Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on their amazing season. Their postseason run culminated in a victory and sweep of the Detroit Tigers to win their second World Series Championship in three years. The Giants became the first National League club since the 1990 Cincinnati Reds to win the World Series with a sweep. This marks the third time the Giants organization has won a championship via a sweep as they had previously swept their opponents in 1922 (New York Yankees) and 1954 (Cleveland Indians). They refused to give up after losing their closer, their All-Star game MVP and nearly being eliminated in both the NLDS and NLCS. This was truly a special season for the San Francisco Giants.
Photograph courtesy of Christian Acosta
Another big congratulations must go out to Pablo Sandoval as he won the World Series MVP with great defensive play , a .500 batting average for the series and a Game 1 where he hit three homers to etch his name in the history books along with Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols. Along with the award he was given a new Chevy Corvette and will have a field named after him in a city of his choice.
This is a great accomplishment for the Panda after going through so much adversity. In 2009 he had and amazing season personally, in 2010 his numbers were down and although the Giants won the World Series he did not play much of a role that postseason. 2011 saw Pablo return to a similar hitting prowess as he had achieved in ’09 but he would break his hamate bone in each of his hands between both ’11 and 2012. To come back from multiple injuries, constant scrutiny for his weight and off the field accusations are a testament to the man, not just the baseball player that Pablo is.
I am sure you all saw the game, so instead of recapping Game 4 let’s focus on all the wonderful story lines. Personally it felt very different than 2010 in many ways. As a Giants’ fan during the 2010 season each game was filled with hope but there was a feeling that the franchise and city of San Francisco were due to win it all. Having won it two years prior didn’t give 2012 that same feeling like it was something owed. The 2012 postseason felt like it was on borrowed time. Having narrowly escaped elimination twice made it feel like it was almost greedy to think the Giants could win it all again so soon and especially with a sweep. Regardless of how it felt, the postseason seemed divine with cleansing rain, balls hit that seemed to see their way to hits or having and angel in the outfield (Angel Pagan). This year was very special.
I have to wonder if this is how Yankees’ fans felt in 1998 after winning their second championship in three years. That second win came by a sweep that year as well and was the first of the three they would in a row for their three-peat. Year in and year out the Yankees’ fans and organization expect to win it all and end up feeling let down with any finish but a championship. The Giants still have a long way to go to be compared further to the Yankees but I have to wonder if the organization and fans may be headed down a similar path. I remember when making the playoffs made the season feel successful as a Giants’ fan and while I hope the Giants can match the Yankees success, I don’t ever want to have that same year in and year out expectation.
The story of 2010 was the misfit players coming together to make something magical happen but this year was all about redemption. We already talked about the Panda but how about Barry Zito. After years of boos and negative press that he may even consider deserved with the amount of money he is being paid, it was nice to see the guy turn it around when it counted most. Like Pablo he too did not play a role in the Giants 2010 World Series run as he was left off the postseason roster entirely. After his most successful regular season as a Giant he helped the Giants fend off elimination and then bested Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series with his performance on the mound and in the batter’s box.
Ryan Vogelsong and Marco Scutaro were both seen as older players on the outskirts of baseball or as secondary players. Both proved that none would shine brighter as stars when it mattered the most. Vogelsong was the Giants’ best starter this postseason and Scutaro won the NLCS MVP in addition to getting the game winning RBI tonight in Game 4 of the World Series.
After a lost regular season for two time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum in 2012 he was given a shot to start in the postseason and lost. Instead of pouting he was given another opportunity to contribute as a reliever and performed remarkably. In his new role Lincecum went 1-0 with a 0.69 and 17 strikeouts over 13 innings in relief this postseason.
How about the Giants’ 28th round draft pick from 2005 striking out the guy who won the Triple Crown and should win AL MVP this year? Sergio Romo threw five sliders (fabled sliders as Jon Miller calls it now) before throwing an 89 mph four-seam fastball while Miguel Cabrera left his bat on his shoulder watching a called third strike to end the game. Hard to imagine that there were many guys taken ahead of him that year in the draft that the Giants would rather have on the mound at that moment.
This World Series saw plenty of redemption going around in this team effort and although they all bought in to the team mentality it was nice to see so many guys get the credit individually that they were due for sticking to playing a game they had played their whole lives. Congratulations once again to the players, fans and the San Francisco Giants organization on another year to remember.
by Raul Rekow Jr.