Tuesday, January 07, 2014

LA LA Lagging for 25 Years

LA LA Laughable

ogc thoughts

I was vacationing in the LA area and while wandering all over the Magic Kingdom's two parks, I got to noticing that a lot of Giants fans were representing our colors.  There were around 6-8 wearing Giants clothing of some sort.  There were also just as many 49er fans as well, including a Kaepernick uni (Go Niners!).  There was even a pair of Angels fans (so maybe they should count as one).  I also saw a Padres cap.

Two Dodgers fans walking around.

Now, I do realize that Disneyland has more visitors from outside, but still, they sell their season passes too to locals, and they were on school vacation too.  Plus, I went on the weekend, so more locals could have shown up too, as people can do things in the weekend.  In addition, I am counting the people I saw while doing down Downtown Disney, as well as roaming around Koreatown, looking for my daughter's K-pop music store, as well as driving down the lovely I-5 freeway (though mostly just moseying along, a few feet at a time).

Two Dodgers fans.

And that got me to thinking about a post I was going to post up, which I'm now incorporating into this post, which was to point out that the Dodgers have now gone 25 years without a World Series championship, which is their longest stretch without one since their franchise start long one that stretched from the 1800's to their first one in 1955 (71 years).  And sadly for their fans there, the team left Brooklyn within two years of accomplishing their first championship.

Perhaps this relatively long stretch of nothing explains the lack of fervor in their fan base publicly.  Sure, they had a nice season in 2013, but after so many years of not winning, the fans will believe it when they see it.  I can certainly understand that feeling, while I have always worn Giants clothing most of my adult life, when possible, I know that I did not see as much orange and black on the public before that glorious 2010 Championship.  The general fan base had a malaise that would need the shock of a championship to make it alive again.

They also had a stretch of 16 years between their 1965 and 1981 titles, meaning that their glory years were really last in the 1960's, with a brief blossoming in the 1980's.  That's two in the last 48 years.

Of course, the Giants had their 56 year stretch, getting into three World Series but losing each time, which was preceded by a 21 year stretch, where they also got into the World Series three times but lost each time. And for myself, I had been a fan for nearly 40 years before our first World Series Championship.  But with the counter reset by our glorious World Series Championships in 2010 and 2012, we are only one season since our last championship.

Whereas the Dodgers have now gone through 25 seasons without tasting that sweet sweet championship champagne!

While the Dodgers have a lot of money buying up a lot of talent, I think the Giants are in good position to stay relevant and playoff worthy for the rest of the decade, no matter what LA does.  The Giants have spent money to keep their best players around.  They have a number of young players who are blossoming and relatively cheap.  They have a huge mass of pitching talent climbing through the farm system, now filling up Richmond's and San Jose's rotation, plus some good ones in Fresno and Augusta as well, mostly starters but also some very interesting and dominating relievers as well.  They should be able to win the 92 games necessary to get into the playoffs each season and win at least 90 games, which would give them a fighting chance, year in, year out, to make the playoffs, barring catastrophic injury to a core player.

The Dodgers lineup is creaking with their age, only Puig is significantly under 30, Kemp is the only other one under 30 (and will soon enough be 30 YO season in 2015).  Their pitching rotation however, is very young, and if they are able to add Tanaka or Price or someone equivalent to their rotation, they could be even better than the Giants.  

But as we saw in 2013, if your players don't have their health, the team will suffer, and the Dodgers have a lot of health question marks in their lineup (for pitching, it is a given), as well as hitters getting into that nexus of their early 30's when things start to break down in the human body.  So they are just as likely, if not more likely, to suffer from player injuries as the Giants would, which I see as one area of concern from the general fan base.

And the Giants formula from 2009 to 2012 was strong starting pitching and we should have it again in 2014.  Bumgarner is just getting better every year.  Cain after his post-Perfecto lull in PQS DOM starts, ended the season with a strong 7 5-PQS starts in 10 starts, something he could not accomplish since the Perfecto.  Hudson is a pitching machine, generating mid-3 ERA seasons whether AL or NL, pre-TJS or post, and there is no reason his ankle injury should affect him in the future, he got a clean bill of health from the Giants doctors and there has been no reports of set backs in his recovery.

That's a great 1-2-3 rotation.  Then Lincecum probably will be a good 4th starter.  Lincecum ended the season with a nice run, which would have been even better if not so many of his inherited runners scoring while in the care of the bullpen, 7 out of 8, when on average 2-3 scores.  Reducing that to 4 of 8 would have reduced his ERA to 3.48 for his second half starts (excusing his poor start after his no-no, given what we saw what happened to Cain after his no-no).  That's the formula we had in 2009-2012, surviving even a poor 5th starter, like we did in some seasons, to be a Top 5 team in RS allowed, with two starters around 3 ERA and two starters around mid-3 ERA, and if Vogelsong can just be average, that would be a big advantage over other teams because they usually have garbage in their 5th spot (if not their 4th spot).  The Giants would not have spent all that money re-signing Lincecum unless they thought he was close to returning to relevance as a starter.

Combine that with strong offense - lineup calculator with projections estimate the offense to be around 4.5 to 4.6 RS per game - and the Giants easily wins 92 games, maybe approach 95 games.  LA will be strong, but so will the Giants.  Bring it on!

Go Giants!

2 comments:

  1. When I go to Disney World in Florida, I always wear my giants garb. People ask me if I live in SF, I tell them 3000 miles away, but my heart is in SF.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Dodgers pretty much completely lost their fanbase in the last few years of the McCourt era. It came back a bit last year with the excitement Puig brought and with making the playoffs, but still has a long way to go. If Puig plays well again in 2014 and they return to the playoffs it will continue to grow.

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