ESPN loves, hates the Giants

Report: Giants are the tops! The bee's knees, the elephant's instep! We're talking the eel's hip, boss! - USA TODAY Sports

Their West or East Coast bias is encouraging and/or dismaying.

I can't find those old screencaps of the ESPN predictions for the 2010 World Series in which several pundits (and a couple of my current co-workers) all offered plates of steaming wrong to the baseball-loving masses. But I'm sure one of you will procure them within a few seconds of reading this. And those images are evidence of just how wrong ESPN is about everything.

But if that's the case, what are we to make of this? Buster Olney loves the Giants, going so far as to make the Giants the top team in the first edition of his power rankings.

The World Series champ has been king of the mountain two of the past three seasons, and unlike last spring, there are no significant overriding questions. Buster Posey demonstrated he is all the way back. Even without Tim Lincecum pitching at a Cy Young level, the Giants' pitching staff is deep, and they re-signed Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro. Time will tell what kind of condition Pablo Sandoval will be when he arrives in spring training, but the Panda wasn't exactly svelte when the Giants won the World Series two months ago. They've earned this spot.

I need to use the word svelte more. There should also be more "sv" words. That grilled cheese was svansive, just svansive. The date was a svantanable mess, though.

Olney is bullish, but there's a bear at ESPN with a counterpoint. David Schoenfield is the bear:

The Giants in 2012 scored 718 runs and allowed 649. This would normally result in a record of 88-74, meaning the Giants exceeded their expected record -- based on those runs scored and allowed totals -- by six wins. That was tied with the Reds for the second-highest positive differential in the league, behind the Orioles' historically anomalous plus-11. To me, this means the Giants' true talent level is closer to that of an 88-win team than a 94-win team.

dude why u gotta hate on the WORLD CHAMPS right

The answer? Almost certainly in the middle. The Giants aren't counting on Marco Scutaro to be the hitter he was -- they're counting on him to be something better than the cumulative .288/.327/.343 hitter who played second last year. The Giants can't count on Melky or the same Buster Posey, but they can count on Brandon Belt getting a full season and Hunter Pence being a little better. And on and on. I think any report of their imminent demise is as silly as any report of their dynastic visions of grandeur.

They're certainly not the best team in baseball. But I'd put them in the top 10, even if just barely. They're a confusing, debatable team, though, and the important thing is to get riled up in the Facebook comments below those articles because that is how your opinions get heard.

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