San Francisco Giants: 5 Reasons They Can't Seem to Get Any Respect
If you're a fan of the San Francisco Giants, you've probably enjoyed the last couple years.
You celebrated a World Series title in 2010, blamed the 2011 record on Buster Posey's absence and you're now enjoying another postseason run.
But you also know how little attention the Giants seem to get outside of the Bay Area. ESPN's preseason predictions featured fifty different media members, yet only fifteen picked the Giants to reach the postseason.
Grantland's season preview predicted the team would miss the postseason, too.
Of course, everyone is wrong sometimes.
Most people had the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks in the postseason, and we saw how that turned out. But while some folks continue to drool over other teams, the Giants keep plugging along.
You'd think a team like the Giants, now making their second NLCS appearance in three years, would garner more national attention.
A fair amount is sure to come just due to the fact that only four teams remain. But if we're being honest, a fair amount should have come throughout the season, too, as the Giants inched closer to the playoffs.
Here are five reasons why the San Francisco Giants just can't seem to get any respect.
1. Decline of Tim Lincecum
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The premier pitchers in baseball get a lot of attention.
Remember Curt Schilling's bloody sock? How about Roy Halladay's postseason dominance? Or Josh Beckett's?
The point is that baseball's best pitchers get plenty of attention, and the Giants had that in Tim Lincecum after he won back-to-back Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009.
He even appeared in a SportsCenter commercial.
But after posting a 16-10 record in 2010, Lincecum saw his 2011 record fall to 13-14. But even that could be attributed to not getting enough run support, as he still managed a 2.74 ERA.
This season, however, his record fell to 10-15 with a career-worst 5.18 ERA.
Lincecum was quickly becoming the best pitcher in baseball, if he wasn't already. Although he may bounce back next season, the media loves great pitching, and Lincecum has failed to provide that for much of 2012.
It certainly doesn't help that flamboyant closer Brian Wilson appeared in just two games, either.
The lack of a star pitcher is certainly one of the main reasons the Giants have been out of the spotlight.
2. Boring Brand of Baseball
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Winning games is never boring, but the San Francisco Giants certainly aren't the most exciting team to watch.
We live in an age where fans want fireworks. Remember when boats and canoes used to sit in McCovey cove, just waiting for a home run from Barry Bonds?
Highlights that people talked about around the water cooler have been replaced with small ball. No one will argue that it doesn't work, but it doesn't turn heads either.
The Giants finished with the fewest home runs in all of baseball.
And yet, they were 12th in runs scored and fourth in hits. Small ball has become the name of the game for the men in orange and black, and that's not a bad thing.
But highlight reels don't show RBI singles in the 2nd inning; they show towering home runs and walk-off doubles.
Reaching the postseason is the ultimate goal of each team, and the Giants succeeded in doing just that. But they did so without any flash, and consequently, they'll continue to find themselves in the shadows, unless they can hoist the World Series trophy in several weeks.
3. Lack of Star Power
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Quick, name as many of the Giants' starting nine as you can.
Now do the same thing with the Yankees.
Unless you're a die-hard, you probably came up with more Yankees players. Heck, you could probably come up with more guys on the Red Sox, and they're watching the postseason from the couch!
The national media loves star power, and right now the Giants aren't exactly oozing it. Their best player is catcher Buster Posey. He's arguably the best at his position, but playing catcher isn't very glamorous.
Especially with outfielders like Mike Trout saving home runs seemingly every other week.
Posey led the entire league in batting average at .336. He also had 24 home runs to go along with 103 RBI. So while it may be fair to call him a legitimate star, there isn't another player on the team that commands attention.
The Giants' roster is filled with solid players who get on base and knock runs in. But the Yankees have A-Rod, Jeter, Ichiro and Robinson Cano. The St. Louis Cardinals have Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina.
All three teams are in the semifinals, but fair or unfair, the big names are always going to receive the most press.
4. Bay Area Disappointments
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San Francisco isn't lacking in population, so the size of the market isn't an issue. But losing is an issue, and the Bay Area hasn't produced many champions lately.
The last couple years have seen the Giants, Athletics and 49ers of the NFL make some noise in their respective sports. But the 49ers were irrelevant for most of the 2000s, and the Athletics have reached the playoffs seven times since 2000, but they reached the ALCS just once.
The Oakland Raiders, after a Super Bowl appearance ten years ago, haven't done much of anything. Do I even need to remind you of the Golden State Warriors' success in the last decade?
Cities like Boston, New York and Los Angeles have produced champions across multiple sports in just the last five years.
Would those cities get attention anyway?
But the results don't lie, and the Bay Area (aside from the Giants' 2010 run), despite all its teams, hasn't celebrated championships.
If the Warriors ever became postseason regulars (don't laugh, it could happen) and the 49ers prove that last year was more than a fluke, attention may shift back to the area.
Can you imagine if the Raiders ever got it together?
Unfair as it may be to the Giants, the success of teams in the area will largely determine the amount of attention they receive.
5. Where's the Drama?
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Not only do the Giants play a boring brand of baseball, but they've developed a boring brand of winning too!
Fans of the team could probably care less how victories occur, but a lack of late-game drama doesn't cause the national media to come running.
Consider the St. Louis Cardinals, otherwise known as the cardiac kids of the postseason; their habit of winning late has made them media darlings.
After being one strike from elimination in Game 6 of last season's World Series, the Cardinals rallied to win and finished things off in Game 7. They won a Wild Card game over the Atlanta Braves earlier this postseason and scored four runs in the top of the ninth to stun the Washington Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS.
How tough was the Giants' 2010 run?
They won their opening series 3-1, reached the World Series after winning their NLCS series 4-2 and took home the trophy in a 4-1 series.
Is it fair to punish the team for winning easily? No, but drama brings in viewers and causes more people to pay attention in the future, hoping for similar action.
The Giants aren't entirely devoid of excitement, as they came back from a 2-0 series deficit in the NLDS this year, to win 3-2.
They likely prefer a comfortable win to a come-from-behind one, but when it comes to lasting memories, 6-2 games just don't cut it.
Although the Giants can probably live with that score if it clinches a World Series.