Now that the 2012 season is officially over, the San Francisco Giants can start getting back to normal and concentrate on defending their World Series title.
The Giants had to wait until they raised their World Series champion banner, awarded Buster Posey his MVP and handed out championship rings before turning the page to the season at hand. Hard to fault them if they were at less than their best against the St. Louis Cardinals, who dominated the final two games of the three-game set.
The Giants have been nothing but distracted since opening the season. First was all the hoopla about opening against the Dodgers and all the talk about who will rule the National League West. Then, they come home to face another team that will be in the NL playoffs in the Cardinals. Add in all the pomp and circumstance surrounding this past weekend, and I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't fully focused on baseball.
So don't get too worried about the Giants' lack of offense right now. Don't worry that Marco Scutaro is batting under the Mendoza Line or if Pablo Sandoval is too big. All that will work itself out over the next six months. The season is six games old. The Giants have yet to truly get into their routine and, once they do, then you start making assessments.
But let's face it. The main question is and has been for the last several seasons: do they have enough offense? Early returns suggest Giants fans are in for another wild, torturous ride -- one that will feature tough, gritty pitching and (hopefully) clutch offense.
I couldn't help notice during the San Francisco Giants World Series ring ceremony Sunday that the first several players out of the dugout were not members of the 2010 championship team.
Then I started thinking about it. The only two regular position players left from the 2010 World Series team were catcher Buster Posey and third baseman Pablo Sandoval. The other six everyday positions were manned by different players only two years apart.
The one constant between the 2010 and 2012 championship teams is the pitching staff. Four of the five starters were on both teams, as well as a majority of the bullpen. Has there ever been such a budding "dynastic" team that won multiple World Series with a major turnover of the roster? The Florida Marlins come to mind, but they were never mistaken for a dynasty.
I think the coolest thing the Giants organization does during these celebrations is bringing in the team's Hall of Famers -- Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry. Receiving a World Series ring must be a dream come true for the players, but getting to shake the hands of the game's legends has to be a close second.
The Giants players throwing balls into the stands as the first pitch was also cool.
Who are the hottest teams in baseball a week into the season? The Colorado Rockies had won five in a row going into San Francisco Monday night, but the other team riding a five-game winning streak? The Oakland A's, who have outscored the opposition 37-13 during the streak, averaging over seven runs a game.
After losing their first two to the Mariners to open the season, the A's beat Seattle in the back two of the four-game set and then swept the Astros over the weekend -- which is what they are expected to do if they are to contend for the American League West again. At 5-2, the A's have the best record in the American League.
Oakland is due for a test the rest of the month, however. They open a three-game series in Anaheim against the Angels, followed by four against the reigning AL champs, Detroit Tigers. The A's get a breather with another series against the Astros, but then close out the month with a road trip to Tampa Bay and Boston, before coming home to host the Baltimore Orioles and Angels. As a KNBR caller said Sunday, you can't win a division title in April, but you can lose it. The A's won't have to win them all, but they have to be competitive and win more series than they lose.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: email@example.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. He can also be followed on Twitter @CheckkThissOutt.