Two weeks ago, the Jock Blog called Casey Schmitt’s arrival a four-letter word, and the FCC approved: H-o-p-e.
Now, two weeks later, Patrick Bailey arrived alongside — and we’ve got a veritable hope chest in the Giants’ dugout.
Two rookies in the starting lineup? Two *good* rookies in the starting lineup?
Don’t tell me there’s reason for . . . optimism?
Wait, did we forget that Blake (Best Goggles Since Kelby Tomlinson) Sabol is a rookie, too? And about to finish a month of May hitting .311, with an .826 OPS?
Two homegrown kiddos and a Rule 5 masher — what is Farhan Zaidi trying to do, win us over?
See, that’s been the barrier between Farhan’s Giants and the fans. Those 66 transactions last year, those start-a-guy, then-DFA-a-guy, all-in-the-same-week moves drove us all nuts — particularly when it was a road to nowhere. Or a .500 record. Same thing.
All we craved was stability, and someone to care about. We followed the marching orders of Freddie Mercury, who asked: “Can anybody find me/somebody to love?”
Hometown love is the best, whether it’s your high school crush — or a crush like Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey or Madison Bumgarner.
Those of us old heads can remember an entire season built around the kind of passion you feel for Schmitt and Bailey. In 1986, marketing guru Pat Gallagher took a look at rookies Will Clark and Robby Thompson and Mike Aldrete (not to mention fellow youngsters but not rookies Chris Brown and Chili Davis) and coined the advertising phrase, “You Gotta Like These Kids”. It’s still a high point in Giants slogan-dom.
The 2023 Giants are already committed to the “Nothing Like It” banners up and down the Embarcadero, but mentally and emotionally, we are making the transition to the “You Gotta Like These Kids” era.
And that’s a good thing.
When the pursuits of Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa fell through this winter, Farhan was not exactly crushing the approval ratings. He was down there with Congress, and the IRS. I recall calling in to the show during Christmas break to vent to Markus (The Waterboy) Boucher and Marcus (MT2) Thompson and feeling so bereft, my only recourse was to say: Well, the only path forward is if the farm system can deliver . . . and my faith in that farm system was lukewarm, considering Austin Slater was pretty much the best position player the Giants had developed in the last half-decade. Don’t get me wrong. Slater’s a nice piece. But as I frequently said to Adam (Copes) Copeland during those years: “Where’s my Pete Alonso, Copes?”
Look at the farm system now, harvesting hope.
And we may not be done, sports fans. Kyle Harrison’s last outing was sizzling. He’s almost a lock to get called up this year. Luis Matos is now in Triple-A Sacramento, and is hitting .361 in his first eight games there. He’s 21 years old, and was the Arizona Fall League Defensive Player of the Year in the outfield last autumn.
Farhan’s approval ratings are on the rise, maybe even higher than Congress these days. The team is 14-9 in May, and in a watered-down National League, could realistically be in the hunt for a top-six finish and a wild card.
We used to joke on the show, in the late 2010s, when the Bochy championship era was petering out, “just get us to .500 by Flag Day and we’ll see what happens.” Now, things are so hoppin’ in 2023, we’ve moved it up to Memorial Day.
You gotta like these kids.