Sorry, Giants fans: The Dodgers are the best team


Sorry, Giants fans: The Dodgers are the best team

The Bay Area’s rooting interest in baseball, such as it is after such a fallow year, is really reduced at this point to which team can keep the Los Angeles Dodgers from the World Series, and to a far lesser extent whether the New York Yankees can be stopped quickly and cruelly from doing the same.

That’s the nature of the new beast – schadenfreude.

The Yankees are a national bête noire, as they always have been. Even as a wild card team, even with likable players including relative locals at each end of the generational spectrum in CC Sabathia and Aaron Judge, they remain the Yankees. Toward that end, A’s fans are not Twins fans, and if that doesn’t work, Indians fans.

The Dodgers are a more local construct, though, and largely limited to Giants fans. Most A’s fans don’t really have a team they hate . . . unless of course it is the Giants.

Arizona plays Colorado Wednesday for the right to defend the Bay Area’s tattered honor, a weird notion in and of itself. Given that, the basic logic would suggest that the Diamondbacks have the better chance given their superior starting pitching, and a bullpen that rivals the Dodgers’ in large part because of Archie Bradley. They hit lots of home runs, and J.D. Martinez may be as comprehensive an MVP candidate as there is for a single team.

Colorado, on the other hand, IS home runs and always has been, and the Rockies’ bullpen is better for a short season despite the regular season numbers because it doesn’t have Fernando Rodney and Arizona does.

That doesn’t make either team likely to beat the Dodgers, though. That job may have to be left to the Washington Nationals, who reassembled their shoddy bullpen (h/t Sean Doolittle) and healed Bryce Harper in time to position themselves smartly for both the Cubs series and the LCS. They have no real lineup malignancies, but they also have as disappointing a postseason pedigree as the Dodgers.

In the end, though, the forces that have assembled this combination of teams lead us to the conclusion that, yet again, the Bay Area will come to hate 2017. If you must rank the teams, you’d go:

2. Arizona

3. Washington

4. Chicago

5. Colorado

The 1. Is reserved for Los Angeles, though. Deal with it.

The Dodgers are the best team, top to bottom and stem to stern. Short series skew everyone’s chances, but the short money looks the likeliest.

Sorry, kids. Pitchers ands catchers report in about a million years, if that helps.

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."