It's a good time to be a San Francisco Giants fan
The team just won two out of three on the road against the Dodgers to open the season, Posey just signed a long-term contract extension, and now they're coming home for a weekend-long party. It's a pretty good time to be a Giants fan right now.
It's been a few months so let me give you quick reminder about what happened the last time Zito pitched against the Cardinals. The Giants were in St. Louis, down 3-1 in the series with their soft-throwing, guitar-playing lefty on the hill. And then in the course of one evening, he had Giants fans thinking that 7-year, $126 million dollar contract he signed in 2007 was worth it. He gave up six hits and no runs over 7.2 innings, struck out six and allowed just one walk. Casilla and Romo finished up the game and the Giants headed back to San Francisco where the magic continued.
The cheers that Zito will receive when he takes the field will be deafening, no doubt about it. But it won't just be for number 75, it's for the whole organization and the entire roster. Over the last couple of years, the Giants have made smart move after smart move. It's funny how acquiring a left-handed specialist like Javier Lopez or trading for a crafty, no-nonsense hitter like Marco Scutaro can make you look like a genius when things go well. GM Brian Sabean and Manager Bruce Bochy have made all the right little moves and pressed all the right buttons over the last few years, but so much of that success depends on a bounce here and an inch there.
In order to be in a position where a bounce here or there can win you a playoff series, you have to have made a lot of smart bigger moves. Like drafting Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner or making sure Matt Cain isn't going anywhere. In a baseball environment where the Dodgers payroll has ballooned over the last year and the A's put together a lineup of unheralded hitters, there is much discussion about the "best" way to put a team together. Some teams go after the big names and some rely on inexpensive youth. Most front offices and fans realize that a combination of the two is vital but many teams don't have this luxury, whether it's because they've traded away their top prospects or simply don't have the resources to keep rising stars.