On March 26, the San Francisco Giants will visit the Los Angeles Dodgers in a David vs. Goliath Opening Day matchup.
Gabe Kapler will trot to home plate to give the roster card to an umpire who he’ll yell at repeatedly for the next three hours.
It will be the first time in 4,925 days that someone not named Bruce Bochy will be handling those managerial duties for the Giants (and yes, you.....I’m talking to you.....I know that Bochy missed a few games over his 13 years for health reasons. Stop being a stickler.).
That’s a long time to go between Felipe Alou - now 84 - to Kapler.
We’re still a long ways away from Opening Day, in terms of roster decisions and whatnot. We have no idea who will be the 26 players that Kapler, Farhan Zaidi, and Scott Harris deem worthy of getting the first assignment before half of them are shipped off to various cities across the country for various reasons.
So we can’t make a full comparison between 2006 and 2020, but we can at least reminisce about that final game pre-Bochy: Game #161 (!!), on October 1, 2006. Here’s who started for the Giants:
CF - Jason Ellison
SS - Omar Vizquel
RF - Todd Linden
LF - Barry Bonds
1B - Shea Hillenbrand
3B - Pedro Feliz
C - Todd Greene
2B - Kevin Frandson
P - Jason Schmidt
A couple thoughts on that lineup:
- Barry Bonds was there, and it’s always good to have a reminder that Barry Bonds, the greatest hitter in baseball history, played for your favorite team for a long time.
- I occasionally think of Kevin Frandsen, and each time that I do I have the same silly thought: I can’t remember whether he played for the team recently, or a long time ago. Invariably that leads me to his Baseball-Reference page, at which point I’m reminded that he did both.
- Second baseman hit second was apparently a rule instituted by Bochy.
- Shea Hillenbrand. Lol.
And here are the the people who came off the bench in that game:
SS - Tomas de la Rosa
LF - Fred Lewis
LF - Moises Alou
PH - Mark Sweeney
PH - Ray Durham
1B - Lance Niekro
P - Brad Hennessey
P - Kevin Correia
P - Brian Wilson
P - Steve Kline
- Legitimately had no clue that Brian Wilson was on the 2006 team. In my mind he didn’t exist until 2008.
- Maybe it’s because I often confuse him with Brad Penny, but did you know that Brad Hennessey was a career Giant? I had no clue. Coincidentally, I’m not sure any Giants lifer spent as much time with the team as Hennessey did (five years) without creating one moment that we can remember.
- Remember the Tomas de la Rosa era? Yeah, me neither.
It goes without saying that no one on that final 2006 team is on the initial 2020 squad. The only thing they have in common is that they both lost to the Dodgers.
We’ve come a long way. Kind of.