after an extraordinary 2010 season. The Giants won the NL West, the NLCS, the NL pennant, and the World Series. In this sport, that means you get to puff out your chest and proclaim that you are the best.

The San Francisco Giants are the best team in baseball.

Savor every minute of it, my friends.


p.s. I have my new 2010 World Series Champions t-shirt and I'm wearing it to work today. Get yours soon!


Brother Bob said...

Those years in the 60s were my "formative" years as a fan, and it was tough to finish second year after year, especially when it was often the Dodgers we were finishing behind. There was always the consolation of "We have Mays and McCovey." It was good baseball, just never good enough.
So this year, somehow, it was good enough. Our pitchers were good enough (except the most highly-paid one), we lucked into some journeyman position players who turned out to have abundant VCS, but I think the secret ingredient was that Posey and Bumgarner turned out to be as good as advertised.

Brother Bob said...

..behind which we were finishing...
And I never know, is it VSC or VCS?

Ron said...

So, where does the Best Team in Baseball go from here? There are some obvious & some not-so-obvious answers to that question.

The biggest factor is this: with the exception of the Zito deal, Sabean & company have built a World Series winning team by staying out of the hyper-active bidding wars involving multi-year contracts for big name players. Their strategy has now been fully validated - there can be no arguing that now. Thanks to 4 oustanding young Starting Pitchers & a 'lights out' Closer in the early part of their careers, we have won the Championship without spending $$$ on people like Jason Bay, C. C. Sabathia, etc.. Therefore, why expect this team to start doing that now? This means no Carl Crawford (a decent fit, but too much $), Jayson Werth (a poor fit, a good player, but too much $), or Cliff Lee (a pipe dream).

We will continue to tinker with bargain acquisitions. Some of the people we would like to keep (Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe) will command raises this year. Huff probably has a realistic sense of what he is worth, really wants to stay, & probably will. Uribe tried to get a multi-year high dollar deal last year, will try again, & may get it. If he doesn't, we should be happy to bring him back at a reasonable price. He'll want 3 years @ $6M. We should be at 2 years @ $4M.

Edgar Renteria, if healthier & willing to play, is an excellent back-up player. We should give him as good a 1-year deal as anyone else. If he retires, we should find an organizational role for him, most likely working with Latin American ballplayers.

By the time that it was all said-and-done, Cody Ross's post-season numbers weren't that gaudy. But, it would be disingenuous to deny that his timely contributions pulled us along. He is a journeyman on the crest of a wave, but he was actually a pretty good player in the early part of the season, too. He's another Uribe-like case, when it comes to what he wants versus what he should get. He'll probably be back at our door, & we should give him a reasonable deal.

Burrell? Two World Series with two different teams with the same result. Decent regular season contributor, but getting older & slower, plus no versatility (our hallmark). He could be a nice $1-2M per year pinch-hitter, or we should say "Thanks for your big games", but decline. Nice to have a hometown guy, but not at a steep price.

Lopez - yes, definitely.
Ramirez - worth an offer.

Others worth looking at:

- Jeff Francis just got turned loose. He could be another Wellemeyer, or he could rebound to his former very effective self. We won the World Series with Wellemeyer in our rotation for part of the year. I would go for a Francis experiment. He's only 29. You may ask 'why do we need Francis, if we have Zito'. Or, you may see the wisdom in having them both as insurance for possible injuries, & trying to have both of them ready to either spot start or pitch in relief.

- J. J. Putz has turned it around. Relievers are flaky, so I don't count on ours being awesome again. Another RH reliever would be good to have. Putz has ascended to the heights, cashed in, plummeted, & partially rebounded. He is a tough customer, when effective.

- Any Adrian Beltre buzz? I didn't think so. For some reason, he seems to be very under-valued. If Operation Panda II gets off to a slow start, he should be considered (.365 OBP, plus all of the other numbers).

- How about replacing one old Colombian SS with another? Orlando Cabrera, anyone? Probably not, but it'd probably be a first.

Anonymous said...

That is a great idea Ron. I would love Renteria to stay with the organization after his playing career. He is one of the few Colombians in baseball, so, somehow having him in the organization may attract the few Colombians interested in baseball to sign with us!

I'd be sad if we couldn't get Uribe back. He's fine at 2B, SS, and 3B; there aren't too many like that especially with his power.

I'd be depressed if we didn't get Huff back. The man can play 4 different positions, really helped the team (for the cheap$), and c'mon it's Huff Daddy (soon to be H Diddy).

We don't need no stinkin' expensive dates to come over. We have a great rotation, best in the majors in my opinion, and a good defense with some pop. We got this.

I can't wait to see Brandon Belt next year and hopefully the player that made me really interested in this team in the first place, Pablo, will work everything out that's been bothering him. I feel really good. It would be nice if we had a little triangle of young position players: Pablo-Buster-Belt.

I remember making comparisons of this team to the 90s Braves. I'm beginning to realize that I may be wrong. We're better than that. They were always good enough to make it to the postseason but they only sealed the deal once. We go there with this core group once and won it all! This team feels more like the Yankees teams beginning in the mid 90s (I hope I didn't jinx anything).

Damn, I wish I was around for the years prior to this one. I would have loved to see each little piece of the puzzle finds its place. At least I was here from beginning to end in the first year's culmination of this. I always had faith. I always knew that when we played bad, we were better than that.

What a glorious first full season for me. I don't even mean being a Giants fan, I mean ever. I always used to start in the Spring sometime and miss a lot of stuff. Now, I am so interested in every aspect of the game, the organization, etc. that I can't be that passive about it. My life needed this.

Go RMC! Go Giants!