The New Kings of Baseball: the San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants celebrate winning the 2010 World Series against the Texas Rangers

Congratulations San Francisco, the new Major League Baseball World Champions.  I almost had it right!  San Francisco won the series 4-1, and I was only off by a game.  In fact, I’m amazed that the Giants dominated the series so easily.  The great hitters on Texas‘ roster never seemed to get their timing down against the amazing pitching staff of San Francisco.  In fact, the Rangers hit a measly .190 throughout the series, and after hitting .359 during the regular season, star slugger Josh Hamilton went only 2-for-20.  It’s amazing to think that this group of players did something that Hall of Famer Willie Mays accomplished and star Barry Bonds never could, win the big one.

My best friend is on his honeymoon visiting Napa Valley, and he says the city is going absolutely crazy.  Nothing beats the taste of your first championship, and watching the Giants’ parade on trolley cars should be a lot of fun.  According to ESPN.com, “This buried a lot of bones — ’62, ’89, 2002,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said, ticking off losing Series appearances. “This group deserved it, faithful from the beginning. We’re proud and humbled by the achievement.”

Watching the battle between Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum, I really thought Texas had a shot to extend the series.  Ironically, the game winning RBI came off the bat of Edgar RenteriaDoes that sound familiar?  Granted, it wasn’t in the same dramatic fashion, and his two out, three run home run in the seventh inning was followed up by a shot from Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz shortly thereafter.  However, it was the deciding play of Game 5.  Renteria was named World Series MVP, and he became the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to be the MVP of a World Series while making the final out of another.

Brian Wilson shut down Texas in a perfect top of the ninth, turned his back to the plate, and did his X that he always does after each save.  Wilson picked apart the Rangers just like he had everyone else during these playoffs, striking out Cruz, who had homered just a few innings before, for the final out.  Game, set, match, and party at Alcatraz.

Edgar Renteria holds his MVP trophy, while Aubrey Huff holds the World Series trophy.

I think one of the endearing parts about these Giants are that most of the players were brought up through the team’s farm system.  Young pitchers Lincecum, Bumgarner, Wilson, Cain (who didn’t give up a single earned run during the playoffs), and rookie catcher Buster Posey have never worn any other logo except for the SF they have on their caps right now.  In this age when most teams are built through trades and free agency, these Giants are almost a throwback to “better times.”  Naturally, better is subjective depending on whether or not you prefer teams to try to “buy” a championship.

In 1951 the then-New York Giants’ Bobby Thompson hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”  Radio broadcaster Russ Hodges screamed repeatedly into his microphone, “The Giants win the pennant!  The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”  Now it’s a different time and a different city, but that doesn’t make this any less sweet.  A team that didn’t even qualify for the playoffs until the last possible day of the regular season walks over Atlanta in the NLDS, scrapes by the Phillies in the NLCS, and completely shuts down Texas in the Fall Classic.  It is indeed a Giant achievement.

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