A song to play while you’re reading about the Giants: “LOVE” by Kendrick Lamar, ft. Zacari. (As Kendrick uses his song about love to talk mostly about loyalty, the Giants will find out how many of the fans from the sellout streak will love them unconditionally. Or as Kendrick would put it, “If I didn’t ride blade on curb, would you still love me?/If I minimized my net worth, would you still love me?”)

When choosing which song would represent this season, I decided that it would be tacky to choose “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret. It would be unseemly, and in fact illogical, to pretend like we’ve never been winners. But it does give voice to a certain nagging thought I can’t seem to brush away: “Maybe…maybe…”

Maybe Madison Bumgarner is all healed up, and ready for another 200 inning, 200 strikeout season. Dereck Rodriguez doesn’t have to immediately regress. After a rough couple months to begin last season, Derek Holland really was great. Jeff Samardzija’s fastball was hitting 94 this spring! Drew Pomeranz used to pitch for the Red Sox! They’re in the American League!

And look at the lineup. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Joe Panik all played through injury for most of last season (Posey and Belt still managed close to 3 WAR each in what were considered down years). It wouldn’t be a miracle for Evan Longoria to have a 30-HR season. Maybe Mac Williamson could finally experience the breakout we’ve been promised, and Steven Duggar could be a defense-first, slap-hitting Kevin Kiermaier lite. You can see it, can’t you?

So what about the division? As Sam mentioned on Effectively Wild’s Dodgers preview, the Dodgers had to play a game 163 to get into the playoffs last year. The Diamondbacks are apparently giving up. The Rockies are…behaving very Rockiesly this offseason. The Padres signed Machado, and have a terrifying farm system that could be deployed at any time. But this isn’t the AL East or NL Central where there are two or three monoliths blotting out every ray of hope.

If you’re reading this website, you surely know how unlikely this is. How many team previews have we heard where the argument is “Well, if no one ever gets hurt or sick, and every player hits .300, I can see this team making a run.”? You can’t count on the best case scenario for all 25 players over all 162 games. That’s not how things work.

But you also know that, sometimes, baseball completely breaks with reality and makes fools of us all. Sometimes the 2014 Orioles win 96 games. Sometimes the 2006 Cardinals win the World Series. Hell, sometimes the 2010 Giants beat both the 2010 Phillies and Rangers to win the World Series! Haha, remember that shit?

Giants fans actually have plenty of reason to believe in the impossible. They’ve seen two late-career Tim Lincecum no-hitters. They watched Hunter Pence’s bat hit a ball 3 times in one swing. They’re primed to expect the impossible of their team. And they’re going to need it, because reality is looking pretty bleak.

Win total prediction: 70

What is the Giants’ most recent accomplishment? 

Hired Farhan Zaidi as President of Baseball Operations is their most recent accomplishment. While the Giants’ reputation as being way behind the times with regards to analytics is not entirely fair, Zaidi is definitely a needed upgrade in their approach to decision-making.

How do the Giants define success for 2019? 

Bruce Bochy needs 74 wins to reach 2,000 for his managing career, which would make for a lovely little capstone. Also need to see advancements in the farm system.

The Giants’ most Effectively Wild player: Pat Venditte

Farhan Zaidi has made the Giants relevant among the Effectively Wild set, as the presumed source of the signings of former Jeff Sullivan nemesis Breyvic Valera and reported amphibian Pat Venditte. Venditte might not crack the major-league roster, but if the Giants decide to have a fire sale of their unnecessarily strong bullpen, it opens the possibility of us seeing some switch-pitching in 2019.

2019 promo worth the price of admission

From the Crazy Crab to the Croix de Candlestick, the Giants have a long legacy of poking fun at the idea of ballpark promotions. The Karl the Fog Globe promotion for the August 10 contest against the Phillies continues the tradition of playing with the medium. Also there’s a Pitchin’ Pablo Sandoval bobblehead on May 11 that will probably be the biggest draw of the season.

…and finally, a haiku for 2019:

Bumgarner, Posey
Belt, Craw, Panda, and Panik
How much longer, friends?

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