The last Giants team to make the postseason comprised aging veteran role players who relied heavily on the exploits of mercurial slugger Barry Bonds. Designed as a team to make one final run at the World Series, that 2003 Giants’ squad won 100 games and captured the National League West Division title, a considerable feat considering its lineup had an average age of 32 years old, making it the grayest unit in the majors.
There was just one problem with that strategy.
The team was bounced unceremoniously in the first round by the Florida Marlins, and, not surprisingly, it took six long seasons before the Giants made it back to the playoffs.
With four talented pitchers under 28 years old, and a rookie catcher with unlimited promise, this year’s Giants squad has a remarkably more youthful look, and many fans think its 2010 playoff run will be the first of many to come.
“I think with their pitching staff, they definitely have a chance to continue this success,” said Chris Berry, a Giants season ticket-holder from Moraga. “And obviously with [catcher] Buster Posey, they have a presence at the bat. If we re-sign [Aubrey] Huff, I really like this team’s outlook.”
Berry’s brother, Dave, also like the Giants chances of being an annual contender, although he said the team could use a little more speed on the basepaths and a more reliable power hitter.
Getting rid of highly paid players Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand so the team can afford to bring in a proven slugger would help, but for now, the Giants have all the pieces for a sustained run at the postseason, said Sherman Louie, a San Francisco resident.
“In the next couple of years, we should definitely be in the running,” said Louie. “The team is good and I think they’re only going to get better.”
Steve Paul, a Giants fan from Berkeley, said there is a selfless quality to this squad that bodes well for the future.
“The team morale just seems high,” said Paul. “You always wonder who the hero will be, and every night it seems a new guy steps up. This team isn’t built around just one player, and I think that’s a good formula for success.”
Buoyed by their team’s remarkable season, one Giants fan even mentioned the big D-word when talking about the squad.
“I think this could be the making of a dynasty,” said San Franciscan Darryl Wong. “They have a really strong young nucleus and some veterans who aren’t too old. You have to like the prospects of this team.”