SAN FRANCISCO -- Seagulls, in numbers so great you could almost hear
In addition to the half-eaten hot dogs and dropped garlic fries, the birds picked over the detritus of the end of the
The 2004-08 malaise left the Giants with an identity problem, which is to say they have none. Yes, the empty seats are a reflection of the economy, but they also reveal a decided disinterest so far in what the Giants have to sell.
Who are the Giants? It's a great question, especially in their own backyard. Yes, they have the scintillating
What the Giants do have, however, is an opportunity to reestablish an identity, and they can thank
If Ramirez opened a door for the rest of the NL West, the Giants, who entered Wednesday in second place, three games back of L.A., are the ones best prepared to walk through it -- which is saying something about the division considering that San Francisco is the worst-power-hitting outfit in the entire league.
"I saw a series last weekend in which neither team's first baseman has hit a home run this year," one scout said. "
Give the Giants credit. Since Mannywood shut down last week, they have picked up 3½ games on the Dodgers, winning five out of six. Moreover, they have not lost any of their past eight series, winning six and splitting two.
"In some regard things are starting to click for us," left-hander
"It would be great if Griffey is in the lineup," Johnson joked about his former Mariners teammate. (Griffey is 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against the Big Unit.)
What the Giants are doing is not pretty. "We have to grind every day," manager
So if the Giants are going to establish an identity, they will have to do so before Ramirez returns July 3, and it will have to be as a team for which nothing comes easy, in which somehow the sum is greater than the parts. The Giants will have to settle for being scrappy as their strategy. On Monday, for example, they scored a season-high 11 runs without hitting the ball out of the ballpark. They have won as many games without a home run (nine) as with one.
It's a dangerous means of contending. San Francisco, for instance, has zero home runs out of the first base, second base
(Somehow, San Francisco's cross-bay cousins, the Athletics, can't hit a lick, either. Maybe they should send free-agent-to-be
Over the previous four seasons, the NL West is a combined 125 games worse than .500. The past four division champions took first place with 84, 90, 88 and 82 wins, respectively. When the Dodgers were rolling with Ramirez they threatened to change the dynamic of the division, seemingly raising the bar to a win total in the mid-90s. Such a redefinition, however, may no longer be in play.
The Giants might not have much power at the plate or the gate for the time being, but they do have Lincecum and
"Hopefully," Johnson said, "we'll win enough to win the West."