Sunday, April 3, 2016

Great Expectations

I am not used to this. I've spent many seasons of the last several decades telling myself that the Giants would win the World Series. Much--well, most--was bravado. The team sucked and I was hoping for a miracle. There have been some years that I knew the team had talent and could, and even should, compete for a title. This time it's different. I know they have the talent. I know they should compete for the title. That, in fact, it would be a disappointment if they didn't have one of the best records in the game. It is certainly a funny feeling, but I can tell you it is a genuine one. Other than catastrophic injuries (o ye gods, bless us with your favors) there is no reason why this team shouldn't kick some serious baseball butt.

So I enter this season with great expectations. In the Dickens novel the "expectations" refer to an inheritance. A payoff. I was thinking about that. Certainly winning clubs get a hell of an income boost. Check out the Giants payroll! But I was also thinking "all that glitters is not gold." If I grok the plot of GE, our hero finds out that life is tough and doesn't always go as planned. We've all been around the block with our beloved team. We know shit happens. But that's not what I want to think about. I want to accentuate the positive. And this team has a lot of goddamn positives.

Baseball returns to our land today. And the Giants open their season tomorrow.

It's 2016, and I'm stoked.




JC Parsons said...

It is very strange to have such a feeling of impending glory, great expectations as you say. My pessimistic side keeps wanting to focus on all the bad that could happen. And yes some shit will fall. But the structure, depth and CHARACTER of this squad make it hard not KNOW that we will be there at the end. As the wise man said, "Yes,yes,yes!."

The first major hurdle; getting thru spring training healthy, is past. The snakes lost there best OF, one of the best in the league, for the year, probably, so that is no small achievement. If we can just stay healthy, great days are indeed ahead. .

M.C. O'Connor said...

The health stuff, injuries and whatnot, are pretty much random. Thus I have ceased to worry about them. The Giants work pretty hard at staying ahead of the physio-curve (q.v., HERE'S THE LINK) and that's all you can do. The rest is up to the gods, and we mere mortals question them at our peril.

We've watched a lot of talented players over the decades. The Giants have never lacked for scouting! This latest incarnation of the club has the leadership (front office and on-field) to go along with the talent. That's the difference. It's taken a long time, but since Magowan first rescued the club, brought in Bonds, built the new yard, and hired Sabean, things have gone up and up. All the pieces have come together. Stable coaching. Improved analytics. Superior draft work and player development. Turnover at ownership and FO level to the "second generation" (Baer for Neukom and Magowan, Evans for Sabes) without missing a beat. It's a big reason for my faith. Even if shit happens I think the organization has shown the flexibility and savvy to adapt and adjust. Things happen fast in the world of sports these days. I'm glad we have who we have at the helm.

In the immortal words of George Scott: "if we're gonna win, the players gotta play better, the manager's gotta manage better, the coaches gotta coach better, and the owners gotta own better."

Brother Bob said...

A lot depends on just how good Span can be. With rest of the position players I feel like I know more or less what we're going to get. But can Crawford maintain his trajectory toward super-stardom? Can Panik join him at that level? Just how good is Duffy?
Regarding pitching, I'm not one of the blindly optimistic ones r/t the FNG starters. We shall see. I care more about our old pals Cain and Madbum. If both of them have meh years then, well who gives a shit about the rest? What I've been waiting for is for Madbum to have an epic regular season, one to rival his post season accomplishments. A Clayton Kershaw-esque regular season, with a minimum of 20 wins and whatever gaudy stats go with that. For Cain, I'd settle for good health, lots of innings and 10 wins.
One last question: Is it even possible to win it all without Tim or Panda?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yes, it is possible to win it all w/o Tim and Panda.

campanari said...

With Tim behind locked gates and a croc-infested moat getting ready for a forever deferred showcase, and Panda's hind parts tingling with splinters from the Boston bench, Brother Bob's question is pleasingly moot. But it suits the *Great Expectations* theme. In Dickens, our hero Pip thinks his great expectations arise from a wealthy, broken-down, sequestered remnant of an earlier age, Miss Havisham. He thinks she will reward him as he follows her exhortations, "Play, boy, play!" But in fact his rewards are from a despised figure, Magwitch, from Down Under. (I take the baseball equivalent to be a player exiled to the minors, such as Blanks, Lee, or Gorkys Hernandez, and growing there into a wealth of previously unrealized skills.)

With our history of benefactors from Down Under, such as Torres, Blanco, and Vogelsong, the *Great Expectations* scenario looks very plausible for our 2016 World Champion Giants.

M.C. O'Connor said...

The Giants and Great Lit, what a combo!