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The Giants are finalists for Shohei Ohtani

This is one heckuva hot stove league.

South Korea v Japan - WBSC Premier 12 Semi Final Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

Before the offseason started, the Giants had a three-percent chance to sign Shohei Ohtani. Now they’re at something like a 14-percent chance to sign him.

The difference is enough to make us freak out, of course.

According to Ken Rosenthal, there are seven teams still in the mix for the two-way superstar

Let me go through that right quick ...

The Mariners? Their fans are dead inside. Hollow shells of baseball fans who expect nothing from the sport because they’ve been disappointed too many times. Baseball has been so cruel to them that soccer is a big sport in Seattle. Can you imagine?

The Angels are a mish-mash of Mike Trout and whatever players aren’t worthy to hang around Mike Trout. At least Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey can make fun of their colleagues together.

The Cubs were cute, and now they’re annoying. They turned one even year into four, which is just too much, and now everyone is tired of them.

The Rangers are like if the Mariners actually had a girlfriend in Canada for a couple weeks before she broke it off in a text.

The Dodgers are dumb.

The Padres

But the Giants, boy. They have the park, and they cheered Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito until the very end. Do you know what kind of loyalty that takes? All of the loyalty. It’s a perfect mix of big-small market, West Coast love, and the kind of engaged ownership that’s willing to freak out if there aren’t enough butts in the seats. If Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani don’t work out, well, they’ll just get the next Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani, because players like them come around every year, pretty much.

I’ve been quietly, dumbly optimistic for a while, though. San Francisco is really a nice baseball town. I remember when they played in a concrete latrine, but it’s better now. It’s a competitive large market that’s also super calm at the same time. And Ohtani didn’t grow up here, so he doesn’t need to be bitter about how he’s been pushed out like the rest of us. He can just take his ... hundreds of thousands ... and ... get a studio with one of those beds that pull down from the wall. That sounds delightful to me, really. Considering he was living in the Nippon Ham Fighters dorm, it might even be an upgrade.

The odds are still against them, but I’m grateful for this momentary suspension of disbelief. The Giants are finalists for two of the biggest hot stove prizes in years — YEARS — and they’re not going to get either of them, but I can still believe. The Giants might have had the worst outfield in baseball last year, but what if they had the best one next year, and one of the outfielders could pitch?

Seems wild, but I’m willing to believe. Ohtani is going to the Mariners, probably, but I can entertain the thoughts of him in San Francisco just a little bit more than I could yesterday. It’s not likely, but it’s possible.

I can live with that. For now.