Anywhere you went this spring in Scottsdale, all you saw was orange and black. Anywhere you go this season when the Giants are on the road, you see orange and black.
Giants general manager Brian Sabean wasn't just blowing smoke when he said on the conference call to announce the Carlos Beltran trade, "We owed it to the city."
Look, I realize, teams don't just make trades to appease their fans. If they did, the Indians would be moving all their prospects for Ubaldo Jimenez, which is what many of their fans seem to want (even though it would be stupid).
But Sabean, traditionally cautious in moving his top prospects, understands where the Giants stand right now. He realizes that after winning the World Series last year, and with a pitching staff capable of getting them back there this year, this was the time for a bold move.
Sabean hates acquiring rental players, but he understands this is a different situation.
"We're at an interesting point in time," he said Thursday.
Yes, they are. And Sabean understands as well as anyone that it's a general manager's responsibility to read that calendar, and react properly to it.
He understands that the Giants have sold out every home game this season, that they're riding a high and ought to capitalize on it.
When I asked on Twitter the other day whether Beltran was worth a top prospect, given that the Giants could make it to the playoffs with or without him, a Giants fan quickly wrote back, "Back-to-back world champions sounds a lot better than back-to-back division titles."
Beltran doesn't guarantee the Giants anything, but this trade shows Sabean was serious about giving his team its best chance to win.
"Hopefully, this shows that we mean business," he said. "If I was a player, I'd appreciate it. And I think about them."
Sabean isn't necessarily done. The Giants would still love to upgrade, and could do so at any of three spots (catcher, shortstop or center field). But according to sources, nothing is close to hot at the moment on any of those fronts.
That's fine. If the Giants just get Beltran, they're a winner at this trade deadline.
Zack Wheeler, the prospect the Giants gave up for Beltran, is a big "get" for the Mets. But he's also still in Class A.
"It's our job to find another Wheeler, develop another Wheeler," he said.
The Giants have been outstanding at developing pitching, as their strong rotation shows. Dick Tidrow, Sabean's pitching guru, is mostly responsible.
Tidrow assured Sabean that the Giants have enough depth to make up for the loss of Wheeler, The Giants decided they would rather part with a pitcher than a position player.
They knew they wanted Beltran, "the player we coveted all along," according to Sabean.
And they knew the time was right for a move like this.
"We owed it to the city," Sabean said.
And he's right.