SFBay photos by Scot Tucker and Godofredo Vasquez
AT&T PARK — The Third Eye Blind lyric “Maybe today we can put the past away” could have been stitched on a banner above the hallway leading into the Club Level at AT&T Park on Friday.
There was no better way of describing how the San Francisco Giants feel about putting their 2013 campaign behind them and getting 2014 underway.
With so much postseason success under their belts, members of the team in attendance at this year’s Media Day were vocal about not liking the precious season’s fate, and being eager to get back out on the diamond.
Relief pitcher Javier Lopez described the feeling:
“You do get that little itch after New Year’s, and you want to get going. I think that’s where everybody’s at right now… I think the (2013) season obviously didn’t go the way we wanted it to. We’ve been talking the last day or so, the guys are anxious to get going.”
After winning two championships in three years, the Orange and Black took — to put it lightly — a skid last season.
Coming off a championship in 2012 only to go 76-86 in 2013? With no postseason berth?
Shortstop Brandon Crawford said it’s understandable that the team is unhappy with their performance:
“We know we have such a good team, and our expectations should be high going into this season.”
So how does a disgruntled team get the new season off on the right foot?
Of course it’s far too early to make predictions about how the team will perform based on their will and want to better their 2013 record. Heck, pitchers and catchers don’t report for another couple of weeks.
But if their was one thing that many players in attendance Friday could agree on, it was that they were going to use the long winter break to their advantage.
Jeremy Affeldt admitted that the longer off-season, while not ideal from a post-season-seeking standpoint, helps everybody rest up and get ready to start the new season off on the right foot:
“We had a longer off-season to prepare correctly, which sometimes with a World Series campaign year shortens that. I think guys feel fresh, I think they feel ready. A bit of excitement about them. And maybe even a fire underneath them from what happened last year.”
It doesn’t hurt that the Giants have continued to maintain a close relationship with their fan base, which helps urge the club to get back to work and hear the roar of the crowd.
Tim Lincecum admitted that the team’s connection with the fans even had a bit of an affect on the deal he penned in the off-season that will keep him in a Giants’ uniform for a few more seasons:
“I feel like the fans will always play a part. They’re the reason why we get so excited for games. It’s because we get to see the fans in the stands, that come out every game and are happy to see us.”
There’s also the anticipation of new additions to the roster to get the team fired up.
While the majority of the championship team is still together, signings of pitchers Tim Hudson and David Huff and long ball hitter Michael Morse give the rest of the team confidence.
Starter Matt Cain said of bringing the new players in:
“I think (the Giants) did a good job of bringing in pieces that we needed with what we already had. The guys that they’ve added, with Morse and with Hudson and with Huff, they did a really good job of adding guys that they think would fit in with the rest of the team. And I think that’s going to show and that we’re going to have a lot of fun out there.”
Once the season kicks into gear, it’s really going to come down to doing whatever it takes to getting back to that “2012” mentality, George Kontos explained:
“I think we just have to go about our business the way we always do. The things that didn’t go our way in 2013, we know we have to do our best to work hard, and keep doing the little things right to make sure they fall our way this year.”