Good morning, baseball fans!
(Editing note before y’all break out the pitchtorches: This was mostly written Tuesday afternoon before the Jung-hoo Lee news broke, so take or leave as much of the snark and ennui as you see fit.)
Apologies for being gone for a bit, I spent the last week and a half sick and almost thought I’d fever-dreamed some of the news that came out during that time.
I missed the San Diego Padres trading Juan Soto to the New York Yankees completely. I saw a reference to Soto being on the Yankees in passing and had a very surreal moment of questioning which version of reality I was in and how long I’d actually been sick.
I’m not ever sad to see any great talent leave the National League West, of course, but it almost felt like it didn’t even matter given the other news of that time period.
The Los Angeles Dodgers got a generational talent. Again. Joy.
I’m not even upset that Shohei Ohtani didn’t sign with the San Francisco Giants. I don’t think I ever once allowed myself, for even a moment, to consider the possibility that he might. I’m numb to free agency at this point. Nothing can hurt me.
Ohtani signed with the Dodgers for nearly a billion dollars? Well, of course he did. The Dodgers are the Eras Tour and the Giants are the Errors Tour.
They’re only paying him two million dollars per season during the length of the contract? Great, yeah, awesome. Of course they figured out a way to do that.
The Giants offered/matched the same terms and were rejected in favor of the Dodgers? Yeah, that tracks. Turns out superstars do want to play in California despite the taxes used as an excuse. They just don’t want to play for aggressively mediocre teams. I, for one, am shocked.
Honestly, at this point I feel like the antagonist who is slowly losing their grip on sanity in a story about a really crappy-go-lucky main character for whom everything goes their way, despite all of the antagonist’s attempts at logic and reason to the contrary.
Squidward might be a good analogy. I’m Squidward, watching from the window while the Dodgers and all of their generational talents frolic together outside, having all of the fun in baseball* and leaving none for anyone else.
(*in the regular season)
And yet even at the bottom of that feeling, I can’t blame them. If that was my team, I’d be out there frolicking with them and giving Squidward the bird. I was a Golden State Warriors fan on July 4th, 2016. I know that feeling.
It’s what you should want your team to be doing. It’s what your team should be wanting to do.
That’s the thing, though. It’s not my team doing it. And that is frustrating. For the last couple of seasons, the Giants haven’t given their fans much to frolic about.
Which is a bit of a problem. Not so much the lack of literal frolicking, let’s leave that analogy behind.
No, the Giants’ ownership have been facing a dwindling level of goodwill from many in their fanbase. A bit of a crisis of faith in the process. And more important to their bottom line: a lack of on-field quality to entice enthusiasm from their fans to come out to the ballpark and spend the equivalent of a mortgage payment in the process.
(You know, in an economy that is increasingly leaving people behind. All for a team owned by the most profitable group in baseball who could absolutely be doing more to be competitive in their division but seem to be more interested in being “also rans” so they can focus on increasing their property portfolios and donating to extremists.)
Whoa, sorry about that, the illness must still be coming through. Get your shots, folks.
Anyway, the Jung-hoo Lee signing is a good start to addressing some of that, but cannot be the last. So I guess my question for you guys is what do you think they need to do from here in order for you to consider this offseason an overall success that lives up to the promises made at the end of the 2023 season?