COMMENTARY | Prior to 2010, San Francisco Giants fans were experts on disappointment. Not just the regular kind of disappointment, mind you, but the soul-crushing kind that stuck with you for years and years and years. And years.
Coming up with three examples of the most disappointing Giants teams was tough, but this is a decent sample. The first two represent teams that disappointed based on their preseason expectations, while the third one is more of the soul-crushing variety I mentioned earlier. Always fun to remember those!
Coming off of their first World Series win since moving west, the Giants entered the 2011 season with dreams of going back-to-back. The core of the 2010 team returned to defend their title, and there was hope the Giants' mixture of dominant pitching with just enough offense would work again. The Giants did well enough, even weathering Buster Posey's horrific season-ending injury to remain in contention through late July.
They added Carlos Beltran and Orlando Cabrera at the trade deadline, but those acquisitions proved futile. Beltran missed time with an injury, Cabrera was awful, and the Giants completely collapsed in August. Their plan of sticking with the same players the previous year didn't work, either, as Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Andres Torres and others struggled to match their 2010 numbers. The high of the World Series championship didn't last very long, and 2011 remains one of the most disappointing seasons for the Giants in recent memory.
The Giants had fielded contending teams since 1997, and heading into 2005 there was hope they'd be able to build on a 2004 season that saw them come within a game of making the playoffs. The Giants had added Omar Vizquel, Mike Matheny, and Moises Alou over the offseason and hoped each one would make an impact, especially Alou, who was being counted on to protect Barry Bonds in the lineup.
Unfortunately, nothing went right for the Giants. Injuries limited Bonds to just 14 games in '05, the offense disappeared, and the Giants limped to their first losing record since 1996. It started a streak of four straight losing seasons and also marked the beginning of the end of Bonds' Giants career. It was a harsh wake-up call for the Giants, who realized they had to move away from filling the roster with aging veterans and concentrate on rebuilding from within. Eight straight years in contention had conditioned Giants fans to expect good things, and 2005 destroyed those expectations.
How could a 103-win team be disappointing? Easy: when another team in the division wins 104 games and the wild card didn't exist yet. The '93 Giants were a fun team, led by Bonds, Will Clark and Matt Williams plus dual 20-game winners John Burkett and Bill Swift. They battled the equally hot Atlanta Braves down to the last game of the season, only to be blown out by the Dodgers and finish a game out of first place. It was a huge disappointment for a fan base that hadn't yet seen a World Series championship in San Francisco.
The '93 Giants were of the best teams in baseball history to miss the playoffs, and many Giants fans to this day believe that team was good enough to have won it all. The fact that they didn't even get the chance to play in the World Series is still disappointing. You might even say, soul-crushing.
Dave Tobener is a San Francisco Bay Area-based writer who's written about the Giants for the better part of a decade. His work has appeared on numerous sports websites, including Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew. You can follow him on Twitter @gggiants.
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