Monday, October 29, 2012

Giant Dreams

At some point, the narrative will change.  Right now, the conventional wisdom is that the San Francisco Giants, for the second time in three years, have overcome a superior opponent through a mix of oddball characters and borderline mysticism to capture a World Series championship.  Over time, that will change, and the Giants will be recognized for the historic achievement that they've just completed.  Scoff if you will, but it is now possible to write "21st Century San Francisco Giants" and "Big Red Machine" in the same sentence, without laughing - or even cracking a smile.

They say that nothing is as good as the first time, and there is truth in that statement.  But the magical ride that this Giants team just finished is, in its own way, as good a story as anything the 2010 Giants were able to come up with.  To wit:

- The redemption of Barry Zito.  No, nothing Barry can do will ever justify the amount of money the Giants paid him and the length of the contract they signed him to.  But this was a guy who wasn't even named to the postseason roster in 2010 - and this year he won a game the Giants had to win (Game 5, NLCS), coming up with what may have been the signature moment of the series - his bunt for a base hit when everything was at stake.

- The reincarnation of Tim Lincecum.  The Freak had an awful year, no doubt about it, especially when judged against the standards he set in previous seasons.  Demoted to the bullpen, he became the old Timmy, mowing down batters the way a finely tuned Toro takes care of the wayward grass.  And if he was unhappy about his status, he sure didn't betray that disappointment to anyone.

- The attitude of Hunter Pence.  Since Hunter Pence came to San Francisco in mid-season, he did very little to indicate that he had the ability to start on a major league roster.  The numbers are what they are - and the analysis shows that his effectiveness at the plate was similar to what one might expect of an American League pitcher.  And yet, he will be long remembered by Giants fans as a key contributor to their postseason success.  Call it moxie, call it intangible, call it what you will - he was there every night, getting the players fired up, and it sure seemed to work.

- The awesomeness of Marco Scutaro - What can you say?  When Melky Cabrera went out with his idiotic suspension in August, I just assumed that the season was over, for all practical purposes.  But the Giants went out and got Scutaro, and the man was on fire, it seemed, from the middle of August through the last run of the Series.

And what more can one say about being down 2-0 and 3-1, and coming back like it was nothing more than child's play?

There's no such thing as a bad championship season, but the two that the San Francisco Giants have given their fans in the past three years have been better than good.  They've been better than great.  They've been magical.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Great analysis as always. But what about Brandon Crawford and Vogelsang? Those two are pretty amazing stories also. I can't believe what a great season this has been. Just amazing and magical. All those post season wins with everything on the line; the amazing fielding and pitching. The timely hitting with a new hero or heroes every night. I'm already missing having a game to listen to!!!