Livescore Sunday, April 21

The San Francisco Giants opened the MLB season with a new starting left fielder. Again.

For the 18th straight year, the Giants had a new Opening Day starter at left field on Thursday, this time penciling veteran Michael Conforto into the lineup. The Giants dropped the opener 6-4 against the San Diego Padres, but Conforto at least went 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI.

The fun of the Giants’ cursed lineup spot is the man who started it. From 1993 to 2007, the team had one player start all but one Opening Day in left: Barry Bonds.

You might be familiar with what happened after 2007, when Bonds hit free agency and somehow didn’t a team interested in his services despite hitting 276/.480/.565 with 28 homers and an MLB-leading 132 walks the previous season.

Since watching Bonds leave, the Giants have filled left field with a collection of aging veterans and younger, unestablished players, with mixed results.

Here’s the whole group, with why they weren’t starting the next season. Blake Sabol was the starter in 2023, but opened 2024 with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats after being optioned from the big-league squad.

Giants’ Opening Day left fielders since Barry Bonds

  • 2007: Barry Bonds (left in free agency, never played in MLB again)

  • 2008: Dave Roberts (retired the next year)

  • 2009: Fred Lewis (traded next offseason)

  • 2010: Mark DeRosa (benched next season)

  • 2011: Pat Burrell (retired the next year)

  • 2012: Aubrey Huff (option declined, never played in MLB again)

  • 2013: Andrés Torres (left in free agency, never played in MLB again)

  • 2014: Michael Morse (left in free agency)

  • 2015: Nori Aoki (option declined, left in free agency)

  • 2016: Ángel Pagán (left in free agency, never played in MLB again)

  • 2017: Jarrett Parker (released next year)

  • 2018: Hunter Pence (left in free agency)

  • 2019: Connor Joe (DFA’d eight games later)

  • 2020: Alex Dickerson (didn’t start Opening Day next season)

  • 2021: Austin Slater (didn’t start Opening Day next season)

  • 2022: Joc Pederson (moved to designated hitter)

  • 2023: Blake Sabol (optioned to Triple-A next season)

  • 2024: Michael Conforto (TBD)

The streak brings the Giants only one year away from tying the 1937-55 St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles for the longest such streak in the history of MLB, per’s Sarah Langs. That streak was also in left field, which makes some sense given how teams will often rotate players in one of the less important defensive positions.

It will be up to Conforto to break the streak. Given that he is a pending free agent, odds appear slim the Giants will avoid making some very odd history.

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