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Why you should root for the Diamondbacks

Because “Because they're playing the Dodgers" is so incredibly enough that you have to play it cool and pretend that it isn’t or it’ll get weirded out

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Last year, before the Dodgers finished playing the Nationals in the NLDS, I wrote this article about why the Nationals were a good team and worth rooting for. Then the Dodgers won. But the year before, I wrote this article about why the Mets, at the time about to play the Dodgers in the NLDS, were good and cool and you should like them. And the Mets did win that series. So really, this concept is batting .500, so it’s basically a Hall of Fame concept, so back off, I’m not a curse, your face is a curse.

Gregor Blanco!

Gregor Blanco spent four excellent seasons as a fifth outfielder with the Giants before an injury plagued 2016 led to ... fine, fine, here’s the catch.

Great. Now let’s try that again. Gregor Blanco spent four excellent seasons as a fifth outfielder with the Giants before an injury plagued 2016 led to his departure from the team. After missing some time with injury, he was having a solid for Arizona this year until he fell on hard times in the last couple months, which hurt his overall numbers. Still, he is seen as a clubhouse leader for the Diamondbacks, where he’s getting the respect he deserves. And besides, how can you not root for that smile?

San Francisco Giants Victory Parade and Civic Celebration Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Paul Goldschmidt is just a delightful fella

Giants fans tend to be pretty down on Paul Goldschmidt, and for good reason. He’s been one of the best hitters in baseball since entering the league, he’s a fearsome presence in Arizona’s lineup, and he basically ended Tim Lincecum’s career all by himself. But did you know his line against the Giants is actually much worse than his line against just about any other team? It’s true! Goldschmidt has an .864 OPS against the Giants, compared to a .931 career OPS. And if you think that’s park effects from AT&T, it’s not. He has a .940 career OPS at AT&T Park. The Giants, other than Lincecum, have just found a way to shut him down in his home park, which is a real hitter’s park too.

It’s very sweet of Goldschmidt to be worse against the Giants than the rest of the majors, and I feel kinda bad that not only did we not get him anything, we didn’t even notice. Talk about an etiquette faux pas!

Because they were real bad last year

Look, the Diamondbacks and Giants aren’t a perfect analogy, and I don’t want to suggest any differently. But on the other hand, this team isn’t that different from the one that lost 93 games in 2016. They made some big changes, but it’s not like the entire roster was overhauled. But they got a lot of better performances from guys who had down years and some other guys returned from injury and they made a couple big trades that really helped them out, and here they are, facing the Dodgers in the playoffs. Is it likely for the 2018 Giants to follow this path? No. Is it possible? Sure is. Just look at Arizona.

Because they prove a team can overcome an atrocious trade to compete

Remember Shelby Miller? Remember how bad that trade was that brought him to Arizona? They gave up Dansby Swanson (excellent prospect who struggled in the majors this year as a 23 year old), Ender Inciarte (very good defensive center fielder who was a perfectly decent hitter this year), and Aaron Blair (human person also in the trade) for 20 awful starts last year and 4 decent ones this year before Miller had to get Tommy John.

But that trade didn’t cripple the franchise. Just a year later, in fact, they became the blueprint for how to overcome a really bad move to put yourself in a great position for the future. And the Giants haven’t made any one trade quite that bad recently, though the cumulative effect of trading for Mike Leake, Matt Moore, and Will Smith has certainly put them in a rougher spot than they’d like to be. But still, if you want a guide for how to compete after draining yourself of a whole bunch of assets, take a look at Arizona. Every team’s situation is different, but if you’re looking for hope for the 2018 Giants, this is as good as it’s gonna get.