Monday, October 29, 2012

Friday Baseball Post -- World Series Champs Edition

The San Francisco Giants, World Series Champs. I could get used to this!

Just two quick comments or so, since it's late and I suppose sooner or later I'll realize that it's Sunday night and tomorrow is Monday morning...

First: the biggest surprise to me in 2010 was how the feeling stuck all year. Not even just all winter, but all through the next season, the Giants weren't just the Giants; they were the World Series Champion Giants. Of course I never really suspected that it would be anything more than an exception year; even with all the very legitimate young talent on that team, who could have guessed it would happen again so soon?

The second thing...I made the 2010 team a comp for the Miracle Mets. Came out of nowhere, featuring young, great, homegrown pitching, and then a lot of misfits and castoffs who all came together and had a magical run. For fun, both teams won the World Series as underdogs against great teams, and both in five games.

This year's comp? And I haven't said anything about it to anyone until now because I firmly believe in jinxes, but even before the WS started I've had it firmly in my mind that the comp is the 1954 Giants. OK, it's not all perfect, but...In both cases, the team recently had a miracle pennant (two years ago this time, three years ago and losing the WS the other time). In both cases, the miracle pennant run was sparked by a rookie call-up...and the the rookie disappeared during the interim season(s) -- injury in one case, military service in the other -- only to return with an MVP year. Both were underdogs in the World Series, and of course as it turned out they both finished with sweeps.

I could say plenty more, but as I said it's late. Maybe I'll write more about them later. But I will say one more thing...this team really should be legendary. So many amazing stories. Zito and the Panda, back from where they were in the 2010 WS. Lincecum, redeeming a painful season. Madison Bumgarner, seemingly completely lost, so much so that he was dropped from the rotation, magically fixed in time for a brilliant start. Speaking of brilliant starts: everything about the Ryan Vogelsong story is amazing, but he too appeared totally worn down in September, only to snap back to the best version of himself in October. Marco Scutaro, absolutely unreal. And Pence. And Posey. Really  -- I know every winning team has stories, but this one seems to me to have far more than it's share.

So congrats to the team, and thank you to the team. For all of us Giants fans, just a wonderful, wonderful feeling.

2012 World Series Champions.


  1. You firmly believe in jinxes?

    That must be a bit awkward at sabermetric church services.

  2. Verlander laid an egg an Game 1 and I blame Kate Upton 100%. It's the only logical conclusion.

  3. You didn't eve mention the Melky Cabrera story - team loses the player who had been its MVP for the first two-thirds of the season, then doesn't even want him back for the World Series, which they win anyway. I don't think there's any parallel for that.

    1. Yup, true enough. Remember the great Bill James one about the Padres and how they decided that someone -- can't remember who, just now -- wasn't good enough for them, and how that's one thing that's sure to be punished? Not this time.

      I really wonder what would have happened if Melky's suspension had ended on September 1, instead of effectively after the first playoff round.

    2. Tim McCarver at one point said, "There is no reason to have Melky Cabrera on this roster." I wasn't convinced, but then he added, emphatically, "NONE." And that convinced me.

      The Giants bench was so thin they had Hector Sanchez and Ryan Theriot starting at DH. I guess that worked out for them, but if it hadn't, it would have looked awful silly not to have Melky there.

  4. Congrats to the Giants. I do envy you, 2 championships in 3 yrs to celebrate. Hopefully one day my Braves will actually turn up and play in the post-season. Enjoy the offseason. Oh and another thing, this now makes the NL winning 4 of the last 5. So much for AL dominance.

  5. Speaking of the Braves, I still have warm feelings about that 1995 championship, so I'm not surprised you felt good about 2010 all of 2011. Aside from Yankees' fans (grr), most fans only experience their team winning a title once every few decades. When it does happen for your team, savor the moment as long as you can.

    1. Yup -- 30 teams, so no one is really overdue until 30 years have passed.

      Which is a seriously undervalued reality, and the one good argument I'm aware of for keeping league size relatively small (although I don't think it's a winning argument, especially if they can't find a way to make minor league play meaningful).

  6. This isn't a comp, but it is a lesson, and an old one: In the end, especially in a short series (or a set of short series), starting pitching is still the key to success.

    On a related note, WHY do managers insist on using a 4-man rotation in the WS? Game Four is always the most crucial game -- when it is over, either the series is over, it is tied, or one team is up 3-1. Is that really the game you want your number 4 pitcher starting, rather than your #1 guy, even on short rest?

  7. Congratulations JB. That's one satisfying team. And more richly deserved kudos for good-guy Bochy.

  8. I thought this year's Giants was a more entertaining team to watch than 2010--that team really was Agony. The 2012 team reminded me in style of play to the first team I followed as a kid, the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates--moving up the runners, double-plays,fundamental baseball--but even more so, with the fielders positioned according to where the pitch was supposed to go. Anyway, it was great baseball to watch for the last month of the season and through the postseason.

    My beef however is with ESPN and the announcers who kept saying last night that the Giants had clinched the world championship. "Clinched" has a specific meaning, or it used to: if you were 10 games ahead and there were 9 games to play in the season, you had clinched. If a first place football team could not be mathematically dethroned by another team in the division with games that would be played, they clinched.

    But when you win 4 games in the World Series and it is therefore over, you have WON, not clinched.


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