I was afraid to believe in it. I have been following the San Francisco Giants since I moved to the Bay Area in 1995. The Giants have been a perennial “maybe next year” team, like my Baltimore Orioles (who last won a World Series in 1983…the year I started college). But this year, the fortunes of my two “orange and black” teams diverged.
This was not the “wire to wire” team of 2003 (that failed to get to the World Series…). Somehow, the 2010 San Francisco Giants did it. They won the World Series. They made us all proud. This year’s San Francisco Giants team has been so much fun to watch, but as some have said, it was torture sometimes. But they managed to win, or lose, together. Every win seemed like it was based on a contribution from someone new.
All the aphorisms about baseball were on display in this World Series. Stuff that frustrates people who don’t love the sport. Like that it’s a game of inches. (I’ve never seen a ball hit the top of a fence and bounce back into play.) Like that good pitching usually beats good hitting. (It’s true…if you don’t get on base, it’s very difficult to score!). That umpires are blind. Seemingly. (The best way to make the umpires irrelevant is to score plenty of runs.) That the most exciting games are low-scoring ones. (I have never seen such good pitching vs. such good pitching!) And so on.
Of course, there were the record-breaking performances you always hope to see in a World Series: Freddy Sanchez with three doubles in one game. Edgar Renteria with two series-winning RBIs (only the fourth person to do that!). More than one Giants pitcher with an ERA about 1.0. A wacky inning where the Giants scored 6 runs in one inning, setting a World Series record. An even wackier inning the very next day, where the Giants broke that record and scored 7 runs in one inning…with the help of an epic fail on the part of the Texas bullpen (to be fair, we didn’t need any of those runs to win that shutout). Speaking of shutouts, before this year’s 2010 Giants, the last team to notch two of them in one World Series was my 1966 Baltimore Orioles (against the hated Los Angeles Dodgers).
I suffered through the coverage on Fox through the whole post-season. The Giants didn’t beat Atlanta. Atlanta lost to the Giants. Same with Philadelphia (a team I never expected us to beat!). Again…Philly lost to the Giants. The Giants didn’t beat them. Oh, no…never! And even today, even after the Giants were up 3 runs to 0, the Giants weren’t beating the Rangers. The Rangers were losing to the Giants.Tim Lincecum’s 10 strikeouts? Some sort of magic spell, maybe.
You don’t win 11 post-season games, against the best teams in the major leagues, without some luck breaking your way, but for heaven’s sake, the Giants out-hit, out-pitched and out-played every opponent in every series. How many threats were killed by key double-plays or clutch fielding? How many games were determined by clutch hitting with runners in scoring position?
Each opponent was stronger than the last. As the Giants said all year, to BE the best, you have to BEAT the best. The San Francisco Giants are, unquestionably, the best baseball team of 2010, by that (or any) metric. I appreciate your indulgence. This last month has been a lot of fun for me.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled whisk(e)y blogging. BTW, as I tweeted after the game, I celebrated with the only single-malt whiskey made here in the Bay Area (that I have): St. George Single-Malt Whiskey, Lot 6. Old Potrero Rye is also made locally, actually in San Francisco, but I don’t have any in the house.
p.s. Even (or maybe, especially) when your team wins the World Series, there is always next year to look forward to. Even more than most years, I can’t wait for Spring Training!
p.p.s. And to the fans of the Texas Rangers: I know what losing feels like. Like most baseball fans, I am much more familiar with losing than winning. There are a million ways to lose but only one very improbable way to win. Your team was dominant this year, and fun to watch. Even if beating you looked easy, I promise you that at least I never took winning for granted. You guys always worried me, until the very last out.
p.p.p.s. Fear the beard. 🙂