The Problem with San Francisco Giants Fans Thinking Young

Kevin O'BrienCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2009

SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 04:  Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals bats against the Texas Rangers during the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 4, 2009 in Surprise, Arizona. The Rangers defeated the Royals 5-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Don't get me wrong, I like the direction the Giants are taking.

I like the fact that GM Brian Sabean has finally wised up and has stayed away from his usual dumb tactics.

Overspending on players and filling position needs with aging veterans past their prime seems to be a thing of the past.

Now, Sabean is giving shots to the young guys, the up-and-comers who were bred in the Giants farm system. It's a nice thing to see. It's nice to see players succeed for the Giants that come from our own organization, and not from some other team in the league.

Furthermore, the chemistry on this team is about as good as any Giants team I've ever seen. The only one that can match it in my mind as of late was the 1997 Giants team that took the National League West.

And yet, I can't help but feel nervous about our current direction.

Look at any message board, Giants blog, or even Bleacher Report itself, and you'll see a familiar ring.

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"Don't trade away any of our young guys at the trade deadline."

"Wait for 2012!"

"So-and-so is going to be a stud in a couple of years."

To me, this is a very harrowing trend because SF fans are sounding more like Kansas City Royals fans than Giants fans.

I'm not saying that Sabean should scrap the minor league system and trade away every good prospect now for help. That would be asinine.

However, what I am advocating is that instead of constantly looking to the future and thinking how "good" the Giants are going to be in a couple of years, San Francisco should be looking at the present.

Because in all honesty, nobody really knows how good the Giants' minor league studs are.

Nobody really knows how truly good Madison Bumgarner, Angel Villalona, or Buster Posey will be when they put on a Giants uniform and take the mound or dig in at the plate at the Major League level.

Sure they may be tearing it up in the minors, but that's the thing. It's the minors.

You know who also tore it up in the minors? Todd Linden, Jason Ellison, and Dante Powell.

The guys didn't exactly turn into All-Stars now, did they?

And that is what is frustrating about hearing all this "look to the future" talk. We have a good team, and we have a good team that can win now. We're just one piece away from being truly competitive, legitimate contenders, and not just in the National League West.

The pitching is there, and the defense gets the job done (last night the exception of course). We have guys who can make contact at the plate...for the most part.

All we need now is that guy that can drive in runs. That big bat in the cleanup spot. The guy that can drive in three runs when we have the bases loaded with no outs.

And yet, so many fans don't want to make that upgrade. They don't want Sabean to roll the dice on a potential move that could not only put us over the top in the National League West, but the National and American League as well.

That's right. I believe, with another piece, we could win a title. There's no reason to think we can't believe we're capable if a 2006 Cardinals team that barely made the playoffs won it all.

However, a lot of Giants fans don't want to make a run because it could "hurt" us in a few years. They don't want to break away from current players in the farm system because of their "potential."

I'm not saying that our young guys stink. Yet it's all potential. None of these guys that everyone harps about has done anything at the MLB level yet, and until I see them produce at the MLB level, I won't be fully convinced that some of these players are as "untouchable" as everyone says.

The worst part of this kind of attitude is that we hinder our chance to win a World Series each and every year. It's the same kind of attitude that plagues the Royals.

They don't want to upgrade considerably each year because they're like, "we're planning for the future. We don't want to lose any of our farm system guys. In a couple of years we'll be competitive. Just not now."

And unfortunately, the results haven't been good. Alex Gordon was the top "phenom" in 2007's Lindy's Baseball Preview, ahead of Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Pelfrey, Yovani Gallardo, and Matt Garza. He currently has a .250 batting average and 32 home runs through two-and-a-half seasons.

So much for the George Brett comparisons.

Luke Hochevar, the first pick in the 2006 draft, has equally been disappointing. Last year he went 6-12 with a 5.56 era, and this year has been more of the same as he is 3-3 with a 4.96 ERA.

These were guys for the Royals who were supposed to be phenoms. They tore it up in the minors, but, as their stats show, they haven't done jack at the big-league level.

And look at the Royals now. They're once again looking a couple years down the road instead of now.

Do Giants fans really want to go through the same thing?

We were a team that was one bad inning away from a World Series championship seven years ago.

We are an organization that hasn't won a championship since moving from New York to San Francisco.

I don't want to keep looking to the future. I want to win a title now, and I believe our team can win a title now as well. This isn't some scrub team we're putting out in the field like in 2007 and 2008. We have legitimate aces, one of the league's most underrated bullpens, and a good manager to put us over the top.

There's nothing wrong with going young to a point. The Boston Red Sox in 2007 and Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 showed that if you combine the right amount of young players and veterans, you can make serious noise.

It produced a second title for Boston, and helped the Rays go the World Series.

So why not go with that? Why not try to get a veteran bat (be it now or in the offseason), and maybe sacrifice a couple of phenoms? What is wrong with putting a guy in the lineup that has proved himself at the next level over a guy that has only mashed minor league pitching?

And what is wrong with getting a veteran who could immediately give us a shot at the title? Is the potential of 2012 more important than winning a World Series championship at the present moment?

I know people will disagree with me and tell me that the Giants can't win now, and that nobody expects them to win now either.

They will tell me that the only way to be successful as a franchise is to look to our farm system and the future.

If that is the case, nothing I say will get to you. I will be just wasting my breath when I say that this team can make a run now, and not just in two years.

And I'm also sure a World Series trophy or Gordon's flailing career won't help my cause either, despite how important those images are.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

All I can say is that if we continue this mindset, we should play more games with the Kansas City Royals.

At least we'll have something in common to talk about with their fans when we head to the ballpark.

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