It’s only been two months since the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, and the team is already being treated with disrespect. In the wake of the Cliff Lee signing, Colin Cowherd
, host of ESPN’s “the Herd” national sports radio show, told listeners that he would bet “$1000 that the Giants do not even make the playoffs this year.” Cowherd extolled the greatness of the Phillies starting four, as well as their success in big playoff games. ESPN’s Buster Olney said
Lee’s signing means that “Philadelphia will go into 2011 as the clear favorite to win the National League,” and that the rotation of Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt is, on paper, “the best rotation we've seen in about 20 years.” Excuse me, but didn’t Tim Lincecum beat Lee twice in the World Series? And didn’t the Giants defeat both of Philadelphia’s Roy’s? And has Matt Cain’s domination of the Phils and Cole Hamels in Game 3 already been forgotten?
East Coast media was shocked by the World Series victory by the San Francisco Giants, and is now acting as if it were a one-time fluke rather than evidence of baseball’s strongest team. Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain may have wowed the baseball world against the Rangers, and Tim Lincecum did beat the supposedly unbeatable Cliff Lee twice, but it is the 2011 Phillies, not the Giants, whose starting rotation is exalted as the best in decades.
Lee Was Never Joining Yankees
The same sports “experts” who picked the Phillies and then the Rangers to easily defeat the Giants all had Cliff Lee going to the Yanks or Rangers.
But the Yanks never had a chance. That’s why they made their sky-high seven year, $148 million deal – they knew Lee would not take it, and this way they can tell their fans they did everything possible to make it happen.
I thought Lee would end up with the Rangers, particularly when an energy billionaire associated with the team entered the negotiations. To show you my mindset, I wanted Lee to go to the Yankees as I saw the Rangers with Lee as a tougher World Series opponent for the Giants next year.
Phillies Not Clear Favorite
How can the Phillies be the “clear favorite” when the Giants are returning virtually the same team that beat them last year, while the Phillies starting lineup is weaker and older? Werth is gone, Rollins is on the decline, Howard was a major playoff disappointment, and the team has no closer anywhere near the ability of the Giants Brian Wilson.
Phillies closer Brad Lidge is not taking a team to the World Series. Brian Wilson did so in 2010, and can do so again.
Cain and Bumgarner are on the rise, while Oswalt and Holladay will be no better in 2011 than in 2010. And if Lee could not beat Lincecum this year, why will 2011 be any different?
The sports world’s reaction to Lee’s signing provides great bulletin board material for the Giants and their fans. Like the Oakland A’s of the 1972-4 era, our Giants know how to win, and, absent injuries, this dynamic will not change in 2011.