With Christmas but a day away, the time to reflect on an amazing season for the San Francisco Giants draws to a close. Soon we will enter the unknown territory of 2013, and with it, the glory of victory will fade away as the anxiety of expectations casts its shadow.
The Giants will field nearly an identical lineup to the team that won it all in 2012. But fans of any sport will know that seeing a familiar name on the back of a jersey comes with no guarantees. That's why, in the spirit of the season, I'd like to recommend a few New Year's Resolutions for the Giants to consider.
1. Make Sergio Romo the Closer
San Francisco's bullpen deserves all the credit in the world for the role they played in bringing home the team's second championship in three seasons. Kudos belong to Bruce Bochy as well, who managed his relievers in expert fashion after losing Brian Wilson in April.
At the time Wilson went down, Romo was being used primarily as an eight inning set-up guy. By the end of the year, he would notch four postseason saves, including three in the World Series.
Simply put, the Giants appear to have a closer, so why not make it official? Fans don't want to see anyone else coming in for the ninth (unless San Francisco re-signs Brian Wilson, which looks rather unlikely).
Romo has earned the right to hear his music reverberate off the walls at AT&T Park with three outs separating his team from a win. Let's embrace our luck in having him on our team and coronate Romo the closer officially.
2. Commit to (or Trade) Brandon Belt
Brandon Belt has far too much in common with a yo-yo. While 2012 saw the young first baseman play in 145 games, the whispers and mutterings continue. Is Belt our first baseman of the future, or a trade chip? Can he produce consistent offense? Which of his parents was the giraffe?
Of course, the question I'd retort with is, can you give him two actual seasons first?
San Francisco was spoiled with the immediate returns brought by farm studs like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. Even Pablo Sandoval burst onto the scene more quickly than expected. Not every player gets their rhythm right away, and while there will be a time to be concerned about Belt's confidence at the plate, we aren't there yet.
Let's hear Bochy and Sabean publicly confirm their confidence in Belt and give him another full season as the starting first baseman. If we don't like what we've seen by next December, I'll help you open the flood gates myself.
3. Leave Journey Songs to the Desperate Teams
OK, this one is a bit of a local pick, but everyone who's attended a home game since August of 2010 has been treated to the pleading refrain of Steve Perry telling us to "don't stop believin'." I have news for you, people who choose which songs to play at the ballpark: we didn't.
We didn't stop believin' in 2010, nor did we all jump ship after a humbling 2011 left us out of the playoffs. We fully believed in 2012 when we were faced with elimination against the Reds in the NLDS and again against the Cardinals in the NLCS. We believed ourselves silly when Pablo Sandoval took Cy Young stud Justin Verlander deep twice in the opening game of the World Series.
Simply put, I'd like an eighth inning song that shows a little bit more faith in our fanbase. Also I'm just really sick of Journey.