Okay, here's an anaology: You know how sometimes you fall in love with a television show and you watch the whole thing? Then you talk about it nonstop to your friend, but they don't seem very interested. "No, I swear," you keep saying. "If you just give it a chance, you will love it. I promise you."
So you keep talking it up and talking it up and finally your friend consents to watching it with you. So you're all jazzed and you pop in the first episode and it fires up and suddenly you realize something: the first episode isn't actually that good. But you know where all this is headed and you know that if your friend can make it through the first episode, everything will be great. So you keep casting glances at your friend the whole time, trying to make things more entertaining than they are, hoping that something is hitting home with your friend, but you can tell that they're not impressed at all. When the episode wraps up, your friend gives you a halfhearted, "Eh. It was okay." That feeling you get, when that episode begins? That's Barry Zito.
Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area recently posted a column about how the Giants have no choice but to put their faith and trust in Barry Zito and just hope he can eat up enough innings and allow few enough runs to be useful to the team. It's the same tactic they employed when Zito was the new ace, when Zito was the new No. 2 starter, the new No. 3 starter, all the way down to 2012 where he's holding down the butt-end of the rotation. The Giants have too much money invested in Zito (I don't know whether you've heard about his hefty contract before) and no real prospects waiting in the wings to take over as the No. 5 guy. Eric Surkamp isn't quite ready to fill that role and the Giants traded their top minor-league starter for three months of Carlos Beltran.
But to get back to the analogy, imagine if you were trying to show someone the Giants for the first time, but the first chance you had to show them a game was a Barry Zito start. You'd feel that same sense of creeping dread. The "oh no they're not gonna like this at all!" The "they're gonna think the whole thing is like this!" And of course, the "they don't understand how good this gets later!" Of course, that's making the big assumption that the 2012 Giants are going to get good later.
I guess we're all hoping that Zito can have a resurgent year. He makes his first start on Monday in Coors Field, so in keeping with the analogy, you might want to keep your new-to-the-Giants friends away from this one. We'll be wishing for a Buffy-season-two performance out of Zeets, but it's likely to be real, real ugly. I'm talking more like a Buffy-season-seven performance.