October 26, 2002. Game six of the World Series up 5-0 with Eight outs to go. On one hand it feels like yesterday that the Giants were that close to their first World Series since their move to San Francisco.
Then Dusty Baker removed Russ Ortiz in the middle of pitching a shut out and the rest is history.
A quick look at the 2008 roster and there is very little remnants of that 2002 team. You do have Rich Aurilia, but older and out of position. The Giants front office got exactly what they wanted when they cut ties with Barry Bonds, a new image, and one that nobody can relate to.
It's sad when your opening day roster contains players not even listed on MLB.com like Brian Bocock. It's worse when he is still getting playing time and batting nearly 30 points below his weight.
Don't worry Giants fans, it is only temporary until our stud resigning of Omar Vizquel makes it back into the line up at the tender age of 67 (so much for getting younger). It is one thing to stand behind a youth movement, but can you call it that when you have guys like Ray Durham and Dave Roberts eating up playing time?
The Giants big off season acquisition this year, Aaron Rowand, is playing out to what he truly is, a hard working average outfielder. Rowand benefited from playing in a sand box in Philly and cashed that career year in on the Giants.
And talk about cashing in on the Giants, look at Barry Zito.
It is sad to think that outside his starts, the Giants would be 13-10. It will be interesting to see how he reacts physically out of the bullpen. I'm guessing worse isn't much of an option. I just worry for a guy so focused on routine that it might not be the best place for him. Can you have a player in the minors making $126 million?
If there is one thing good that might come of this season, it is an opportunity for Merkin Valdez. At 6-5 the righty had all the makings off a dominant pitcher throughout the minors until he was slowed down by injury. He has thrived in the bullpen with a 1.26 ERA and 13 Ks in just over 14 IP. I'd like to see the Giants take a shot at transitioning him back into the starters role.
On the bright side, there are the rest of the arms in the bullpen. Tim "Lights Out" Lincecum is the real deal. You worry a little about his pitch count and his related lack of efficiency forcing him to hand over games to the bullpen early, but with the strikeout rate he's put up early, you can't complain too much. He's even making the case for the Giants to have a deserving All-Star.
While the young pitching might be a bright spot so far this year, the lack of production from the hitting is sure to make it another long season by the Bay for the Giants.
I wonder if Barry Bonds is sitting somewhere laughing right now at the Giants lineup thinking, "Wow Matt Cain must wish I was back." But hey, what better way to celebrate the 50th season in the Bay then finishing it just like the last 49, without a World Series.