It's spring and no time to complain about anything that might or might not happen this summer.
The San Francisco Giants are favored by many to win the NL West. So, let's celebrate on day we enjoy our first extra hour of daylight.
OK. Celebration's over. A couple of things caught my on Saturday and, well, I'm concerned about what the summer will bring.
Giants fans who feel like playing right field at AT&T Park requires an advanced degree of some sort might be alarmed to hear that Aubrey Huff is talking about potentially seeing some action in right field.
Huff's a designated hitter who'll have to play first base in order to add punch to the Giants lineup. As it turns out, he's such a defensive liability at first base that the Giants are thinking that he can't possibly be worse in the outfield.
Most Giants fans want nothing to do with aging, slow-footed, defensively challenged Jermaine Dye signing on to play right and had the outfield bat that has produced more home runs in the last five years than any other AL outfielder. What those fans might get, though, is Huff in right field to keep his bat in the lineup.
There's disagreement over whether Schierholtz-Bowker-Velez will be better than a lineup with Dye in right. (He's still unsigned and he can't be asking for much more than meal money now.) Anybody want to consider the choices in right if they're Huff or Dye?
It's a concern that the Giants might be concerned about right field—and it's a concern that Huff telling new Giants' broadcaster Marty Lurie he might play some right leaves the Giants without a first baseman. Well, Mark DeRosa can play first...and Buster Posey is playing first this spring. DeRosa playing first opens left field. Posey might not be ready to hit big league pitching.
Oh, well...it's spring and we should view the glass as half full. I'm just a guy who looks hard and says, "The glass isn't half empty...it's broken!"
Speaking of Huff telling Lurie about this new plan...Giants fans are going to have to get used to the story-telling, lover of baseball's style in the post-game show. Lurie was perfect in the Oakland Athletics' pregame slot where he had time to just talk baseball, present interesting interviews and remind us all that's wonderful about the game.
I caught his post-game show on Saturday and, well, the guess here is that the bulk of Giants fans won't respond well to Lurie repeating things he hears from the Giants staff as though it were gospel.
And, I promise, fans will miss Mycheal Urban's post-game show on weekends. Urban hosted an entertaining and informative show filled with opinion from behind the scenes (as opposed to directly from the Giants brass).
He didn't do anything Lurie will do and, frankly, nothing I know about the standard Giants fan indicates they'll do anything but scream at their radio on many weekend afternoons. In July, nobody wants to talk about the future Giants playing in Class AA or hear about the interview Marty did with Jimmy Davenport.
Today, for instance, on KNBR...smack in the middle of his post-game show, Lurie stopped to paint a word picture of the beauty of an empty spring training ball park. That's cool. It is beautiful.
I'm as big a fan of moving the infield grass and watching the sprinklers go on as the next guy. How's that sunshine and roses presentation going to work after the Dodgers beat the Giants 3-0 on a Saturday and San Francisco strands 10 on base...and loses because Huff muffs a pop fly?
There's no good to come from just griping and moaning over and over about the same things. Urban didn't do that. He knows the game...and he understands the modern fan.
I'm not sure Lurie understands anything about the game he didn't fall in love with collecting baseball cards as a kid and, really, I don't think he's going to appeal to the guy in his 20s or 30s who wants to know why the Giants didn't pinch-run for Bengie Molina in the eighth inning.
One teeny tiny concern left, OK?
Let's not get caught up in Madison Bumgarner's apparent inability to throw a fastball more than 89-90 mph. The general rule of thumb as I've had it explained is that a pitcher needs to hit 92 mph to get drafted.
After that, once they're pros, they have to learn how to pitch and lots of the best young pitchers prosper without an overpowering fastball. So, let's let Bumgarner grow up...and keep in mind that the world's filled with guys who throw 95 mph fastballs that other guys rake all over the yard (same holds for Tim Lincecum. He's not throwing 95 mph. He is developing other pitches...other "out" pitches).
Let's not make an issue of velocity. There's no point. Marty Lurie's sugary post game show should keep us occupied when we're not imagining Huff trying to play right field.
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