Reason #8: Brian Sabean:
The creator of FireSabean.com might want to issue an apology.
When Giants' General Manager Brian Sabean is given enough financial flexibility, he does a nice job fielding a competitive team. How many teams can say they were in a pennant race in September for all but two years between 1997 and 2010?
The Giants were smack in the middle of one from 1997-2006, 2009-2010. Yes, even when they finished well below .500 in 2005 and 2006, they still had a legitimate shot at the play-offs in September.
Although Sabean had some problems bringing in solid players in recent years, 2010 was a good year for him. When the Giants did not have a solidified bullpen, he brought in Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez mid-season to fill that gap. When the Giants were in desperate need of a professional plate approach and power, he acquired Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff from free agency. Not to mention, he brought in Cody Ross for almost nothing.
Don't forget that he also had a hand in assembling the world class pitching staff of Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, and Sanchez, along with selecting Buster Posey.
Sabean should effectively add pieces again in 2011. With the Giants' payroll expecting to reach $120 million, he will have more than enough financially to improve the team if need be, regardless of Barry Zito's big contract.
Reason #9: Bruce Bochy
Just like Brian Sabean, the Giants' manager, Bruce Bochy, was put on the chopping block, and just like Sabean, Bochy turned from goat to hero in 2010.
When given decent pieces to work with, Bochy can assemble a competitive team. In his first years as the Giants' manager, he was given little to work with as far as on-field talent, and hence the losing records. However, once the starting pitching blossomed in 2009, and Bochy was given a strong bullpen with the acquisition of Jeremy Affeldt and the emergence of Brian Wilson, he somehow squeezed 88 games out of the Giants' horrendous 2009 offensive team.
In 2010, the Giants gave Bochy his most-talented team as manager. He had versatility in the bullpen and with his position players. With hitters who could finally give professional at-bats, like Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff, he was able to actually manage and win.
Another one of Bochy's strengths is that he knows how to develop and manage a bullpen, as seen by the 2010 playoffs. Since a strong bullpen is a necessary foundation for any winning team, this is extremely important.
Bochy's immense knowledge of the game should also be mentioned. In 2010, many learned that Bochy is a very sharp baseball man, as shown by the time he helped the Giants win a game at Dodger Stadium when Don Mattingly had to take out Jonathon Broxton because he made two mound visits.
Bochy will be given the same bullpen depth and position player versatility in 2011. As a knowledgeable baseball man, and a former catcher, expect another well-managed season from him.
Reason #10: The Machine
Who is this masked man wearing a bondage outfit? Is it Brian Wilson's neighbor? Is it Pat Burrell in his holiday party getup?
Whoever he is, he was present when the Giants won their first championship in San Francisco, so let's just say he was the Giants' good luck charm in 2010.
The Machine will probably be back for an encore in 2011 to bring the Giants more good fortune. Who knows what surprises he will bring forth?
The mystery that is The Machine will just have to continue into next year.