For the third consecutive season, we are proud to introduce the Deadspin Baseball Season Previews. Yes, baseball is awfully close now; heck, they've even played real games in Japan.
Every weekday until the start of the season, a different writer will preview his/her team. We asked a gaggle of writers, from the Web, from print, from books, to tell us, in as many or as little words as they need, Where Their Team Stands. This is not meant to be factual, or dispassionate, or even logical: We just asked them to riff on why they love their team so much, or what their team means to them, or whatever.
Today: The San Francisco Giants. Your author is Rick Chandler.
Sorry, Barry Bonds don't work here no more. Moose out front shoulda told ya.
Yeah, Barry is gone. And so Mom, suddenly single, has packed everyone into the old station wagon and headed toward a big new life. It's going to be scary at first, trying to raise a family on just her salary. But she had to break it off; Dad was always on the juice; he beat mother and ignored the kids. For his eighth birthday they took little Edwin to see him play, and Barry didn't even show up (15-day DL, shrunken testicles). So Mom decided that she had been enabling him long enough. What has become of Barry now? Sadly, he lives in a van, down by the river.
The good news is that the Giants have started dating again. The bad news is that they're mostly losers; not a potential husband in the bunch. When Will posted his NL West Preview on Thursday, he chose the Giants for last place, affectionately calling the pick "the easiest call in baseball." That's Will: Ever mindful of hurting my feelings. Here's a likely Opening Day starting lineup (provided all are healthy), and you decide for yourselves. (By the way, I have a baseball with all of their signatures; and to give you an idea of how star-studded this lineup is, four of the players paid me to sign it).
• Dave Roberts, LF. A solid outfielder, but also often injured; missed a month due to elbow surgery last season. Overview: By taking one step in any direction will automatically cover more ground that did Bonds. Not nearly as much fun to heckle, though.
• Ray Durham, 2B. Dedicated veteran has just returned from a hamstring injury, and says his age will not be a problem. Overview: Was once John McCain's babysitter.
• Randy Winn, RF. Is hitting .339 this spring, after a .300 season last year. Plus, he adds speed. Overview: He'll have to patrol the entire field like Benny The Jet Rodriguez to make a difference.
• Bengie Molina, C. Is hitting .452 this spring with five homers. Fantasy owners take notice! Overview: Can he throw out anyone at second? Magic Eight Ball says: Ask again.
• Aaron Rowand, CF. Comes over from the Phillies where he hit .307 with 27 homers last season. Is hitting .305 this spring. But can he stay healthy? Overview: Ow! My spine!
• Rich Aurillia, 3B. Played for the Giants for nine seasons before departing for three seasons with the Padres, Mariners and Reds, then rejoining the Giants last year, when he hit .252. Overview: I'd feel better about this if he weren't also second on the depth chart at every other position, including catcher.
• Brian Bocock, SS. Overview: ??? (hits own head with mallet) ...
• Dan Ortmeier, 1B. Muscled six homers last season in the traditional power slot. Overview: Lord help us.
• Barry Zito, P. May have gone 11-13 last season, but he can buy and sell you. Overview: Took the loss against the Fresno Giants in a spring training game.
To make an impact: Pitcher Matt Cain "Mutiny;" second basemen Kevin Frandsen (will undergo surgery on Saturday for ruptured Achilles tendon), Eugerio Velez (hitting .303 with 14 stolen bases); outfielder Fred Lewis (may bat leadoff); P.A. announcer Renel Brooks-Moon; infielder Jose Castillo (acquired on waivers from Marlins Saturday); a host of others. Manager Bruce Bochy used 124 different lineups in 2007, to list them all here would be pointless.
So yeah, everyone mock the Giants. But here's the thing: I didn't attend a single game over the past two seasons, disheartened as I was with that hollow, Faustian home run record chase, and the typical behavior of the hometown faithful who chose to watch the games with their heads stuck in the sand. And now here's this 2008 team, which the Chronicle is already calling The Bad News Giants; by all accounts perfectly awful in every respect. Their predicted last-place finish may indeed be the easiest call in baseball, other than the one I made to buy tickets for Opening Day.