Not Gloating, but Wow anyway!

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

Actually the reason not to gloat about the team I’ve loved and followed for 44 years and who has won the World Series three of the last five years is they did it without any help from me. Sure I cheered them on, while having to explain to virtually everyone around here the unlikelihood of a team going 56 years without winning it then suddenly having this amazing run where there’s no reason to believe they can’t do it again, maybe in 2016?

Perhaps this victory was best because Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy appeared to, if there was no actual DEAL with God, at least be blessed with a pitcher who seemed to have an inside track to the Almighty. Madison Bumgarner, who if you added a III or a IV to his name would sound like the name of the guy who inherited the team from his dad, surely not that of an athlete, became the most unhittable pitcher in recent memory. The Royals hitters looked at his withering, blinkless stare from the pitcher’s mound, and said “Yes, I’ll go quietly, sir.”

But Bochy deserves the quicker ticket to the Hall of Fame, just for taking this group that never once during the whole regular season played with their intended line-up, a team whose customary June Swoon lasted until mid-August, and somehow find a way to make them world-beaters. They had to do all of their major winning on the road when statistics dictated it not likely. Their first one-game, loser-goes-home match-up was in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates had won something like 2/3 of their games. Giants 8, Pirates 0. Then came five games against a Washington team with the best record in the league, and who’d won 5 of 7 previous meetings. Didn’t even need the fifth game, as the Giants won three of four. Next up was a St. Louis Cardinal team that they’d played well against, but who’d just decimated the LA Dodgers, beating their Bumgarner equivalent, Clayton Kershaw, twice. Giants took care of them 4 games to 1.

Then up came the Kansas City Royals, who like the Giants had to play the same schedule from bottom of the table, but wound up sweeping every series leading up to this one, and against probably even better teams. They had played three against the Giants during the season, and convincingly won all three. So most of the pundits had the Royals pegged to win it, but no one expected Bumgarner to be THAT good. In the four games the Giants won, there was only one he didn’t appear in, and in that one, the Giants hitters decided to open a can of kick ass, and come from down 4-1 to win the game 11-4. There could well be a rematch of these two teams in the not too distant future.

Again, no gloating, and no need for it. The team played other-worldly this time. Their previous two World Series wins in 2010 and 2012 looked much more certain. I was cautious up to a point in making any predictions about the outcome, though I almost jinxed it by requesting on FB before the sixth game, with the Giants up 3 games to 2, to have someone text me if they win. So of course the 6th game Tuesday was a 10-0 embarrassment, but on Thursday at around 3:30 AM GMT my mobile woke me up with the sound of a text. Then two more, all telling me the news, and shortly after, my brother calling to tell me. It’s a shame I have no way of watching the games here unless I subscribe to some cumbersome TV sports package that only one other person in my house would have even the slightest interest in contributing to. So I can only watch highlights online, which does at least skip over the 2 1/2 hours where nothing happens, unless you like to watch players scratch themselves.

A couple fun facts: This marks the New York/San Francisco Giants franchise’s 8th World Series victory, putting them in a tie with the Boston Red Sox. Ahead are the Philadelphia/Oakland Athletics with nine, including three over the Giants, St. Louis Cardinals with 11, and New York Yankees with 27, five of those against the Giants. This was the first time since 1979 that the 7th game of the series was won by the road team, though few series in recent history have gone all seven games anyway. The team that has won the first game had won the series in 15 of the previous 17, and had the Giants lost, it would have been 15 of 18, with SF holding two of those dubious honors. (2002 vs. Anaheim)

We can quote stats all the way to next season, which opens in a mere, oh, I don’t have a calendar handy, nor do I know the actual opening day anyway. Suffice to say, I’m pleased to have aligned myself with a team I rooted for when they totally sucked and when players would dread being traded here, and would spend entire seasons sulking and counting the days until their contract expired. Who wouldn’t want to play there now?

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