There are a lot of different ways to simulate what this season would have looked like, but sometimes all you need is your imagination. For instance, it's not hard to picture how tonight's Giants-Padres game at Petco Park would have played out. They're generally pretty similar.
There would have been a few thousand Giants fans behind the visiting dugout because while it's no longer AT&T South, San Diego still is a go-to destination for the diehards. The score would be 3-2, or 4-3, or 2-1 -- you just know it would have been close. Wil Myers probably would have hit a home run and some random bearded dude you've never heard of would have come out of the Padres bullpen in the seventh inning with a 97 mph fastball and a 2.37 ERA. I would have had nachos in the third inning.
Alas, none of that is happening. It's another Friday without baseball, but that also means it's time for another Friday mailbag. Thanks as always to the Instagram followers who sent these questions over ...
"Asking as a new employee of the Giants -- do you think the season will resume in June/July?" -- sdot_youngu
Might as well dive right in. I do not.
More than 700 people died in New York on Thursday, and I just have a really, really difficult time seeing how baseball resumes at a time when this is still going on in our country. Hopefully, this all slows down in the coming weeks, but it's going to be hard for any sport to resume until it's under control, and until there's enough testing that players can be checked on a daily basis without taking that ability away from doctors, nurses and their fellow citizens.
A few people also asked if I think MLB should resume. I love baseball, I miss baseball, and my career is directly tied to baseball. But I'm on Team Stay at Home and Flatten the Curve, and I'm extremely grateful that I live in a city that reacted early and has done a pretty good job of fighting back thus far. I hope the officials at MLB who are considering this Arizona plan also are putting plenty of time into planning how they will take care of hotel workers, trainers, the grounds crew, security guards, drivers, chefs, etc. There are a lot of non-players who will be put at risk if MLB returns too soon.
"How do players feel about the proposal to start the season? Those conditions sound bleak." -- tylerdrums
So far I think they're generally trying to be positive about it and point out how much they want to play baseball and hope the sport can return soon. But I think when it ultimately comes time to make a decision, a lot of guys will push back.
Perhaps MLB will find a better way, but the proposal to put players in hotels for four months and keep them from their families will be a non-starter for a lot of guys.
For example, if you're a veteran who already is financially set for life, plays for a team that's not projected to be very good anyway, and you have multiple young children at home, what's the incentive to leave them for four months to play games in 105-degree heat?
Maybe that gap can be bridged by allowing families to rent houses and quarantine themselves, but that's a slippery slope if much of our society is still on lockdown. Once all that's decided, you have to figure out the finances of a shortened season with no fans in the stands. Good for MLB and the MLBPA for trying to find solutions, but it's a nightmare.
"Will Darin Ruf make the team, and if so does Pence play in right a lot?" -- jesseaflora
Ruf, a veteran who came back from Japan, was the hottest player in the Cactus League when play was suspended. He finished 12-for-28 with three homers and five doubles, certainly making a strong push.
I tend to think spring numbers barely matter, because often times the guys who tear up the Cactus League are doing so against minor league pitching late in games and we've learned over and over again -- hello, Chris Marrero -- that a hot spring doesn't necessarily translate. But Ruf was putting himself in a strong spot and he certainly filled a need.
He'll have a new issue working against him when the Giants resume. Pablo Sandoval should be 100 percent healthy and will take one of those bench spots. On the other hand, if MLB resumes in 2020 there will be expanded rosters, and that could allow Ruf to make it. I would think he would be more of a bench bat in that situation, leaving Pence and Dickerson in left field.
"Hey Alex, what do you normally do during the quarantine?" -- huddler_92
On the day spring training got canceled I ordered an Xbox, which has been helpful.
In all seriousness, every day is kind of the same, right? We're doing our best to bring you original Giants content, including two new podcasts this week, and I've enjoyed digging through my phone and laptop to find photos and videos for Instagram. I know we have some cool content coming, but I'm certainly open to any ideas from readers, so reach out if there's something you've always wanted to know.
There was a Tiger King weekend, obviously, and I'm grateful that The Challenge has returned. I spend about 10 minutes every day watching new versions of that coffin meme and trying to decide if it would be cruel or funny to make one about the 2016 NLDS. Standard stuff.
"If the season is canceled, will all contracts just be extended one year?" -- craiggus
Nope, MLB and the MLBPA reached an agreement that guarantees service time even if there is no season. So Jeff Samardzija would be a free agent, and the Giants would be one year closer to the expiration of the other big contracts.
"Is Crawford better at brackets, or picking ground balls deep in the hole between shortstop and third?" -- lifematt
I appreciate all the hard work Brandon Crawford is putting into his brackets, but Apple Jacks as a 15 seed is an absolute travesty!
"Giants farm system is considered in the top 10 now. What do you think about that?" -- pasqualeesposito0
This is far and away the best development for the organization over the last year. That is the only way to build a sustainable winner, and you have to give credit to both regimes for making this happen.
Bobby Evans and the previous group brought in players like Marco Luciano, Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos and Farhan Zaidi and the new coaches and development people have done a really nice job of advancing their careers.
It's not hard to see a situation where Bart, Ramos and Hjelle are getting their feet wet during the 2021 season and giving fans real, legitimate excitement. Luciano has a chance to be a game-changer, the type of young hitter who comes in and changes the entire trajectory of a franchise. Perhaps Hunter Bishop turns into the 30-homer threat this lineup has been missing for years. Beyond that, there's a lot of intriguing depth, too.
As painful as it is to get there, there's not much that's more exciting for a fan base than the arrival of top prospects, and the Giants have a chance to make some serious strides starting next season. The future appears to be bright.
"What is your best memory of 2014?" -- coldgame_christian_garcia
There are two that come to mind right away.
I've never seen a press box shake the way the one at Kauffman Stadium did when Alex Gordon tripled in the ninth inning. There's that old "no cheering in the press box" rule and honestly, people do a really good job of keeping their heads down and updating their stories. That's the job. But when Gordon was held at third, it was mayhem.
I remember looking up and down the first row of the press box and laughing at how many people were having animated conversations about the play or in awe of what they were watching. We were all fans at that moment, just soaking in one of the most intense moments in MLB history.
The other that sticks out is from the following day. There was an older woman running the United gate at the airport and when she saw that I was going to San Francisco, she asked if I was in town for the World Series. We then spent about 10 minutes talking about how fun the series was and she kept saying how happy she was for Giants fans because it was such a hard-fought battle.
The people of Kansas City were so unbelievably kind to all of us visitors that October. I couldn't help but root for them the next postseason.
"Is Dubon a realistic long-term possibility in center field?" -- itainteasybeingcheesy28
I think Dubon's long-term destination depends partly on other Giants prospects. He could easily handle shortstop every day, but what if Luciano stays there and is up in a couple of years? Will a Ramos or Bishop stick as a center fielder?
I think it's too early to try to figure out what Dubon is long term, and first he'll need to prove he can consistently hit in the big leagues, too. But at the very least, he's a nice chess piece for Gabe Kapler. The Giants view him similarly to the way the Dodgers view Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor. He can play just about every day, but not necessarily at one position.
He should be able to fill in a lot of gaps when the Giants are ready to contend again.
"Updates on Oracle Park?" -- thephenomjr
Construction has stopped for now, but if there's a point where MLB is ready to return to home cities this year, the Giants are close enough that it'll take them just a couple of weeks to finish the bullpens.
The park will be ready when the players are.
"Not a mailbag question you can answer probably, but did you grow up a Giants fan?" -- raymondp33
Yep, I did. Actually the other day I posted a video on Instagram of a Barry Bonds home run I witnessed:
I grew up in Cupertino and took the train that day with a few of my closest friends, and to this day we still joke about how we snuck down from the upper deck and found seats about 20 rows behind the Giants dugout. That gave us the perfect view of Bonds' blast sailing into the Cove.
Everything changes when it becomes your career, but I grew up in the Bay Area and had the same highs and lows as a lot of you. The Steve Finley grand slam was one of the worst moments of my life.