In an article that appeared last week on ESPN.com, Peter Gammons provided a list of 20 players whom respondants to an informal straw poll described as candidates for a breakout season. The list, derived from a survey of major league executives, included a mix of pitchers and hitters, five-tool talents and makeup guys, united only in their ability to tease hibernating fantasy leaguers into dreams of greener days ahead.
If one needs any reminder that lists like these are little more than a grownup’s version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, it’s worth reviewing a similar list that Gammons produced last year.
I grew up going to Mariners games, but while visiting family in San Francisco, I always enjoyed seeing a good team play outdoor baseball in Candlestick. I loved the Giants teams from 1985-1993. They played in the sun, they were young and good, and people came out to see them, all of which made for a dramatic difference in the amount of fun I had. While I still follow the team, I’ve never been as big a fan since 1993. Because after the 1993 season, when the Giants were the best team ever to not make the post-season, Will Clark wanted to stay in San Francisco, and it didn’t happen.