Catching up with the San Francisco Giants: 24 Days Of Magic

This off-season The Nats Blog will be holding weekly interviews with blogs for all thirty teams. One site a week leading up to the start of the 2011 baseball season. This week I spoke with Andy Hanauer from 24 Days Of Magic, one of the top San Francisco Giants blogs on the net, to reflect on their championship season and beyond.

TNB: The San Francisco Giants are the defending World Series Champions. Describe the experience and how the team pulled it out.

24 Days Of Magic: Words cannot do it justice.  The San Francisco Giants had never won a title, and many Giants fans would tell you they were starting to reach a point where they simply did not believe they ever would.  To have this perfect storm of a team fighting history, beating a juggernaut in the Phillies, being filled with incredible characters and personalities, playing torturous low-scoring after low-scoring game, and then emerging from it all to triumph…it was stunning.  To give you a sense of the Giants fan persepctive, most of us continued to believe we would blow it somehow until maybe the 2nd out in the bottom of the 9th of the last game of the World Series.  In 2002 we were 7 outs away leading by 5 runs and lost.  For most Giants fans, 2010 was the greatest sports experience ever.
The fact that our team was so loveable (as opposed to the Bonds years when we weren’t quite so loveable) only made it that much better.  Get to know Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval, Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Buster Posey, etc….it’s tough not to like that team if you’re not a Phillies, Padres, or Rangers fan.
As for how we pulled it out….we have really, really good pitching.  And Buster Posey.  But mostly the pitching.

TNB: What else can we expect from Buster Posey? Its hard to do any better than his performance his rookie year.

24 Days Of Magic: I think what most Giants fans are counting on in terms of Posey is not an increase in performance in his 2nd year but just two extra months of the same performance.  Buster didn’t come up until the end of May last year so we’re excited to have him play the whole year.  We kind of think of him as a Jesus-figure…he’s so humble, talented, and…well, if I may say so…perfect.  We all kind of have a crush on him.  Even men.  Make a San Francisco joke about that if you want, but if Buster Posey was on your team, you’d have a crush on him too.  He’s dreamy.

TNB: Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria will not be returning to the team in 2011. Will their lack of veteran leadership play a big factor in the Giants success?

24 Days Of Magic: I don’t think so, but I’m not the one to ask because I think things like “veteran leadership” are overblown.  I mean, is Pablo Sandoval going to start running a brothel out of the clubhouse because Juan Uribe isn’t around to stop him?  Last year’s team by all accounts had great chemistry and all but 2 or 3 of the players from that team are back.  The additions are Miguel Tejada who is apparently well-liked, and maybe rookie Brandon Belt who by all accounts is a positive guy as well.  We’ll be fine.  The bigger problem in losing Uribe is that now Giants fans have to boo him because he’s a Dodger and we have to boo all Dodgers.  It’s just what we do.

TNB: With two Cy Young awards and a World Series title, where does Tim Lincecum rank among the Giants all-time greats?

24 Days Of Magic: I think Lincecum, when it’s all said and done, will be up there.  He’s going to have a tough time winning more Cy Youngs because of how stacked the NL is in terms of pitching, but I think the World Series Game 5 performance and his outing against the Braves in the NLDS will help cement his legacy.  What I think he will be remembered for is being this likeable, laid-back guy who goes out on the mound and pitches with heart and just dominates.  If you watch him  pitch, his best inning is almost always the last one.  To understand Timmy (as we call him) you have to understand that when he got to high school he stood 4 foot 11 and weighed 85 pounds.  He is the ultimate example of a professional athlete with the “little guy” passion to succeed but without some sort of napoleonic complex that makes him a jerk.

TNB: What are the expectations for the 2011 San Francisco Giants? Are they title contenders and how would they stack up against the revamped Philadelphia Phillies?

24 Days Of Magic: Yes we’re title contenders.  We’re defending World Champs and we have virtually everyone back.  Throw in the debut of Brandon Belt, a trimmer Kung Fu Panda, two extra months of Buster Posey, four extra months of Cody Ross, two extra months of Madison Bumgarner, three extra months of Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez, and no more Todd Wellemeyer and we’re feeling good.
The thing about the Phillies is that they seem to have gotten better in an area where they needed no help (starting pitching) and worse in an area where they did need help (offense).  Their bullpen didn’t improve.  Their old guys are older.  Obviously they’re formidable but Giants fans kind of shrugged about the Cliff Lee signing.  Not in a cocky way.  It just felt like they were struggling to keep up with our pitching so it felt like a compliment.  Plus we beat Lee twice.  Ok, so maybe we’re a little cocky.
Before we end this discussion, though,I want to find some common ground between Nats and Giants fans as the Nats are one of the few National League teams I don’t strongly dislike (when you lose for 56 straight years, you develop some issues).  Let’s see….
Aren’t the Mets annoying?  Sheesh.