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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Giants FanFest: 2011

The 2011 MLB season hasn't officially started yet. Heck, we're still a 2 weeks out of spring training. However, to Giants fans in Northern California and all over San Francisco, baseball fever has begun, and the countdown to the tittle defending is on!

For the most part, the Fanfest is a casual baseball gathering where fans get to meet and greet the players and coaches, but coming off the heels of the 2010 World Series Champion, this fanfest is more like a follow up World Series parade party. I was unable to be in attendance for this one but instead typing the post as I watch but mostly listen to the Fest. What I saw were images of a gathering that resembled more like a World Series Parade than a Fanfest. They even had to shut the gates to the stadium and stopped letting people in around 11:30, just 1/2 hour after the even started. I was there last year, and there was easily 3-4 times the amount of people at that point packed around Willie Mays Plaza and all down King St. They can't wait to get their Orange and Black winners back to cheer for.

There isn't a bunch of strategical or player movement talk during these events, but there has been a few pieces of baseball news being bandied about is that I'm picking up on. It appears that Bruce Bochy has early plans to use Cody Ross, the Giants most prolific RBI man during the playoffs in '10, in the 8-hole. Now, I know Cody did most of his damage in that spot last fall, but thing of all those solo homers and extra-base hits he got when nobody was on base? This guy's got too much run production value to hit that low in the order, and the simple fact is, pitchers aren't going to pitch him like an 8th batter any longer after the fall he proved he just had. The thing is, now that the Giants nabbed Miguel Tejada to play shortstop instead of Renteria or Uribe, their lineup is so deep that hitting 8th for them isn't like hitting 8th for the Pirates.

If I were filling out the lineup card though, I still would have Ross up higher and probably use Pablo or quite possibly Freddy Sanchez, depending on how he's swinging. If today were opening day, I think I'd go 1)Torres-2)Sanchez-3)Posey-4)Huff-5)Ross-6)Tejada-7)Burrell-8)Sandoval. They also could hit Tejada 2nd and DeRosa could fill in at 2nd base if Sanchez is unable to start the year. Things will obviously change throughout spring, but if your talking about hitting the players who get on base and produce towards the top and middle, than that's the way I'd go based on how the 2010 season finished. Again, a lot can change between now and then. Giants fans are getting a glimpse of Pablo's slimmed down physique at the fest today, and I think big things are in store for the Panda in '11. If Pablo catches fire, he goes from 7th-8th place hitter, right into the middle of the order. The Giants won the World Series last year and their best hitter on the opening day roster wasn't even in the lineup during the playoffs, so just imagine if he can get back to himself. I'm really looking forward to eventually watching Pablo and Buster hitting back-to-back, or at least Posey 3rd and Panda 5th (Brandon Belt for cleanup anyone?!).

As far as the rest of the Fest, so far, it's just been interviews and joking and what not. It's cool to hear the guys again, and it reminds me again why this team is so darn fun to be around and cover. I'm just ticked they get the great weather this year, cause last year (if you went, I don't have to tell you), it was cold, wet and muddy. The interviews have been pretty standard, even Brian Wilson kept it pretty PG. Other than that, we're still waiting for Cain, Lincecum, Posey, Huff and Burrell to speak, and we'll add notes to the post if/as they occur.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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