Reason #4: The Decent Defense, Led by Buster Posey
On paper, the Giants look less than spectacular on defense in 2011. In fact, one might say the Giants are full of defensive liabilities with Pat Burrell in left field and Aubrey Huff at first.
Although the Giants lack the range of a good defensive team, the Giants catch the balls they can get to and make all the routine plays. In 2010, they made only 73 errors, the fourth lowest in Major League Baseball. For a pitching staff who led all of baseball in strikeouts in 2010, the defensive liabilities will become less exposed anyway.
The only three clearly above-average defensive players on the Giants are Freddy Sanchez, Andres Torres, and Buster Posey. Torres' speed and excellent range is a big plus at AT&T Park, especially with the big right-center field. Sanchez also picks it at second-base, as he showed throughout the 2010 playoffs.
Somebody who has really separated himself defensively is Buster Posey. With his cannon arm, and his impressive ability to handle a World Series-winning pitching staff, he will surely win his fair share of gold gloves.
It is no secret that Pablo Sandoval struggled defensively in 2010. However, if he continues to lose weight this offseason and gets his act together, he might be less of a liability at third base in 2011. The extra weight not only affected his range, but it had a clear effect on his throwing, compared to 2009.
If the Giants can catch the ball like they did in 2010, 2011 might bring forth another championship in San Francisco.
Reason #5: The Team Chemistry
Some say team chemistry is overrated, but the Giants will probably tell you otherwise.
Even after tough losses, the Giants would come back the next night in high spirits, leaving behind whatever woes that happened the previous night. In baseball, this is extremely important. A player must have a short memory because he might just be out there the next night in a key a situation.
What helped the Giants keep their chin up from day to day?
Staying positive is much easier in a clubhouse where everybody is getting along. Like in any sport, a team that sticks together will prevail in the end. As cliche as it sounds, the togetherness of the Giants allowed them to bounce back after tough losses all season long. They had just the right juju to get them through 162 games.
With Juan Uribe gone to the rival Dodgers, a prominent clubhouse figure, the Giants replaced him with the best possible alternative, Miguel Tejada. The Tejada signing showed that the Giants know the importance of clubhouse chemistry. Not only is Tejada a veteran leader, he also can have a prominent influence on the Latin players on the Giants, particularly Pablo Sandoval, who he said he was going to keep in contact with throughout the offseason.
With the 2010 championship team mostly kept in tact, expect a similar clubhouse vibe to last year.
Reason #6: Fan Support
It has been a tough road for Giants fans, waiting since 1958 for their Giants to win a championship in San Francisco, but it finally happened, largely because of their support.
In years past, it seemed like Giants fans just about gave up. Even when the rival Los Angeles Dodgers came to AT&T Park, the stadium would be seemingly half-full of Dodger blue, but 2010 did away with all that.
From the first pitch to the last out, Giants fans were always on their feet. They did not cheer after strike three happened, but they cheered before strike three happened. During the play-offs and the final three regular-season games of 2010, they waved their rally towels, blanketed the ballpark in orange, and roared in anticipation for their hometown Giants.
They made songs that encouraged the Giants and their loyal fans to "Don't Stop Believin," even when things looked bleak. They were even celebrities like Rob Schneider, Robin Williams, and Steve Perry.
Because of the fine efforts of Giants fans from all across the country, they gave a helping hand in this 2010 championship season and are expected to do the same in 2011 and beyond.
The last 4 are coming next!