I will admit that I am utterly shocked. Quite frankly, I am dumbfounded. Anybody in the baseball world who says that they are not surprised is lying to themselves. Who in April saw this coming? Who even at the beginning of October saw this happening?
As a Red’s fan, I will state, the Giants were the first round opponent I wanted to play. I definitely did not want to play the 2 time defending NL Champion Phillies. And I also really wanted to avoid the Braves. Memories of the vicious sweep the Braves laid on the Cincinnati boys in the 95 NLCS still linger.
The Giants have always been known for having the player who hit “The Shot Heard Around the World.” I am of course referring to Bobby Thomson’s infamous blast to clinch the pennant over the rival Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951. Since this mythical shot, the Giants have been simply an afterthought on most people’s baseball radar. Which makes no sense at all.
Did you know that the Giant’s Franchise has won more games than any other American baseball team? Or how about that the Giants have won more games that any other North American professional sports team? This proud franchise has now won 6 World Series titles, and 21 NL Pennants. Yet when people think of San Francisco in this era, names like Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Jerry Rice come to mind. Even though their football team has struggled since Young’s retirement, not to many people have identified the Bay area city as a baseball town.
The Giants picked up and moved from New York in 1958. Since this “move heard around the world,” the Giants have brought home 4 pennants, and finally a World Title. This was San Francisco’s first taste of the playoffs since the 2003 steroid filled clubhouse.
Now I realize that this team went 14 games over 500 last year. I realize that they have arguably the best picture in the game in Tim “Wild Thing” Lincecum. But I still did not see enough pop in their lineup to even sniff the playoffs this year. Boy did the Giants prove me wrong.
The Giants spent move of the season in the upper middle class of the National League in most offensive categories. They were 7th overall in Batting Average. 9th in Runs scored. And 6th in Home Runs. Yet they found a way to win 92 games and shock San Diego in the West. And let’s make this entirely clear, had San Diego not had one of the worst meltdowns in NL History, San Francisco most likely would not have made the playoffs (or they would have snuck into the Wild Card Spot). But kudos to this Giant’s team for not showing any quit. They were 3 games out heading into September. They used the key Fall month and overtook the 1st place Padres. Then the bats really came alive in the postseason. Paced by the bats of Cody Ross, Buster Posey, and Edgar Renteria, the Giants busted out 12 HRs and 53 RBIs in postseason play. It also should be known that Edgar Renteria is starting to appear to be Derek Jeteresque. A new possible Mr. October?
This squad’s bread and butter all year though was amazing pitching and defense. They say lacking fundamentals will shoot you in the foot. Well demonstrating fundamentals can also go a long way towards winning. This team had the best ERA in the National League at 3.36 behind the 3 headed monster that is Lincecum, Cain, and Sanchez. Not to mention they had arguably the best closer in the League in Brian Wilson, shutting the door on 48 games this season (6 in the postseason). And talk about a team that played great defense all year. They were tied for the highest fielding percentage in the National League and committed the 2nd least errors.
I will admit I overlooked this San Francisco team. Sometimes people fail to notice a team that is playing great fundamental baseball that you do not get to watch on a nightly basis. San Francisco never got much attention all year. And believe me, they were just fine flying under the radar. They are not the Yankees, the Phillies, the Rays, or the Red Sox. They are the San Francisco Giants.
A team that now has 6 World Series and has the most wins of any professional sport’s team in North America. Kudos to the Giants on playing great fundamental baseball all year-long.
So what if the 49ers are choking a big one this year. The San Francisco Giants are the World Series Champions.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.