Ah, it is Opening Day. It should probably be a national holiday. As I write this, I’m listening to Jon Miller and Dave Flemming on the radio — Jon’s deep timbre and Dave’s educated commentary illuminating the action.
The Giants are not expected to play well this season. I’ve read pieces predicting that they’ll win less than seventy games. People say they’re old, broken down, and destined for the cellar. San Francisco’s new owner, Farhan Zaidi, has gotten more publicity than almost any character associated with the Giants (not named Larry Baer), which indicates that folks aren’t too interested in the players on the field, because their fate is already sealed.
“Last place this year,” Sports Illustrated writer Gabriel Baumgaertner wrote of the Giants in a 2019 MLB Season Preview piece. “I don’t see anybody falling back to the pack with the exception of Arizona, so maybe they can get to fourth place next year. I don’t see them being any better the year after. Farhan Zaidi has a ton of work to do and needs to put his stamp on the team in his first year as team president.”
Heck, folks are already predicting they’ll be bad next year. That’s some serious negative energy.
But that’s not the way the Giants are thinking, and that’s not the feeling you get on Opening Day. On Opening Day, the get the feeling that the Giants can use the negative press as motivation to upset the status quo. That a harmony will be reached between ownership and the on field play, that the team will take precedent and they’ll David vs. Goliath their way into October.
Alright, so maybe there’s also the reality that they’re losing 2-0 to San Diego in the ninth, that their starting corner outfielders today were Connor Joe and Michael Reed, that they haven’t played consistently solid ball since the first half of 2016… since *sigh* the Matt Duffy trade.
But then they have one of the best infields in the league. Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey… that’s a lot of Gold Gloves. That’s like eight Gold Gloves. That’s a dream infield that can certainly help the Giants win games. And who knows? Maybe Steven Duggar turns into another Gold Glover out in center field. And maybe Madison Bumgarner has a Cy Young caliber season. And maybe, Farhan finds another Chris Taylor. And maybe, maybe….!!! Maybe. Maybe that’s what Opening Day is all about. The possibility that everything might work out.
“Maybe other people think we’re too old or they don’t believe in us, but we do,” first baseman Brandon Belt told Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic. “We know there’s no doubt if we’re healthy and all on the field, we’ll be one of the best if not the best infields in the major leagues… Mark it down if you want.”
But now there are two down in the ninth. The Giants are down to their last out. Strike three! The Giants have lost. A shutout. But it was fun to listen. It’s good to have baseball back.