It was indeed a year for the Giants to forget. Like most fans of the team, I had high hopes for another playoff run. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and they spiraled into mediocrity and never recovered. So, I'm excited to turn the page and get a fresh new number. "2014" looks pretty good. It's strange that the Giants have mostly the same team--they added starting pitcher Tim Hudson and left fielder Mike Morse--but otherwise the same crew that did poorly last season is coming back for another go-round. I suppose we expect ball clubs to make big changes every year in the volatile world of pro sports, especially when needing to improve, but San Francisco is taking the conservative approach. They already have a large payroll, and a star-studded cast, but the talent base is still mostly under thirty, and with a couple of rings already there's confidence that the core has another real shot left. The minor leagues aren't quite ready to produce the replacements, but appear to be on target for 2015 and 2016, so the Brian Trust is putting all its chips in the pot on their current 40-man roster. The battle for the final 25 will take place in Spring Training with maybe three spots up for grabs, and with possibly a yet-to-be-acquired lefty reliever also in the mix.
Should make for a dull time, and I'm not complaining. I want fit and healthy ballplayers who can deliver 500+ plate appearances or 30+ starts. The talent is there, it just has to be on the field and in shape to play. The only thing I'm worried about, besides one of our guys getting seriously hurt, is Masahiro Tanaka. If he signs with LA, that's bad. Otherwise I don't care. So, let's hope the Cubs or the Yankees or the LAnaheimers grab him instead.
The 49ers played their last game at Candlestick, and they are tearing the old place down some time in the near future. A lot of Giants folks have been writing about the old days in the concrete beast, and I thought I might do so as well, but I feel like I'm tapped out on that topic. We put our time in at that place, and had a lot of fun and good memories, but the best things that ever happened to the Giants have happened since the new park was built, so I'm fine with leaving the old stomping ground behind. I thought the 49ers should have fixed up the 'Stick rather than move to Santa Clara, but I really don't care. I put too much time and energy into RMC and the boys in orange-and-black to have any left for other sports or teams. El Lefty Malo has a particularly good column if you are in the mood for reminiscing. He's younger than me (he mentions being in the second grade in 1977 and that's when I graduated from high school), but he caught the vibe. Check it out.
Happy New Year to Everyone!