Friday, April 6, 2007

Nattering Nabobs

To hear the "Baseball Press" tell it, you'd have to conclude that the Giants have absolutely Zero chance to make the playoffs this year.

Sports Illustrated predicts the Giants will finish dead last in the National League West. Yep, they're picking the Giants to finish behind even the beleaguered Colorado Rockies.

The San Francisco Chronicle is only slightly more optimistic. They pick the Giants to finish in 3rd place, ahead of the Diamondbacks and Rockies, but still well out of the playoffs. Both of the Chronicle baseball writers -- Henry Schulman and John Shea -- pick the Dodgers to win the division. Ouch.

But perhaps the most negative assessment comes from the national publication Sports Weekly (formerly known as Baseball Weekly before they added NFL coverage.)

Sports Weekly employs 14 baseball writers. In their recent "2007 Predictions" issue, exactly NONE of these 14 Weekly writers predict that the Giants will make the playoffs. 11 of the Weekly's scribes agree with Shea and Schulman that the Dodgers will take the division while two pick the Rockies (!) and just one writer predicts that the Padres will repeat as Division Champions.

The Wild Card predictions go to the Padres (5), Phillies (3), Mets (2), Cubs (2), Dodgers (1) and even the Brewers (1).

The Weekly has a big companion piece about how the last few postseasons have featured teams that were big surprises that went on to postseason glory. They go on to list teams they think might "surprise" in 2007. None of the 14 writers picks the Giants to "surprise" this year. Three writers pick the Diamondbacks as this year's surprise NL team. Other votes went to the Brewers (4), Rockies (2), Pirates (!) (2), and the Braves, Reds and Cubs (1 apiece) as this year's "surprise" NL team.

The Giants do appear twice in the Weekly's pre-season lists. Two writers pick the Giants to be the "biggest disappointment" in the National League this year.

Taken together, that, friends, is a whole lotta consensus amongst baseball "cognoscenti" that the 2007 Giants are in for a season of frustration and failure.

To read all these dire scribblings, you'd have to conclude that the Giants have no absolutely no hope this year. I mean, why even show up? The Baseball Press has written us off here at the beginning of April.

I guess that makes the Giants bona fide underdogs.

And, as they say, the actual games do still have to be played.

As I'm sitting here typing this, I have next to my computer a souvenir cup from Candlestick Park -- one that commemorates 40 years of Giants baseball in San Francisco.

It just seemed appropriate, somehow, to bust out an artifact from the 1997 season as I read all of these predictions of doom for our 2007 Giants.

Play ball, baby.