The Giants' Way: Not so Easily Mocked

Don BottContributor IMarch 27, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 26:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants jokes with Matt Cain #18 during batting practice before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on August 26, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for Reebok)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

To listen to sports talk radio or read through online chats, it's easy to find fans that spend most of their time loving to hate their team. Oh, the target isn't always the players (although when the name is Zito or Renteria, it just might be).

More often, it's an exec, usually someone in a droning voice with all too familiar comments such as "We're doing our due diligence." These passionate fans wonder whether anyone is doing "due diligence" when offensive players often lose a step upon arrival in San Francisco.

The problem is that the complainers don't have an alternative solution that is reasonable. Unless, of course, that "Hot Tub Time Machine" is available to general managers.

One minute, these complainers argue, we are foolish to pass up that hot free agent of the moment. This year it was Jason Bay and Matt Holliday .

Putting aside the likelihood that neither wanted to come here and therefore would have had to be paid even more to be lured to our unfriendly hitting environment, who's to say whether either might become the next Alfonso Soriano (injury-prone) or Andruw Jones (overweight and underperforming).

The next minute, they cry out for a team of scrappy 20-somethings: Posey, Ishikawa, Frandsen, Burriss — you get the point. All young, all spirited, and no doubt all with potential. But not much more than an expansion team.

So it's time to evaluate the progress of the "Giants' Way," a philosophy introduced by Managing General Partner Bill Neukom shortly after he replaced Peter Magowan at the end of the 2008 season.

Veterans are still being signed, but they are either impressively versatile (DeRosa) or just the right piece for the moment (Huff); in any case, they are not signing for as much or for as long.

Young talent is also being signed, allowing the organization to become strong from the basement up. It wasn't long ago they intentionally avoided high draft picks because of the signing bonus. Now their minor leagues are among the best around, and not just because of the pitching.

Those trusted to carry the team into the future, especially pitchers, are having their contracts extended. In the past few days, we've heard about Wilson and Affeldt .

It is possible we'll hear soon about Cain. Imagine the value of locking up Cain and Lincecum for years — not just for what it will mean on the field but also to put a positive public face on the team.

The last point is most impressive. The chronic complainers want to argue that, because of the pitching staff, the time to act is now.

It's World Series 2010 or bust.

True, major league arms are both fragile and fickle, but if this year's spring told us anything it's that the Giants have reserves ready. Ink Cain for a little longer and then sit back and smile when Henry Sosa, Kevin Pucetas and Madison Bumgarner are all ready.

I know it sounds like I am saying "Wait until next year" — or even worse, "Wait until 2012" — before a single meaningful pitch has been thrown, but I'm not. I'm saying that the "Giants' Way" is one of disciplined patience.

The philosophy of long-term contracts to solid veterans is just as flawed as fielding all rookies. This year's squad seems to be the hybrid of young and old that can go places.

Like the post-season.