Have you heard the news? Barry Bonds finally got busted for steroids! Hallelujah! As an A’s and Dodgers’ fan, a Giants hater, and a guy who has tons of respect for the game, I was elated when the news first broke. But then the inevitable question was posed, and I was shocked hearing various opinions on TV. I wanted to scream, “Are you KIDDING me? Should Barry Bonds be in the Hall of Fame? YES!”
It’s only a matter of time before Barry Bonds takes three more pitches yard and officially becomes the home run champion, breaking Hank’s record. Regardless of anyone’s opinion, there is nothing anybody can do about it.
A few nights ago, my friend and I had an in depth discussion about the passing of the torch that I would like to share with you. He is a little slow, so try to bear with me.
Could this be the first year since 1954 that the Giants take the crown?
From 1997 to 2003, the San Francisco Giants made General Manager Brian Sabean look good. Damn good. His GM skills took the Giants to seven straight winning seasons and playoff appearances, even a World Series appearance which was taken to seven games. But in the last three years, the team that was once best in the west, has taken huge steps backwards and has missed not only the playoffs, but also a winning record. Luckily for the fans of the Bay Area, the Giants play in the best ballpark in the world. So with all that money from the countless sold out games, they had the resources to make a push at the pennant this year. Here is my break down of the 2007 Giants.
Remember when Barry Bonds could hit — and that was all that mattered?
Even he forgot how he got there.
The year was 2002; the National League West showed that it was a force to be reckoned with. The first place team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, had won the World Series in the previous year and returned with much of that strength to finish with a 98-64 record, which was enough to win the division over the San Francisco Giants, who finished only two-and-a-half games behind, managing to grab the NL Wild Card spot. The Giants went on to defeat the Braves in the Divisional Series, then triumphed over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series, both of which were huge surprises to all of baseball. San Francisco allowed the World Series to slip through its fingers, yet impressed many in doing so. Even the third place team did well; the Los Angeles Dodgers finished with a 92-70 record, the tenth best in the Major Leagues. Things looked bright for the Rockies, who appeared to be setting up with a bright fusion of youth and veteran talent, and the Padres, who had begun to make competitive moves and had a new ballpark on the way. The National League West was going to be a dominant division in the coming years. Fast forward to 2005, when baseball fans everywhere sneered at the pathetic state of the National League West division, which was won by a team that barely had a winning record; all teams can attribute their failures to a fair share of injuries and an impressive number of inexperienced youth filling in out of desperation and sadly, need. Coming into the off season, these teams knew what they needed to do in order to bring themselves and the National League West back to dominance, where they were in 2002. One of these teams was the San Francisco Giants, a team that was forced to push young prospects into everyday Major League roles. By doing this, they were able to step back and evaluate the talent in place, allowing them to go into the off-season knowing exactly what they would need to acquire in the upcoming winter: an impact left-handed hitter, a left-handed first baseman, a left-handed middle reliever, a starting pitcher, a backup utility infielder, and a backup catcher. For them to once again become a team of prowess they would have to find the right pieces to fill the holes; they did this, for the most part, and had a productive off-season, making some creative, under-the-radar moves. Brian Sabean (Giants’ General Manager) did a good job to get rid of both weaknesses and high-paid players in order to obtain what the Giants needed; he was able to make a couple of unbelievably favorable trades and decent signings. They definitely could have done better, but at the same time could have done a lot worse.
Though every GM tries to improve the state of their team each off-season, whether by stockpiling young talent, or paying for free-agent studs, few can do enough in one off-season to bring a team from being a non-contender to a team with realistic Championship aspirations. In 2005, the San Francisco Giants finished third in their division winning only 75 games. GM Brian Sabean, has done as good a job as any GM this winter in picking the right pieces to get his team back over the top the NL West. Many exterior activities are working for him: the poor over-all talent in the division, and the return from injury of the greatest player in the last 25 years–Barry Bonds. That withstanding, Sabean has done a terrific job in improving his team for 2006.
|For more stories by Kent Summer, check out 3rdand10.com
The steroid king is back and already making his bat heard throughout baseball. When he strode to the plate Monday night for his first at bat since September 30th, 2004, he tipped his helmet to the crowd. Amidst the one minute ovation the crowd at SBC gave their slugger a warm San Francisco “welcome back.”
By Paul Burgarino
The 1993 San Francisco Giants won a franchise-record 103 games, only to fall a game short of making the postseason. The 2005 edition of the ballclub by the Bay will definitely fall short of that plateau, but they just may have enough to possibly earn a trip to the postseason.
Tonight, the greatest baseball player since Willie Mays strutted to left field amidst a chorus of cheers. In his first trip to the dish in almost a year, he worked the count full before blasting a ball about 3 feet from the left-center field stands, and home run #704. As the once-sluggish Giants surged with energy from their rejuvenated crowd, number 25 and his teammates carried the Giants to a 4-3 win.
by Dominic Lombardi
Jason Ellison’s crucial error in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the LA Dodgers a win in their home opener might be bigger than it seems.