In 2004, the team was coming off a playoff season, and had a shot to make it again. They blew it against the Dodgers, and did so in front of Dodger fans.
But it was okay. The team was set for the next season.
In 2005, any other Giants team between 1997 and 2004 would have won the division by six games. Without a healthy Bonds, however, it was the worst baseball team in San Francisco since 1996.
But, hey, Bonds would be healthy for a run in the next season. Wait `til next year, and all that.
In 2006, Bonds was healthy. Schmidt did good. Durham was a cyborg sent back in time from the Joe Morgan apocalypse. Things actually broke the team's way, but they still stunk. Worst season in a decade. But it's okay, bec... wait, no it's not.
The biggest flaw of the team had to be the bullpen. I have as much egg on my face as anyone, as I actually thought the bullpen would be a strength. Yeah, laugh it up, but you're the one that keeps coming back to read this crap. It was a good mix of youngsters and vets, flame-throwers and soft-tossers. They appeared to complement each other well, like the featured squadron in a WWII-movie. Here's a list of the suspects with my preseason thoughts, followed by how the season actually went in WWII-movie analogy form:
Scott Munter: Designated Groundball Getter. If you do just one thing, do it well, and Munter had the sinker of doom. Runner on first and less than two outs? Biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind; you bring in Munter. WWII-movie stereotype equivalent: The electronics specialist who fixes the detonator just in time. The only problem was the phone was what needed to be fixed.
Jack Taschner: Backup Lefty Specialist: He was an angel of death in Fresno, and did well in his limited time in 2005. WWII-movie stereotype equivalent: The quiet kid who carries around a picture of his sweetheart, but steps on a land mine in the first half-hour.
Steve Kline: Lefty Specialist. He wasn't going to be as good as Scott Eyre was in the previous season, but he's a perfectly respectable lefty specialist. WWII-movie stereotype equivalent: The wacky guy who steals canned goods from the commissary, and who tries to get behind enemy lines by wearing a dress.
Jeremy Accardo: Flame-Throwing Youngster with a Future of Gold. WWII-movie stereotype equivalent: The kid just out of high school who talks about how many Germans he's going to gun down, but has trouble pulling the trigger when he actually gets into battle. Then he gets over it and kills a whole bunch. Then he's reassigned in favor of a guy who was accused of fragging his last superior officer.
Tim Worrell: Setup Man. He had a good run with the Giants, ended his 2005 on a positive note, and was worth the benefit of the doubt for a little while. WWII-movie stereotype equivalent: The soldier who sits in the corner, muttering things to his rifle. He holds a dark, dark secret. Also, his neck hurts.
Armando Benitez: Closer. He wasn't loved by too many teams that gave him up, but the stats said enough. He was a rare reliever that just didn't have bad statistical years, so he couldn't possibly be as bad as in 2005, right? WWII-movie stereotype equivalent: A grenade.