4.02.2008

Your San Francisco Giants

One of the very best things about baseball is the opportunity for a player to dominate, to bend the other team to his will with his arm or bat. Barry Bonds was a player like that, even before he became a cheater and sideshow and witch-hunt and blah, blah, blah.

But his era is over, left tainted by allegations, testimonies and a really big head.

The Giants are looking forward and what they have to look forward to isn't so depressing as its been made out to be. The big story about the Giants has been the expense of signing Barry Zito and the return, or lack thereof, on that investment.

The reality is that Barry Zito is at his best as a third pitcher. He's not the ace, its a bad spot for him and it makes him put too much pressure on himself.

And he's obviously not the ace when you see Matt Cain pitch the next night. He's got to be the ace. He brings it, he brings it really freaking hard, with attitude, fire and hutzpah. Matt Cain is the ace of the San Francisco Giants.

But hold on now, its the third game of the year. And who's scheduled to pitch but Tim Lincecum. Only it isn't Lincecum when it comes to game time, its yet another potential star pitcher, Merkin Valdez. My first time seeing him and its a surprise, the reason is because both teams were told about a MAJOR storm that was going to delay the game by hours. Only it didn't. At least not at first.

Anyway, Valdez looks good, strong, confident. Not an ace. Yet. Four strikeouts with no hits in two innings. Solid like solid can be.

And then Tim Lincecum gets into the game in the fourth after Jack Tascher delivered, again (and is becoming another burdgeoning stud in the offing). And delivered four very solid innings, four hits, one run, four strikeouts. He got into and out of two tight jams. And remained perfectly calm the entire time, no grimace, no smile, no nothing. Same as Cain (although he snarls some from time to time).

Its patently obvious that Tim Lincecum is the ace on the staff. The manner in which he carries himself, there's no doubt. But what about Matt Cain? He's the ace, just look at him. And then you see Lincecum in action and its just too damned hard to make a choice between the two.

Which is a problem I'm happy to have.

Call them both aces, drop Barry (that's Zito) to third in the rotation, let him breathe and play.

Sure, it is appearing that the offense is going to be a little anemic (24 left on base and only two runs plated is more than a wee anemic). But they've got speed and maybe it isn't such a bad thing to go through a rough time. It builds character, weeds out the posers and you'll come through the other side better than you started. Or something like that.

There's light on the horizon, the Giants aren't going to be too hard to watch. Small ball, speed, great starting pitching, good defense and maybe it'll be a season worth watching.

And look at that, Brian Wilson, the new closer, just recorded his first save by striking out Furcal and Bengie Molina just recorded his first throw out at second to end the game with a double play for the first win of the season. That was damned satisfying to watch!

Have I mentioned I'm going to Opening Day next Monday? Hell yeah! I missed it last year but not this year. Still undecided about riding up or driving up but it is a day game and I could have a really nice ride up. Even do Skyline into the city, ooh yeah!

Now I need to find a nice zoom lens for the XTi and I'll have two quality cameras to play around with. Can you tell that I can't wait?

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