This Title for Giants Who Missed Out
Oh, and while one key slugger wished to be a rodeo clown, another spent the playoffs wearing a red thong.
They completed their five-game World Series slaughter of the Texas Rangers on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark with names such as Torres, Uribe and Huff instead of Mays, McCovey and Bonds.
Actually, this makes total sense.
Thus a thought: Is everybody not named the New York Yankees paying attention to what just happened here involving the self-proclaimed castoffs and misfits of the San Francisco Giants?
"Sometimes we had good teams with the great Giants. Sometimes the team (with those players) was not as great," said Felipe Alou, among the stars for those early Giants, who were loaded with Hall of Famers soon after they moved to the West Coast in 1958 from New York. They never won it all, which is why Alou added, "A team isn't necessarily great, because you have a lot of great players. This (Giants) team is a team."
It has to be, because the Giants did on Monday night against Texas what they've done all season. They won by depending on everybody -- at least, theoretically. Which means you should ignore the fact that Edgar Renteria was crowned World Series MVP courtesy of his .412 batting average, six RBI and two home runs, including one that produced all of the Giants' runs in their 3-1 victory.
There is outfielder Cody Ross, for instance, who dreamed of becoming that rodeo clown as a youth. He was claimed by the Giants in August on waivers from a dreadful Florida Marlins bunch. So he said, while grinning through champagne-soaked eyes, "If somebody would have told me (earlier in the year) I was going to be hitting fourth in Game 5 of the World Series, I would have said, 'Where's Vegas?' "
Maybe Vegas is in the heart of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who kept rolling the dice on lineups and never hitting snake eyes.
In Game 4, Bochy had Aubrey Huff batting third as the designated hitter, and Huff slammed an early two-run homer that propelled the Giants to a 4-0 victory. Then, in Game 5, Bochy had Huff at first base batting sixth. It was a classic pitching duel between Rangers ace Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum, owner of that terribly long hair for the Giants.
But here's the point: with the score tied at 0-0 in the top of the seventh, the Giants opened with back-to-back singles, and Bochy had Huff do something that Huff hadn't done all year -- attempt a sacrifice bunt.
It worked ... of course.
Even though it was irrelevant due to Renteria's home run, you get the picture, and it's a Giant one with a team focus.
"This is special, man, and I can't believe this happened," said Huff, your classic journeyman, who didn't make the Giants the fifth team of his 10-year career until before this season. He was the wearer of that red thong for good luck, by the way, which the Giants owned throughout the postseason, mostly because they kept creating it.
Added Huff, with tears flowing through the bubbly, "I always try to be a bad ass. I'm losing it right now, but I really don't care."
Speaking of care, nobody among these Giants cared about who was the chosen one of the moment. Despite just three at-bats during the World Series, Pablo "Panda" Sandoval was among those leading the cheers when the world championship trophy was paraded around the clubhouse.
A team philosophy is fine, but pitching is better. And the Giants had a slew of prolific starters and the excellence of closer Brian Wilson with his noted facial hair around northern California. In the end, a Texas team that led the major leagues in hitting finished with a .190 batting average in the World Series. The Rangers also were shut out twice.
Not coincidentally, the Giants' pitching was complemented by a defense that finished the regular season with the highest fielding percentage ever (.988) for the team in San Francisco.
The combination produced a world championship that wasn't just for these San Francisco Giants, but for their ancestors who either choked the thing away or had something weird happen in pursuit.
"Yeah, I mean, there's never been a (baseball) championship in San Fran, and all the players who ever played here, dating way back. Just think about all of those guys," Ross said. "I know they're all smiling down and happy for us, and all of the past players. This is just as special for them as it is for us, because they wanted this."
Remember the earthquake?
Those Giants didn't win the 1989 World Series. To the chagrin of the National League chauvinists on the west side of the bay, the Oakland Athletics did.
There also was Anaheim, where the Giants suffered a World Series collapse for the ages. "We were so close in 2002 with the lead late in that game, and it disappointed the fans," said Alou, now a special assistant for the Giants after once managing the team. He shook his head over his reference to Game 6 back then, when the Giants were eight outs shy of a world championship with a 5-0 lead.
Can you say Rally Monkey? The Giants dropped that game to the Angels, and they also lost Game 7.
Nothing chews at the soul of San Francisco baseball fans more than 1962, though, when the Yankees were on the verge of having that particular version of their dynasty end on a Willie McCovey swing. It was Game 7 of that World Series at Candlestick Park, and the Giants had the tying run at third, the winning run at second and McCovey crushing a pitch harder than he said he ever did so before.
With help from the Candlestick winds, Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson made the catch without leaping.
McCovey said the memory still haunts him.
The same goes for Alou.
For one, Alou's brother, Matty, led off that ninth with a single, but Felipe was one of the next two batters who struck out before Willie Mays' two-out double sent Matty Alou to third. Then came McCovey's game-winning single to left that wasn't.
Said Felipe Alou, speaking softly in the visitors clubhouse at Rangers Ballpark after Sunday's game, "I could not advance (Matty) over ... So when Willie Mays hit the double with two outs that didn't score Matty, it was one of the sore spots of my career -- of my life, really. But if (the Giants) win, maybe I will forgive me a little bit."
Well, courtesy of the Giants' win due to "team," you now may forgive yourself a lot, Felipe.
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Check out scenes from the aftermath of the Giants' long-awaited championship: