We're a grizzled and tough bunch—we endure. And as we do every year, we San Franciscans looked Old Man Winter in his dead, milky eyes, and dared him to do his worst. And let it be known that for these past three months, he did. Temperatures occasionally dipped into the 50s. Half of Dolores Park closed. Episode 8 of True Detective happened. It rained, like, four times. He tried to put us down but we survived Winter, and now we shall have our reward.
Spring is here and San Francisco Giants baseball is back!
Tonight, at 6:40, the Giants will open their 2014 season in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. Angel Pagan will take the Giants' first at-bat and, for the first time, Madison Bumgarner will take the mound as the opening day starter. Both of those guys have amazing names. The rest of the starting line-up will be:
2. Hunter Pence (RF), starting Year 1 of his sparkling new 5-year contract.
3. Brandon Belt (1B), still smiling after signing his one-year contract with the Giants.
4. Buster Posey (C/1B), who is everything that is right and good about America. Also, for 2014, he's 10-pounds buffer.
5. Pablo Sandoval (3B), who will be playing this year like it's his resume, because, well, it is. Also, for 2014, he's 30-pounds lighter.
6. Michael Morse (LF), he's the new kid in class. Be nice and sit next to him at lunch, ok?
7. Joaquin Arias, (2B), at the start of a new 2-year contract.
8. Brandon Crawford (SS), local boy, good on defense. If he can hit .270, that'd be gravy on a waffle.
New for 2014: In the early 2000's, the A's had three of the hottest pitchers in baseball. One of them, Barry Zito, would later sign a deal with the Giants, which, in retrospect, was robbery. Good for him, though. Well, the Giants now have a second one of those triplets: Tim Hudson. Huddy will round out the rotation of MadBum, Cain, Timmy, and Vogey, and if he doesn't work out, I'm sure General Manager Brian Sabean has Mark Mulder in his contacts list.
Timmy is back. At the end of last season, for most fans, it was a foregone conclusion that Tim Lincecum's career as a Giant was over. Either he'd want to go somewhere else or the Giants would move on from the less-than-stellar version of Timmy we'd seen these past couple years. Well, it turns out Timmy and Giants couldn't quite quit each other. Timmy signed a two-year contract, keeping him in a Giants' uniform through 2015. Whether he'll remain a starter or transition to a reliever remains to be seen. As long as he's wearing our laundry, who cares?
We've heard of Old Man Winter bringing some of our countrymen to heel with "polar vortexes" and "nor'easters" and "snow" and "ice" and "cold." Whatever. Unlike them, we suffer in stoic silence. Water is falling from the sky right now, and we'll only cry a little bit. We endure and our reward is that much richer. Baseball is back, the Giants are back, Brock has a Hello Kitty 2012 Champions T-shirt, and it's an even numbered year so we're World Series bound. Ah, opening day!
P.S. Stick a finger in Winter's eyeball by going to AT&T Park tonight for a free, live telecast of the game. Can a telecast of a game be rained out? I called AT&T Park and they say it's still on, so... grab your umbrella and rain jacket. Gates open at 5:30 PM at Willie Mays Plaza.