Spring is a time of renewed growth, rebirth and rejuvenation. New blooms, new crops and new life are all a part of nature’s cycle.
Baseball is no different and no exception to the cycle of life, as teams, players and fans all look toward wiping the slate clean from last winter and beginning another season anew. The win-loss records are but replanted crops, ready to sprout; hitters’ batting averages and pitchers’ ERA records are newly sown. Most importantly, teams’ World Series aspirations are reseeded, ready to blossom throughout the summer.
One team that looks to rediscover itself this spring training is the San Francisco Giants. After surprising most of the baseball world with their 2010 World Series title, the Giants staggered their way to an 86-76 record last season, finishing in second place in the National League West and four games back of the wild-card spot. Much to the dismay of their fans, the Giants were unable to defend their championship, not even reaching postseason.
Perhaps their World Series hangover lasted longer than expected. Maybe it was the loss of several key players due to injury, free agency and under-performance that kept them from repeating their magical performance from 2010. Whatever the case, the San Francisco heads into the 2012 season looking to prove that in fact their championship achievement two seasons ago was not a fluke and that they are fully capable of contending for another—that last season was actually the aberration.
With that in mind, this spring training offers the Giants a fresh start to the year. Players are all healthy, recuperated and anxious to turn the page on a new season. So let’s take a look at six reasons why they will contend for the NL West title in 2012.