The idea is to spend the month of February getting our community projections up for posterity. I've already started in alphabetical order, and I'm going to alternate the pitchers/hitters. There is a certain beauty to....
HEY! PAY ATTENTION! It looked like you were dozing off. You know, it's tough writing something about the Giants every day during the winter. I'm contractually obligated to do so, and sometimes I'm not satisfied with what I put out there, but in the end it ca....
HEY! WAKE UP! You were dozing off again. Man, I'm tired of this. You people make me sick, sitting back with your arms crossed, waiting for me to dance for you like a little monkey. Oh, you'll be sorry when I get to a hitter you really want to discuss. You'll dance for me, then, and I'll....
Well, look at this, the next hitter alphabetically is Barry Bonds. Giant fans have been playing the same game for just under a decade. The Giants could have a good season...IF....wait for it....IF....Barry Bonds is healthy. This variation of the game started in 1998, after the expectations from the '95/'96 doldrums were raised. 1999: You know, if Barry Bonds stays healthy the Giants have a shot. 2003: You know, if Barry Bonds stays healthy the Giants have a shot. 2005: You know, if Barry Bonds stays healthy the Giants have a shot.
Now, though, we have the mother of if Bonds stays healthys. If Ellis Burks were a catcher for the past twenty years and trying to make a comeback, Bonds might have competition for the biggest injury risk trophy. As it stands - and it stands on a knee that's basically a Ziploc bag of oatmeal and cartilage - there isn't a more questionable, or important, part of this team. Every season preview will have the same qualifier. If Bonds stays healthy.... If Bonds stays healthy....
No one knows how he's going to do, not even the man himself. The expectations for his playing time have been tempered a bit. Bonds playing 110 games would be a rousing success for the team. His mini-comeback last year took a lot of the guesswork as to his remaining skill. The dude can still hit. He now plays left as if he's wearing lead boots and running in knee-deep crème brulee, but the dude can still hit. But is 110 games realistic? How does the team do with 81 games of Bonds? Is some weird Island of Dr. Moreau-hybrid of the decomposing Steve Finley and Bonds still good enough to drive an offense?
I don't know, I don't pretend to know, and just thinking about it makes me want to pull the covers over my head. My best guess, though certainly not my most optimistic:
That's almost considered a pessimistic projection for the rate stats, which is amazing. We've been so, so lucky to watch Bonds, but the end is nigh. Instead of the Bonds of the '00s, we'll get something like an injury-prone Gary Sheffield at his peak. There are worse things, though it would be a whole lot nicer if there were a stronger team to cushion the impact of not having Bonds in the lineup. Say la v.