Good morning, baseball fans.
It’s a beautiful day to Beat LA. And the San Francisco Giants will attempt to do just that as they begin a four-game series against their rivals tonight in Los Angeles.
While the Giants managing to secure a wild card spot is pretty much off the table at this point, they could still potentially play spoilers to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are attempting to catch up to the Atlanta Braves for top seeding in the playoffs.
Just writing that sentence made me grimace. And it reminded me of a piece that our former fearless leader Grant Brisbee wrote yesterday over on The Athletic. In it, he ponders why Giants fans seem to be so angry. And reasonably so. The 2023 Giants are far from the worst team in the league, or in the franchise’s history. And yet, he says, Giants fans seem to be out for blood.
One of his theories is that the continued success of the Dodgers is drawing a constant juxtaposition between the two. The Dodgers seemingly cannot miss the playoffs, and that has shifted the goal post of what success in the NL West needs to look like.
It took absolutely everything going right in 2021 and 107 wins from the Giants for them to finally not win the division for the first time since 2012. And yet they won the NLDS anyway.
One thing Brisbee didn’t mention (because he is a journalist, whereas I am roughly seven opinionated cats in a trench coat) is that there is a public perception that the Giants ownership doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in doing anything to try to stay competitive in the division.
To many fans, it appears like the Dodgers are playing chess and the Giants are playing Connect 4. Only with bottlecaps and spare change instead of the game pieces. And sure, a couple manage to wedge into the corners, but the rest keep falling out of the bottom and getting replaced.
The constant roster churn and lineup tinkering is tiresome. It’s like watching someone attempting a science project that has a 1-in-1,000 chance of success. “What about this?” (/smoke billows) “Hmm, I see. What about this?” (/sparks spray everywhere) “Okay, I got it, what about THIS?!” (/lab explodes)
But I don’t think that’s the root of the public perception problem though. Because the Giants are also a rich team playing poor when it comes to contracts. Ultimately, I think Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler are doing their best with what they have. But at the end of the day, many fans feel like the owners are more interested in real estate developments, counting their money, and donating to extremist politicians than in improving the team.
Maybe that’s unfair, given that they have publicly “tried” to sign big free agents and just missed out. But there’s only so many times you can watch the same scenario play out the same way until you start to wonder why they keep trying to do it that way in the first place.
Ultimately, this team isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things. And it certainly could be a lot worse. Just look at this piece also from The Athletic about the San Diego Padres.
But my goodness, it is tedious. And frustrating. There’s obviously fun to be had in watching a good team be successful. There’s even fun to be had in watching a bad team fail miserably. There’s not a lot of fun in seemingly intentional mediocrity. And that’s what Giants fans have been watching for the last two seasons. And for a few seasons before the 2021 run.
Is that enough for fans to be out for blood? I don’t know. That’s for the fans to decide. But they certainly don’t have a lot of reasons to be happy with the current status quo.
What time do the Giants play today?
The Giants and Dodgers begin a four-game series in Los Angeles tonight at 7:10 p.m. PT.