The San Francisco Giants have a problem.
It’s not the bullpen. It’s not the at-bats. It’s not their director. No, the Giants are missing something that carried them to three World Series titles in five years. Something that when absent could leave the Giant without a fourth consecutive even-year playoff berth. Something San Franciscans embracing, and the Giant thrive on.
The Giants aren’t weird enough.
Now, before we get any further, lets be clear. On the field, the Giants are very, very bad right now. Historically bad. Like, one-of-the-worst-collapses-in-MLB-history bad.
San Francisco had the best record in baseball at the All-Star Break essentially the season’s halfway phase and have followed up with the worst record in baseball ever since. The Los Angeles Dodgers have already clinched the division. San Francisco has a weak hold on the wild card, which grants two additional non-division winners an opportunity to reach the playoffs.
The offense, bullpen and management are a number of problems.
But so is the Giants’ lack of weirdness.
That weirdness runs hand-in-hand with the Giants’ “even year magic, ” a trend fans couldn’t assist but notification after San Francisco won World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 all “even” years. In 2011, 2013 and 2015, meanwhile, the Giants failed to make the playoffs, which merely increased the voodoo vibes and paradoxically created Giants’ fans hopes heading into 2016.
After all, it’s an even year.
CHRIS LAROT (@ CHRISLAROT) March 24, 2016
Those three championship seasons were characterized by individuals whose eccentricity transcended baseball altogether. The Aubrey Huffs. The Brian Wilsons. The Hunter Cent. They toed the line between athletics and pop culture. They erupted the Giants and the Bay Area. They induced the game accessible to even casual sports fans.
They had fun, and people had fun watching them.
“Im a pro baseball player in my 20 s, ” Wilson said on The Franchise , a Showtime series that followed the Giant in 2011. “Im notjust going to walk around monotone like a robotthen wake up, Im 35, video games over, and Ivehad zero fun.”
After all, athletics are supposed to be fun, right?
Each even year, each championship, was inherently different. But the teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014 all rallied around person or something weird.
Brian Wilson needs little introduction. Let’s give him one anyway.
The Giants’ 2010 closer grew out his beard and dyed it jet black( Wilson never admitted to coloring it, he instead called it “tan” ). He wore a skin-tight, spandex tuxedo to the ESPYs. He get fined for wearing cleats that were too orange .
He did things like this 😛 TAGEND
And this 😛 TAGEND
The list goes on. Bottom line, the guy is pretty freakin’ weird.
2010 was ‘Fear The Beard, ‘ a movement triggered by Wilson’s outrageous facial hair.
2010 was a band of misfits, 25 crazy guys rallying around the crazy idea that their squad only might be able to bringing a World Series title to San Francisco.
Hunter Pence one of the most fundamentally unconventional players in baseball came to the Giant in 2012. His performance on the field left plenty to be desired, but when the Giant had their backs against the wall in the postseason, Pence stepped up.
His pre-game speeches propelled the Giants to win six straight elimination games en route to their second World Series title.
That season, freshly minted closer Sergio Romo brought his own quirkiness to the fold, busting out the dance of 2012 Gangnam Style after every save toward the end of the year.
2012 was ‘Never Say Die.”
They never did.
The Giant largely have Madison Bumgarner alleged human to thank for 2014. His performance in the playoffs was other worldly, and induced him one of the best pitchers in postseason history. The left-hander’s exponentially excessive beer consumption during the course of its playoffs also became a huge thing.
But again, it was Hunter Pence’s quirkiness that brought the Giants a new rallying cry the Yes Movement, borrowed from WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan. “YES! YES! YES! ” became the post-home run festivity, and the fans loved it.
Pence and newly acquired Michael Morse the gigantic 10 -year-old whose bromance with Penceis nothing short of incredible brought life. There was an energy about the Giants’ dugout, a palpable love between the players.
2014 was playing for the name on the front of the jersey , not the name on the back.
2014 was “YES! YES! YES! “
The 2016 Giant do not have a thing, and they are not having fun, which constructs watching the Giant even more miserable. The 2016 Giant feel defeated.
This group is not weird enough.
Hunter Pence and Sergio Romo are still there, but they both missed two months( 1/3 of the season) because of injuries. Their weirdness was missed.
Now, there is one Giant who can justifiably counter this argument, and that’s Johnny Cueto, the hotshot acquired by San Francisco last wintertime. Cueto’s a goofball, known for his brilliantly effective lethargy, his shimmying wind-up on the mound and his gigantic bubbles of gum in the dugout.
And if you haven’t assured his Instagram, you are seriously missing out. This is a real post on Cueto’s real Instagram account.
There’s plenty more where that received from. Severely, go check it out.
OK, so Cueto is weird enough for San Francisco.
But the problem is, Cueto doesn’t have anyone to be weird with. His quirkiness is isolated, likely because he only pitchings every fifth day, and perhaps because he doesn’t speak English, either. In fact, Cueto’s own brand of oddball is almost too chill to be sparkplug material.
Cueto doesn’t fire up the Giant. They just let Johnny be Johnny.
But the Giant require a chemistry boost from something or someone. They need the heart to power through tough losses. They need to have more fun.
You know who is having fun?
The Dodger. They’re making shirts literally taunting the Giant about how much fun they’re having.
The Cubs. They have zany wardrobe themes for each road trips everything from Miami Vice to track suits. The Giant would probably be having that much fun if they had won 100 games, as the Cubs merely did. But the Cubs were dressing like that at the beginning of the year, months before they emerged as absolute contenders.
Your Chicago Cubs came back to Chicago in Onesies to kick the Pirates vs Cubs series tonight! pic.twitter.com/ x7yd0mnzka
Forever Cubs (@ ForeverCubs_) August 29, 2016
These lifeless San Francisco Giants may very well reach the playoffs. The regular season wraps up on Sunday, and right now, the Giant are holding onto the second wild card slot by a thread.
Anything can happen this week.
But if they do build the postseason, the Giants will run into much stronger squads teams with better at-bats, better records and better bullpens. The Giants are relentless in the postseason, so they might be able to squeak out a win or two. But they won’t do it on talent alone, because they don’t measure up to the other playoff squads in that department.
The Giants require something more to make them a successful October club. They brought home three World Series trophies on a lot of clutch performances and a lot of heart. In 2016, there are no beards to fear , no thongs to rally behind.
The Giants need to get weird, or this even year will end much differently than the last three.