CBS 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm and offers his unique sports analysis here.
San Francisco (CBS 5) – When you win a World Series you tend to forget the smallest of details. Who cares when you are the World Champions? Those details are proving to be the downfall of the San Francisco Giants in 2011.
When I arrived at spring training this year, I sensed a change in the clubhouse. I remember looking around and reading the room. Would Huff have another career year? Would Ross bring the same late and post-season heroics into this season? How about Burrell? Were those surprising 18 home runs and 51 RBI in 96 at-bats a sign of things to come, or would he be the strikeout king he became in the playoffs? Could Tejada do what Jose Uribe did? Was the surprising breakout season of journeyman Andres Torres a fluke? And would they stay healthy? We know the answers to those questions now. But the sweet taste of victory gave us a false sense of security. We’d forgotten how it all sort of magically came together. The magic is gone. You know it. You can feel it.
In truth, the Giants weren’t as good as we thought they were. They rode an incredible wave of pitching, luck and timing to win the World Series. They had an incredible September run and didn’t clinch a playoff birth until the final day of the season. Brian Sabean couldn’t make a wrong move last year. (Burrell, Ross, resigning Uribe) This year, Sabean couldn’t do anything right. (Burrell, Tejada, Beltran, Cabrera) It’s the life of a GM. Great one year, bad the next. Nature of the business.
The injuries to Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez were critical. But injuries happen. Teams overcome them. Not this team. Not this year.
When the season comes to a merciful end the details will come to the forefront of what should be an aggressive off-season agenda. The Giants need a lead-off hitter (Gary Brown?) a clean-up hitter, and a shortstop. Or, exactly what they SHOULD have had this year. The pitching is, and will remain, World Series ready for one more year. That’s why the time is now to face reality and not be lulled again into a false sense of security.