After today's 4-3 win over the San Diego Padres, the Giants will be playing no more baseball during the 2009 season.
They are done, finished, the door shut for good this year.
Yet (while I know I may sound pessimistic in the headline), all in all, this really was a very good Giants season. There was so much to remember:
Pablo Sandoval's breakout, Tim Lincecum's second-straight great season, Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter, Matt Cain's emergence. All those were examples of good stories Giants fans were reminded of on a consistent basis.
And don't forget the best story of all: the Giants going 88-74.
Yes, they didn't make the playoffs. Yes, they tanked in September when they needed to step it up. Yes, Bruce Bochy didn't know how to make a lineup. Yes, Brian Sabean screwed the pooch on the Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko trades. Yes, nobody on this team knew how to take a walk except Sandoval and Fred Lewis.
But you know what? It was still a great season, warts and all.
This was a Giants organization that was coming off four straight losing seasons. This was a Giants organization that was a mess less than a year ago after Barry Bonds left. This was a Giants organization that looked in the dumps after getting swept by the freaking San Diego Padres during the first week of the season.
Did they make the playoffs? No, but Giants fans shouldn't hang their heads completely. We sold ourselves on .500 being a very successful season and we surpassed that and more. At the very least, we should be encouraged by the results of the 2009 season. 2009 showed us that there is some hope for this Giants team, and we're not going through the same old "Kansas City Royals Syndrome" (e.g. always looking forward to the future as an excuse to look past the present).
That being said, the Giants management needs to make some moves. After this year, anything less than the playoffs is a failure. You can't have a season where you win 88 games, and not expect to make the playoffs next year. If the Giants miss the playoffs next year, not only will I be calling for the heads of Brian Sabean and Bochy, but I will think those pessimistic thoughts about this organization that I held back in 2007 and 2008.
But 2010 is still a year away, and if you look at the present, you have to be happy at least somewhat if you're a San Francisco fan. The future is bright...hell...it is more than bright. The Giants are a year ahead of schedule, and that should be causing Giants fans to jump for joy. Seriously, the Royals have been in rebuilding mode for almost a decade. Would you rather be in their shoes?
Then again...this could be a fluke. We've seen it before. The 2002 Royals. The 2007 Mariners. The 2004 Nationals. The 2009 Rays. All were teams that were on the verge of breakout, only to tank the following year.
But you get the feeling this is a different team from those other ones, and with the right moves, this team could be on the verge of being great. Those teams listed above were one-season wonders, and if we looked deeper at the time, we would have realized it at the time as well.
This Giants team, however, has the capability to not be a fluke. If they stay pat, yes, they probably will be a flash in the pan (simply because you can't win consistently with a team that ranks near the bottom in runs, walks and OBP), but not if they make the right trades or signings.
An adjustment here, a big signing there, and well...the Giants could certainly be a team worth watching next year.
Just you watch Giants fans.
2010 can certainly be something special.