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Thursday BP, 4/5/18

Camaraderie? In this era of professional sports?

Seattle Mariners v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Pablo Sandoval caught Johnny Cueto’s bullpen session and at some point told Andrew McCutchen that he would hit a home run off of Felix Hernandez in yesterday’s game. The Giants clubhouse, per all the reports, was lively. There hasn’t been a sign of life with this team since what seems like 2014, the first four games against the Cubs in the 2016 playoffs excepted.

Eduardo Nunez was, by most counts, the last player in the clubhouse to have a personality to rise above the air of grim determination that seems to permeate every Giants team of the 21st century. Before that, yes, it was again Pablo Sandoval, but also Michael Morse and Juan Uribe. Pablo’s energy would usually get lost in the media relation battles he and his management would have with the Giants front office which eventually led to him being allowed to leave. Juan Uribe, of course, just wanted the most money, and Michael Morse served his purpose. And somewhere in the middle of all that, the energy of the rest of the club waned as performances declined.

So because there’s no way to measure the effects of a positive clubhouse — even though, psychologically speaking, it makes sense that being around positive people makes one less negative — we’ll talk about the impact of positive people in the Giants clubhouse, because that, quite simply, might’ve been an absent yet key ingredient of the past couple of years.

Because the Giants should not have been as bad as they were last year. And what the hell happened in the second half of 2016? Absolutely, baseball talent falls off a cliff, but the idea that it could happen to an entire team doesn’t quite mesh with what we know about the history of the sport. Yes, the Giants could still be an outlier in this regard. Just horribly unlucky. One morning, they all woke up unable to win a baseball game. It happens...?

You could scour comments on this site and elsewhere on social media from 2010-2014 and find a lot of lines like “I love this team!” and while a lot of that has to do with winning, it’s magnified by the image of the winning players being positive people. We’ve already seen the outfield’s new group pose to end each win. We know Andrew McCutchen is a natural force of goodness. Gregor Blanco is literally the “just happy to be here” guy who’s willing to do whatever it takes and is happy to contribute. And Pablo Sandoval is mixing it up with our collective fave, Johnny Cueto, which suggests only good things...

The Giants won 10-1 yesterday and hit four home runs, but the bigger takeaway is that some of these Giants players might actually like each other now.