Of Course I’m Ecstatic, Just Not Surprised

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

                It would be wrong to say I’m not immensely proud to be a San Francisco Giants fan. They’ve now won two out of the last three World Series, with their 2010 victory over Texas breaking a 56-year drought. The problem I have is that this victory over the Detroit Tigers via the 4-game sweep seemed almost a foregone conclusion. I’m sure the Vegas oddsmakers had the sucker bets going for the Tigers to sweep. The Giants probably faced tougher opponents in St. Louis and Cincinnati, and with Detroit so quickly dispatching the pathetic New York Yankees, then facing a 6-day layoff, you could imagine momentum would be a problem. The Giants were on a supreme high of having won every game where a single loss would send them home. They played each game with Detroit like it was an elimination game, and the Tigers couldn’t figure out quickly enough how to play the same way. 

                The problem I have now is that in the last decade, the World Series has become a predictable, often one-sided, anti-climactic, dare I say it, bore! If it weren’t The Giants winning it all, I’m sure I’d be a whole lot more critical. From this fan’s perspective, the last Truly Great World Series was in 2002, when The Giants LOST, to Team Disney, aka The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This one lasted the full seven, with most of the games featuring changes of lead, and the overall series advantage shifting several times. Even if he was chemically enhanced, most of Barry Bonds’ confrontations with Angel pitchers were mini-grudge matches, and merely added to the overall intrigue. What subsequent series have lacked is that drama, that sad but notable circumstance when the Giants were 7 outs away from winning in six games, but the Angels battered the Giants’ bullpen, forcing a game seven, which they then won. (Shades of the 1986 series between New York and Boston.) The Giants’ manager Dusty Baker was blamed and subsequently not rehired for 2003. 

                 The 2002 series had the intensity that has been sadly lacking in all but last year’s series between St. Louis and Texas, the only one to go seven games since then. In the 10 series since 2002, there have been four 4-game sweeps and three that went 5 games. For that matter, if you go back 15 years to 1998, the year after the great Florida-Cleveland series that was decided in the bottom of the final inning in the 7th game (as was the 2001 series between the Yankees and Arizona), you add two more 4-gamers and one five-gamer, all won convincingly by The Yankees. This just completed series featured only one instance where Detroit ever held a lead, plus they were shut out twice. Not good for a team that was only shut out twice the whole year.  

                   Unless you were a Giants or Tigers fan (or hater), there was little that would attract the average baseball fan in this series, and it’s not surprising that TV ratings for the series have not been what they used to be. I was bored during the Yankees’ late 90’s run, as I’m sure many would be if the Giants were to achieve that same dominance.

                   However, I can’t deny that I’m overwhelmed by the success this Giants team has had, and am amazed that it’s THESE guys, not the teams of the 60’s that had FIVE future hall-of-famers, that have won the gold. I spent over 40 years rooting for a perennial underdog, a team who’d never brought a championship to San Francisco, whose glory days had been mostly in New York. Now that they’ve won it twice in three years, maybe I and the team can relax a bit. One thing I hope for, other than continued success and more competitive World Series, is that when the Giants, as traditional for any championship team, have to go visit the White House next year, they won’t be guests of President Romney. We can do something to prevent that.   

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