Results tagged ‘ World Series ’
The San Francisco Giants will raise the banner on Friday at their home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Now the question is “Who will raise the banner?”
In 2011 — when the Giants also played their home opener against the Cardinals — reliever Brian Wilson took the honor of hoisting the World Series flag at AT&T Park.
While Wilson played a vital role in the 2010 championship, it should be pointed out that when the Giants opened the 2011 season, the 2010 World Series MVP (Edgar Renteria) was playing for the Reds. And the 2010 NLCS MVP (Cody Ross) was on the disabled list.
So on Friday, when the Giants hoist their 2012 World Series banner, the candidates for the honor are numerous. The Giants have been tight-lipped on who will get the honor and exactly how the act will be performed.
One thing we can say for certain: It won’t be Brian Wilson. Wilson was last seen shopping at a Southern California mall in a ketchup-stained T-shirt.
So who is it going to be? Well, here’s MoreSplashHits’ list of the top-ten candidates. (more…)
This is for all the people who predicted the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the NL West last spring.
This is for all the people who said the Giants were finished with Brian Wilson was lost for the season.
This is for all the people who said the Dodgers were the team to beat in the NL West after building a 7.5-game in late May.
This is for all the people who said Pablo Sandoval didn’t deserve to be an All-Star (yeah, were talking to you Sandy Alderson. By the way, thanks for Angel Pagan).
This is for all the people who said the Giants couldn’t win with Tim Lincecum posting a 5+ ERA.
This is for all the people who said trading for Marco Scutaro was a sorry excuse for answer to the Dodgers’ acquisition of Hanley Ramirez.
This is for all the people who said the Giants were REALLY done after Melky Cabrera was suspended.
This is for all the people who said the Dodgers were AGAIN the team to beat after trading Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, et al. (How far behind the Giants did they finish?)
This is for all the people who said the Giants were done after falling behind 0-2 to the Reds in the NL Division Series.
This is for the people who said the Giants were done after falling behind 1-3 to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series.
This is for all the people who said the Tigers were the CLEAR favorite over the Giants in the World Series.
This is for all the people who said the Giants should give up on Pablo Sandoval, Barry Zito, Brandon, Belt, Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence.
This is for all the people who called the Giants 2010 World Series title a fluke.
The Giants are up 3 games to none in the World Series, which is better than 2-1 and certainly better than being down 1-2 or 0-3.
But nothing is certain. And the Giants don’t need to give the Tigers a spark.
So here are 10 good reason why the Giants need to finish this TODAY.
NO. 10 — The 49ers play on Monday night.
San Francisco fans don’t need dueling sporting events. If the Giants don’t win Sunday, they would play at 5:07 p.m. Monday with the 49ers kicking off vs. the Cardinals at 5:30 p.m. in another key NFC West matchup. So, c’mon Giants, let’s clear the schedule for the 49ers.
NO. 9 — No double-dip mojo
MoreSplashHits follows three sports teams in the fall: the San Francisco Giants, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oregon State Beavers. We haven’t been able to get two wins on the same day this October. On Saturday, Oct. 6, the Beavers beat Washington State, but the Giants lost to the Reds. The next day, the 49ers buried the Jets, but the Giants lost again to the Reds. On Oct. 13, the Beavers beat BYU, but the Giants were off. The next day, the 49ers lost to the N.Y. Giants, and the Giants lost to the Cardinals (a bad day). The following Thursday, the 49ers beat the Seahawks, but the Giants lost to the Cardinals. The next Saturday, the Beavers beat Arizona, but the Giants were off. And yesterday, the Giants beat the Tigers, but the OSU lost to Washington. The Giants and 49ers would both play Monday if the Giants don’t seal the deal Sunday. So, Giants, seal the deal.
NO. 8 — Cain Day is Clincher Day
The Giants are up 3-0 and they haven’t even thrown their ace. It can’t work out much better for the Giants. Plus, Matt Cain was on the mound when the Giants clinched the NLDS vs. the Reds. He was on the mound when they clinched the NLCS vs. the Cardinals. He’s out there again.
NO. 7 — Max Scherzer is on the mound
While the Giants throw out their ace, the Tigers counter with their No. 4 pitcher. Yes, Scherzer has a postseason ERA under 1.00, but he’s also been battling a shoulder issue. This should be the Giants’ big opportunity to score some runs.
NO. 6 — I’ve got stuff to do Monday
My schedule is clear Sunday to watch the Giants … and celebrate. On Monday, there are things to do, places to be. I don’t want to watch the Giants on the DVR Monday. Win this today
NO. 5 — History says they should win today.
Of the 23 teams to go up 3-0 in a best-of-seven World Series, 20 have gone on to clinch in Game 4. The three others won in Game 5.
NO. 4 — The weather
Sunday’s forecast is good in Detroit. But rain creeps in the picture on Monday with 40 percent chance of PM showers. If those showers are heavy and persistent enough to postpone the game, rain is in the forecast all day Tuesday, and it remains in the forecast in some form Wednesday and Thursday.
NO. 3 — Verlander
The Giants tagged Justin Verlander in Game 1. The odds of a repeat are long. Yes, they beat Cliff Lee twice in 2010, but the second game was much tougher than the first.
NO. 2 — Barry Zito
Zito has been very, very good his last two starts. The Giants have won his last 14 starts. Do we really want to temp that mojo? Something has to give eventually, and I’d rather that happen next April.
NO. 1 — Champagne is way better the Alka-Seltzer
Giants fans have endured enough stress and angst, not only this postseason, but the entire season. We don’t need more stress. Not sure we can take it. A party is ready to happen. LET’S DO THIS NOW!!!!!!!
There was a frightening play in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday.
In the second inning, the Giants’ Gregor Blanco hit a liner back up the middle that hit off the top of pitcher Doug Fister’s head and fell in front of center fielder Austin Jackson for a single.
The Tigers’ training staff rushed out to check on the Detroit pitcher, who appeared to be fine. Still, they asked him the usual questions.
Where are you at?
“San Francisco. Game 2.”
What inning is it?
What the hell was Gene Lamont thinking by sending Prince Fielder home on that double to left?
“I have no idea.”
Yep, he’s fine.
In game in which there were several key plays, the play in the top of the second loomed as the largest.
To set the scene: Fielder was on first base with no one out. Dmitri Young laces a double inside the third base bag. Blanco played the ball off the wall near the Giants bullpen as Lamont waved Fielder home.
From there, everything went perfectly for the Giants. Blanco hit cut-off man Marco Scutaro, Scutaro threw a strike to catcher Buster Posey, Posey applied a quick sweep tag to the sliding Fielder and umpire Dan Iassogna made a great — and correct — out call.
And while it took a perfect play to get Fielder, the decision to send him home was still questionable.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland called the decision “over-aggressive.” Even Lamont had second thoughts.
“If I had to do it over,” Lamont would say later, “I would have held him.”
That would have been the right call. It would have put runners on second and third and no outs — against a pitcher who had struggled in his previous two outings. And as the Giants would later show, you don’t need a hit to score a run.
But Lamont wasn’t totally at fault. On the slide at home, Fielder’s lead leg went right over the plate, and the first contact he had with the plate was his bent sliding leg, giving Posey a split-second more to apply the tag.
And then there was on-deck hitter Jhonny Peralta, who must have been too busy pondering why his first name is spelled the way it is to get into proper position to alert Fielder that the throw was coming to the inside of the plate and his slide should have been wide.
In a tight game, it’s the little things that can prove to be big.
And some good luck helps, too. Someone upstairs must like the black-and-orange.
The Tigers thought they got some good luck when Omar Infante’s bouncer into the hole at short handcufffed Brandon Crawford for an infield. Then, the luck changed.
Miguel Cabrera hit a rope to third base that was snagged by Pablo Sandoval. Then Fielder hit a shot to left that in many ballparks might have been a home run. In AT&T, it was a warning-track fly out.
Then in the seventh, the Giants started a rally with a single by Hunter Pence, who has been in a major funk at the plate this postseason. After Fister was lifted for lefty Doug Smyly, Brandon Belt worked a walk.
Blanco came up to bunt the runners over. After working the count to 3-1, Blanco dropped a bunt that traveled 40 feet along the dirt between the grass and the third-base line for an infield hit.
“I was joking with Roberto Kelly when I got to first base, ‘We practiced that today,’” Blanco said. “That was a perfect bunt. I wasn’t really trying to do that. I think it was just meant to be and I’m thankful that I did it.”
Was it his best bunt ever?
“It has to be,” Blanco said, “and I think the best at-bat of my career, too.”
With the bases loaded and no one out, Leyland decided to play the infield back. He got the double-play ball he was looking for from Brandon Crawford. But it allowed Pence to score the game’s first run.
In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases on walks to Angel Pagan, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey, giving Giants fans visions of the walk-aided seven-run eighth inning in Game 2 of the 2010 World Series vs. the Rangers.
But this time, Pence fell behind 0-2, as he has so often done this postseason. But this time instead of striking out, Pence fouled off a couple of pitches before lifting a fly ball to right center for a sacrifice fly and a 2-0 lead.
So the Giants lead the Tigers 2-0 in the series after scoring two runs on outs and getting seven shutout innings from Madison Bumgarner, who had an 11.25 ERA in the 2012 postseason entering the game.
They’ve got a double off the third base bag, a single that traveled 40 feet and a perfectly executed outfield relay play home.
The Giants have to be feeling pretty fortunate.
“Baseball’s so hard, this game’s about having luck,” Blanco said. “You can hit the ball 10 times with a line drive to center field and go 0 for 10.”
Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong said: “You hate to say it, but sometimes you need some luck. I used to be one of those guys who said you create your own luck, but sometimes in this game that’s not the case and the ball has to bounce your way.”
So are the baseball gods shining on the Giants?
“I don’t know about baseball gods, but I’ll tell you one thing: I hope the ball keeps bouncing our way,” reliever Jeremy Affeldt said. “It’s been huge for us.”
Madison Bumgarner gives San Francisco Giants a severe case of deja vu in Game 2 World Series victory
Stop me if this sounds familiar to you.
The Giants open the World Series by smacking around the American League’s best pitcher who entered the series with three standout postseason performances and a playoff ERA under 1.00.
They follow that up by shutting out an American League lineup that includes the potential league MVP in Game 2.
And Madison Bumgarner throws up nothing but zeros in his first start of the series.
No, Giants fans, this is NOT the 2010 World Series, but it sure feels like it.
Even the Giants acknowledged as much.
“It feels the same, but we know it’s not going to be the same until we win a World Series,” left-hander Jeremy Affeldt said. “They’re not going to roll over.”
And don’t tell Bumgarner this is not the 2010 postseason, because after two sub-par playoff starts, MadBum recaptured his magic on the mound.
Bumgarner silenced the Tigers’ bats with seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out eight.
MadBum’s performance coupled with another night of solid defense and just a little bit of luck was enough to propel the Giants to a 2-0 victory in Game 2 of the World Series, and a 2-0 series lead.
About the only thing Bumgarner didn’t do was extend the team’s streak of having a pitcher drive in a run in a fifth consecutive postseason game.
So it leads to the question: What was the difference between this game and Bumgarner’s two previous starts in which he posted an ERA of 11.25?
“I went into the seventh inning instead of getting took out in the third,” Bumgarner said.
Nah, c’mon Madison, get serious.
“The only difference was being able to make pitches,” Bumgarner said. “I hadn’t been able to do that this postseason. And tonight …. Buster caught a great game, defense did great.”
It’s got to be more than that.
“I thought the first inning would be a critical inning for him, for his confidence, also just to see where he was at,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Really, I mean, what a job he did. He’s worked on some things, and Rags — Dave Righetti, our pitching coach — did a great job getting him back on track. He had great poise out there with a great delivery, and he stayed right on for seven innings.”
So Righetti is some kind of miracle worker then?
Bumgarner made three bullpen sessions on Righetti’s supervision between Game 1 of the NLCS — a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals when MadBum gave up all six runs in less the four innings of work — and Thursday’s Game 2 of the World Series.
They also studied video, finding that MadBum had bad mechanics that was leading to unnecessary stress and fatigue on his arm. After the third session, the Giants decided Bumgarner was ready to return to the rotation. And was he ever.
Game 3 starter Ryan Vogelsong said: “It’s a testament to him. It’s not easy to fix yourself like that and go out there and perform so well. He wasn’t just OK. He was really good.”
Yes, he was.
When this series started, most Giants fans were hoping the Giants could split the first games with the Tigers, given that Barry Zito and Bumgarner were set to start. Then the plan was to get the series back to San Francisco for Games 6 and 7, and hope the Giants’ run of postseason magic could continue.
Now they head to Detroit with a 2-0 series lead and their two best pitchers this postseason — Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain — taking the mound there.
And thoughts now turn to returning to San Francisco simply to have another parade.
But if anyone knows not to get ahead of themselves, it’s these Giants.
“You can’t count Detroit out,” Sergio Romo said. “Look at what we were able to do to get here.”
Game 1 of the 2012 World Series featured three Cy Young Award winners, and one of them got rocked.
It wasn’t Barry Zito.
It wasn’t Tim Lincecum.
It was Justin Verlander.
On an amazing night at AT&T Park, Zito had another amazing outing. Zito gave up one run on six hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three.
Zito didn’t want to come out with two outs in the sixth, after throwing 81 pitches.
Eighty-one pitches to get through almost six innings?!?!? From Zito!?!? He needed 76 to get through 2 2/3 in Cincinnati two weeks ago.
But in the past two postseason starts, Zito has been efficient with his pitches. He’s stayed in the strike zone, pitched to contact and trusted his defense.
On Wednesday, they helped him out. Gregor Blanco made two very nice sliding catches on sinking liners off the bat of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. He got Dmitri Young to hit into a double play with a chop off the plate that was fielded nicely by Buster Posey.
When Zito averages fewer than four pitches per batter faced, good things happen.
In Game 5 of the NLCS, he averaged 3.97 pitches per batter. In Game 1 of the World Series, it was 3.52. In Game 4 of the NLDS vs. the Reds, it was 4.75.
In his final five starts of the regular season (all Zito wins, four of which were quality starts, the other one out from a quality start), Zito averaged 4.15, 3.81, 3.54, 3.78 and 3.88.
And then there was Tim Lincecum, who retired all seven batters he faced in 2 1/3 innings of relief, striking out five of them.
In Lincecum’s one postseason start, he gave up four runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. In his four postseason relief appearances, he’s given up one run on three hits with one walk and 14 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings pitched.
“For me, it’s just getting mentally locked in,” Lincecum said. “When I’m starting, I fall off. I start thinking about the wrong things. When I’m in the bullpen, I’m just out there, just thinking about getting outs.”
Clearly, the bullpen is the place for the Freak this October. And Bochy was brilliant to leave him there.
If there was one complaint about Bochy’s usage of Lincecum, it’s that I would have rather seen Lincecum not used in Game 1 to nurse a 6-1 lead when there were only 10 outs to get.
I felt like the Giants could have managed the relief innings Wednesday with the likes of George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt, Jose Mijares and Santiago Casilla.
I would have felt much better with the Freak in the pen in Game 2, behind the out-of-whack Madison Bumgarner.
After Lincecum had only needed 19 pitches to get four outs, I thought Bochy should have gone to another reliever after the Giants added some insurance runs. But Lincecum came back for the eighth. Apparently Bochy made a commitment not to use Lincecum on back-to-back days, however many pitches he used.
But Bochy’s thought process probably was that it was better to use a committee of 4-5 relievers in the event of another meltdown by MadBum in Game 2, given the day off on Friday, than to use the pen heavy in Game 1.
We’ll see if he’s right.
Or ever better, we won’t have to see … provided that Bumgarner can give the Giants 5 or 6 quality innings. But that’s something we haven’t seen a lot of in the past two months.
It’s a good thing the Giants signed Pablo Sandoval through his arbitration years. Otherwise, his representation would do a little name dropping at the Panda’s hearing.
As in Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols … and Pablo Sandoval.
The Panda became the fourth player in World Series history to hit three home runs in a game.
In one way, the Panda is in a class by himself. Sandoval became the first player to hit home runs in his first three plate appearances of a World Series game.
Sandoval came up with two outs in the first inning. He fell behind 0-2 to Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Verlander’s third pitch was a letter-high fastball that Sandoval hammered over the center-field fence 410 feet away.
In the third inning, Sandoval came up after the Giants had scored a run on an Angel Pagan double off the third base bag and a single by Marco Scutaro (yet again). This time, Sandoval worked ahead on the count 2-0, drawing a visit to the mound from Tigers’ pitching coach Jeff Jones (who I loved in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, by the way). On Verlander’s next pitch, a fastball on the outer half of the plate, Sandoval went the opposite way, smacking the ball over the left-field run for a two-run shot and a 4-0 lead. The shot drew a “wow” from Verlander.
In the fifth, Sandoval came up with one out against reliever Al Alburquerque. Sandoval threw his bat after swinging and missing on the first pitch. When the bat landed near the Tigers’ dugout, it broke the handle. The Panda fetched another bat, and after a ball in the dirt, he served the ball deep over the center-field wall.
Sandoval came up once more in the game and simply lined a single to center off Jose Valverde, ending a 4-for-4 night.
To look at Sandoval’s night another way: Last year, the Cardinals’ David Freese was the World Series MVP with 8 hits, 4 runs, 1 HR and 7 RBI for the series. On Wednesday night, Sandoval had 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 HR and 4 RBI.
The last three times a player had a three-homer game, his team went on to win the World Series. Ruth’s Yankees beat the Cardinals in 4 in 1928, Jackson’s Yankees beat the Dodgers in 6 in 1977 and Pujols’ Cardinals beat the Rangers in 7 in 2011.
Here’s a look at other three-homer games in the World Series.
1926 Game 4: Yankees 10, Cardinals 5
Oct. 6, 1926, at Sportsman Park, St. Louis
Ruth went 3 for 3 with two walks. He hit a solo off in the first and a solo in the third against Flint Rhem and a two-run shot in the sixth off Hi Bell.
1928 Game 4: Yankees 7, Cardinals 3
Oct. 9, 1928 at Sporstman Park, St. Louis
Ruth went 3 for 5. He hit solo homers off Bill Sherdel in the fourth and seventh innings and another solo off Pete Alexander in the eighth.
1977 Game 6: Yankees 8, Dodgers 4
Oct. 18, 1977, at Yankee Stadium
Jackson went 3 for 3 with one walk. He hit a two-run shot off Burt Hooton in the fourth inning, a two-run homer off Elias Sosa in the fifth and a solo shot off Charlie Hough in the eighth.
2011 Game 3: Cardinals 16, Rangers 7
Oct. 22, 2011, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Pujols went 5 for 6 with two singles. He hit all three of his homers off relievers — a three-run shot off Alexi Ogando in the sixth inning, a two-run homer off Mike Gonzalez in the seventh and a solo shot off Darren Oliver in the ninth.
Last Friday, prior to Game 5 of the National League championship series, someone asked me if I was confident with Barry Zito on the mound vs. the Cardinals.
I responded that no Giants fan is ever confident with Zito on the mound.
That’s because you just never seem to know which Zito is going to show up: the one who keeps hitters off-balanced or the one who walks in runs.
So to make Giants fans feel better about this Barry Zito vs. Justin Verlander matchup in Game 1 of the World Series, we came up with seven good reasons why you should feel good about Barry Zito.
NO. 1: We’ll start with the obvious one. The Giants have won their last 13 games when Zito has started on the mound.
NO. 2: It’s true that the Giants have won each of Zito’s last 13 starts sometimes in spite of Zito — he has a 3.56 ERA over that stretch. But since Sept. 9, he is 6-0 with a 2.57 ERA.
NO. 3: Against teams that advanced to the postseason this year (Reds, Cardinals, Braves, Rangers and A’s), Zito was 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts.
NO. 4: Zito has 2.96 ERA in 9 postseason starts. It would be much less if we took out Zito’s lone postseason start vs. Detroit (in 2006).
NO. 5: The Giants score runs when Zito pitches. After giving Zito 3.7, 3.0 and 3.5 runs of support per start in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Giants gave Zito 4.8 runs of support in 2012. During the 13 game win streak in Zito starts, the Giants have averaged 6.23 runs.
NO. 6: Zito’s last start against the Tigers in 2011, he gave up no runs on five hits in six innings of work. The Giants won that game 15-3 over Max Scherzer. Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval homered in that game. To put the game into context, Zito opened his season by injuring his ankle in his third start of the season in Arizona. He then missed the next 2.5 months. Actually, he was hurt the next six weeks then he spent nearly a month in Fresno on a rehab stint after Ryan Vogelsong had seized Zito’s spot in the rotation. But the Jonathan Sanchez imploded, so Zito came off the DL. He gave up 2 runs in 7 innings vs. the Cubs, then the start in Detroit, then gave up one run in eight innings vs. the Padres. Then Zito’s season went to heck and he didn’t make another start after July 31.
NO. 7: In Justin Verlander, the Giants are facing a pitcher with an ERA of 0.74 in his three previous postseason starts. In 2010, the Giants faced Texas’ Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the World Series. Coming into that game, Lee had an ERA of 0.75 in his three previous postseason starts that year. The Giants jumped on Lee for 7 runs (6 earned) in 4 2/3 innings en route to an 11-7 win.
Well, now that you understand the history, you can get a better picture of
I thought I could go into Monday’s night game somewhat relaxed. I was very
confident in the Giants’ chances in a potential Game 6 in San Francisco with
Matt Cain on the mound. Getting Sunday’s win was the key one.
Yet, as Game 5 moved deeper and deeper with no score, I began to twist on
During the long breaks between innings, I would get up and do something -
pick up by son’s toys on the floor, fold laundry, wash the dinner dishes. My
wife asked why I was doing things that are the kids’ responsibility. But I had
to do SOMETHING.
When the Giants took a 3-1 lead into the ninth, I began twisting this red
pillow case that I had started to fold – way back in the second inning – but now
was just holding onto. My wife asked if it was my security blanket.
My daughter, 13, came back into the room after getting herself ready for
school the next day. She took one look at me and asked “Are we still winning?”
Before I could answer her, the game came back from commercial. She looked
at the TV and, with a bit of surprise and glee, said “Oh, we’re up 3-1 … in
the ninth! We’re going to win it!”
I just said “We need three more outs.”
I began to think a little about how I might react when the Giants won it
all. But before I could complete that thought, doubt crept back in. No, I
stopped myself. As long as Wilson keeps runners on base, the Rangers can’t hurt
us with one swing.
You see, after Game 1, the only way the Rangers scored off the Giants was
via the home run. So if Wilson keeps the bases clear, there’s nothing to worry
When Josh Hamilton took that called third strike, the umpire’s call was so
deliberate that I jumped out of my chair and shouted “No! You’re out of there!”
It made my daughter jump. My wife, who had left the room for a moment,
thought something bad had happened.
Then Vlad Guerrero quickly grounds out and suddenly we’re one out away.
Wilson quickly gets ahead of Nelson Cruz 0-1. Then a ball. Then another
strike, a high fastball that Cruz was late on.
One strike away.
Next pitch: Away, Ball 2. Then another one, low and away, Ball 3. Full.
Then came the full-count pitch. Instead of a fastball, Cruz got a high
cutter. Swing and a miss! I jumped up and yell: “YEAH!!!!”
It startled my daughter again, who then realized what happened. She then
raised her arms and went “wooooooooo!” I hugged her. Then my son, 5, came out
to see what happened. My daughter said “Giants win!” My son goes “woohoo!” And
I gave him a high-five and a hug.
Then the phone rang. It was my dad. A Pirates fans at heart, he had adopted
the Giants this postseason for my benefit and decided to partake in a little of
the torture. He said “If the Giants win this, I’ve got to give Timmy a call.”
And that was just the beginning. Then came texts, e-mails, posts on
facebook … from family members, friends, co-workers, former co-workers, college friends, my former
college roommate, friends I grew up with but haven’t spoken to much in 10 or 15
years – some of them even Dodger fans – all to offer their congratulations.
The whole experience was a bit overwhelming.
When it happened, there was some initial exhilaration, and then some doubt
of reality. Did this really happen? After all these years?
I wasn’t sure what it would mean to me, until all the people in my life,
both past and present, took time out of their day to let me know they knew what
it meant to me.
Thank you, all, and thank you, Giants!
To understand what this
title means to me, you have to understand my journey as a San Francisco Giants
fan. So as I watch the victory parade on the TV, I’ll share my parade as a
Giants fan. It’s lengthy, so indulge me.
While the Giants have been
in San Francisco for more than a half century, my allegiance to the team
reaches back 37 years, to a summer day in 1973 when I attended my first
professional sporting event during Helmet Day at Candlestick.
I can remember sitting in
the upper deck at The Stick, eating a drumstick ice cream and watching little
people running around the field. I was five years old.
It was shortly after this
game that my brother, almost three years my senior, explained to me to be a
true sports fan, you had to have a favorite team. Linked to that day, to that
helmet, and to the fact that my brother rooted for the L.A. teams — Dodgers,
Rams, Lakers — the natural choice was for the San Francisco Giants.
A year later, my family
moved from Sacramento to Southern California, in the L.A. suburb of Simi
It was not easy being a
Giants fan in the heart of Dodger Country.
My dad regularly took my
brother and I to Dodger Stadium. We were even made members of the Dodger Pepsi
Fan Club, which earned you six general admission tickets to games against
low-profile teams a season, as well as a cheap Dodger windbreaker (that I never
Every time we went to Dodger
Stadium, someone would ask me “Who are you rooting for?” My reply
“Who are the Dodgers playing?”
My dad tried to get me to at
least one Dodgers-Giants game each season. I especially remember my dad taking
my brother and I out of school to attend a midweek Businessmen’s Special at The
These games rarely turned
out well for the Giants. It got so bad that I stopped wearing my Giants apparel
to the games, because I grew weary of being berated by Dodger fans in the
parking lot after the game.
And so it went. Every year,
enduring fourth-place finishes, rumors of the team being moved to Denver or
Toronto, watching All-Star games and hoping to see Jack Clark get one at-bat or
Greg Minton one inning of relief.
But by the early to
mid-1980s, things began to change, at least for me. The Giants were still not
competing for division titles, but they
were at least beating the Dodgers during games I attended. By 1986, the Giants
started winning more games than they lost.
Finally, in 1987, it
happened. A division title. I remember listening to the clinching game in San
Diego on the radio. I had to listen to the Padres broadcast because KNBR was
drowned out by a powerful Southern California station at 690 on the radio dial.
I remember Don Robinson pitching. I remember John Kruk hitting a deep ball to
the opposite field. Jeffrey Leonard making the catch at the wall, and the
Giants were NL West champions.
I remember thinking anything
that happened in the NLCS vs. the Cardinals was a bonus. I was just happy the
Giants were in the postseason. But as soon as the games started, I found myself
screaming at the TV set when something went against the Giants. My dad would
bark at me from the other room that he would turn off the TV if I couldn’t keep
my volume down. It was funny because my emotional-filled passion for sports was
inherited from him.
But after five games, the
Giants found themselves one win from the World Series. But then they went back
to St. Louis and forgot to pack their offense. The Giants were shut out in
Games 6 and 7, and the 1987 was over.
In 1988, I attended my first
Opening Day game. I got two tickets for the Giants vs. Dodgers at Dodger
Stadium, but then had trouble finding someone to go with me. So I took my
sister. Dave Dravecky beat Fernando Valenzuela. Another Giants win.
In 1989, the Giants were
driving to another division title. They were six games up on the Padres with
six games to go, and opening a three-game set at Dodger Stadium. I wanted to go
to the games and watch the Giants clinch. But responsibilities at school and as
sports editor of my college newspaper kept that from happening. The Giants got
swept, and only clinched the division after the Reds beat the Padres in extra
innings after the Giants’ third loss to LA. The Giants celebrated in the
Taking on the Cubs in the
NLCS, there was no satisfaction in simply making the playoffs. This time, the
Giants needed to get to the Series.
The thing I remember about
the 1989 postseason is that I could never seem to sit at home and watch any of
the games. Game 1 in Chicago I watched on a black-and-white TV in the newsroom
of my college newspaper. I watched Game 2 in the same way, interrupted by an
evening class that I had.
For Game 3, I was in Fresno
to attend the Fresno State-Oregon State football. My brother attended Fresno
State, and I had attended Oregon State the previous school year. I listened to
the game while sitting in the stands at Bulldog Stadium, while catching
glimpses from a portable TV being held by a fan sitting in front of me.
For Game 4, I had to work at
the part-time job I had at an ice cream shop. I hooked up a TV in the back, and
would run back between scooping ice cream to check on the game.
Game 5, I was back at
college, back at the student paper, trying to get out a sports section while
following the action. Late in the game, I headed down to the campus radio
station where they had a color TV and watched Will Clark lace a two-run single
off Mitch Williams. With that, the Giants were in the World Series.
I went into the 1989 World
Series with no illusions that the Giants would beat the powerful A’s. I was
hoping they could steal some games, and maybe catch some breaks.
For Game 1, I was in
Portland, Ore., to cover the Cal State Northridge-Portland State football game
for my college paper. Radio reception was impossible in Civic Stadium, with its
concrete roof over the grandstands. The PA announcer would give updates from
the Series game, but the sound system at Civic was so bad it sounded as if the
updates were being given by Charlie Brown’s teacher. It wasn’t until after the
football game ended, and I left the stadium that I learned that the Giants had
During Game 2, I had a
flight home to Southern California to catch. As luck would have it, I had to
make a connection in San Francisco. So I walked into a bar at the airport and
watched as the Giants scored their first run of the season, and cheer went up
in the bar. Then the A’s got out of the inning, and cheer went up in the bar.
“What the…?” was my reaction, until I remember the Giants were
playing Oakland. I got on my flight to Burbank, got off the plane in time to
hear the final out, and the Giants had lost 5-1.
The off day between Games 2
and 3 was my birthday. But there wasn’t any celebration. I had contracted food
poisoning from something I ate on the flight home, and spent the day violently
ill. But after taking a second day off from school and feeling better, I
thought at least I would be able to sit at home and watch a Giants game for the
first time in the postseason.
The pre-game show started,
then suddenly cut out. I looked over to my father and asked “Did he say
‘earthquake’?” Then I looked over at the weight on the cuckoo clock in our
living and it was swaying slowly. Nearly 400 miles away, I knew that earthquake
was a big one.
When TV reception came back,
there were reports of pancaked freeways, a collapsed section of the Bay Bridge
and fires in the Mission district. But my thoughts were singular: “Yes,
but are they going to play the game?”
Of course, they didn’t. And
the Series would be tabled for more than a week. There was talk of moving the
games to Southern California (a great idea, I thought) or even cancelling it
all together (even better idea).
But 10 days later, the
series started again. I had to cover a high school football game for the LA
Times that night. I walked the sideline, listening to the game on a transistor
radio as things went from bad to worse for the Giants.
The next night, I was at Cal
State Northridge home game, again with my radio, hoping against hope that the
Giants could win one game. They didn’t.
In the early 1990s, I had
relocated to the Pacific Northwest and things weren’t looking good for the
Giants. There was serious talk about the team moving to St. Petersburg. But
then a group led by Peter Magowan stepped and saved the Giants for San
Then came even more big
news. Barry Bonds had just signed the biggest free-agent contract in history
… with the Giants. The Giants?!? I never saw it coming and could hardly
believe it. But for the next 15 seasons, Barry would be the face of the Giants,
for better or worse.
In 1993, the face looked
pretty good as the Giants were running away with the NL West. But then the San
Diego Padres traded Fred McGriff to the Braves, and Atlanta made a fierce
The Giants headed into the
final weekend with 101 wins, but no division title. And three games against the
The Giants won on Friday
thanks to a pair of homers from Barry. They won Saturday thanks to another
clutch save from Rod Beck. On Sunday, the Braves won again, meaning the Giants
needed to win to force a tiebreaker game on Monday with Atlanta. With Bill
Swift set to pitch that game, I liked our chances. But first, they needed one
more win in LA.
But rookie Solomon Torres
wasn’t up to the task and things quickly deteriorated. Disappointment was
compounded by the glee the Dodgers displayed in ending the Giants’ season.
Then came the strike and
more Giants struggles. But by 1997, the Giants were back in the playoffs,
taking on the Marlins in their fifth year of existence. The Giants lost two
games in Florida on the Marlins’ final at-bat, then lost Game 3 in San
Francisco, and that was that.
The 2000 season brought a
new ballpark, Pacific Bell Park. The Giants lost their first game in the new
home — to the Dodgers — but rebounded to win the NL West again. Back in the
playoffs, the Giants opened with a win over the Mets.
In Game 2, JT Snow had a
huge 3-run home run in the ninth to push the game to extra innings, where
Edgardo Alfonso’s home run gave the Mets the win.
In Game 3, it was Benny
Agbayani’s home run in the 13th that beat the Giants. In Game 4, the Giants
were limited to one hit by Bobby Jones, of all people.
The 2001 season brought
Barry Bonds’ chase for the single-season home run record. But his 73 home runs
couldn’t get the Giants in the playoffs as they were eliminated in the final
But a late-season push in
2002 got the Giants back into the playoffs as the wild-card. I remember just
hoping for two things: 1) the Giants could be the Braves so I wouldn’t have to
hear how Dusty Baker couldn’t win in the playoffs; 2) Barry hit, so I didn’t
have to hear how Bonds flops in the postseason. I got both as the Giants beat
the Braves in 5.
The NLCS against the
Cardinals started out well, with the Giants winning two in St. Louis. Now,
suddenly the World Series was within reach. Benito Santiago hit a huge home run
in the eighth inning of Game 4 after the Cardinals walked Bonds (again!). Then
in Game 5, there was Kenny Lofton singling home David Bell from second in the
bottom of the ninth for the pennant. I can remember yelling at the TV
“Run! David! Run!” And just like that, the Giants were back in the Series.
I went into the Series
thinking the Giants could beat the Angels. But my first goal was for the Giants
to win a game — one game — after watching get swept in 1989. The Giants got
that win in Game 1. But after losing in Games 2 and 3, I started to think they
wouldn’t win the Series.
But Kirk Rueter had a big
game in Game 4, and then Giants poured it on in Game 5. Just like that, the
Giants were one win from a World Series title.
On the night of Game 6, my
wife and I had a standing invitation for dinner at the house of my church’s
pastor. I wanted to cancel, but my pastor and his wife told us to come over and
we’d all watch the game together. Greaaaaaaat.
But things started out well
enough for the Giants. Shawon Dunston homered. Kenny Lofton doubled, stole
third and scored on a wild pitch. Barry took Angels heralded rookie Francisco
Rodriguez deep. In the seventh, Jeff Kent singled home another run and the
Giants were 5-0.
Russ Ortiz was sailing,
limited the Angels to a pair of singles. But in the seventh, Ortiz gave up
back-to-back one-out singles, and Dusty Baker took Ortiz out after 98 pitches.
Felix Rodriguez came in to
face Scott Spiezio, who kept fouling off pitch after pitch, working the count
full. Then he got pitch he could pull and dropped into the seats in right just
inside the foul pole and beyond the reach of RF Reggie Sanders. That made it
In the eighth, Tim Worrell
came in and could not get anyone out. It started with a home run to Darin
Erstad. Then a single to Tim Salmon, a single to Garret Anderson on a flare to
left. And error by Barry Bonds allowed runners to move to second and third.
Robb Nen was called on to face Troy Glaus. And even though Glaus had been the
Angels biggest hitter in the series and there was an open base, the Giants
pitched to him. Glaus raked a double to left-center and the Angels led 6-5.
And there I was in my pastor’s house. I couldn’t swear (though I wanted to). I couldn’t throw something across the room (though I wanted to). I just sat and simmered, muttering “Why were we even pitching to him?”
After the game was over, I quietly got up and went to the bathroom. And sat for a couple of minutes. When I emerged, Melanie, the pastor’s wife, said “I’m impressed, Tim. If that had been the Padres, Scott (the pastor) would have been yelling and screaming.” (My pastor grew up in San Diego).
My wife said “I’m actually surprised Tim didn’t.”
I did my best to be pleasant the rest of the evening. When I got home, I took the videotape that I was using to record the game out of the VCR (yeah, 2002 was a long time ago), and threw it in the garbage. I didn’t sleep well that night.
The next day, Game 7 went bad quickly. The
Giants got a run in the second, but the Angels answered back with one of their
own. Then Livan Hernandez couldn’t get anyone out in the third, giving up a
single, single, hitting Tim Salmon with a pitch, then giving up a
bases-clearing double to Anderson and that was
enough. The Angels won 4-1.
I watched Game 7 at my brother’s house. You know, the Dodger fan. When it was over, I looked over at my niece, who was almost 3 at the time, and just said “Uncle Tim needs a hug.”
In the offseason, Dusty
Baker left. Jeff Kent left. But the Giants made good moves to replace them and
went on to win 100 games in 2003.
Again, the Giants faced the
Marlins. Jason Schmidt pitched the Giants to a Game 1 win, but the Marlins
bounced back to take Game 2. In Florida, the Giants pushed across a run in the
top of the 11th. But in the bottom of the 11th, sure-handed Jose Cruz Jr.
dropped a pop fly by Jeff Conine, setting the stage for Ivan Rodriguez’s
two-out, two-run single to win it, 3-2.
In Game 4, the Giants fell
behind 5-1, but scored four in the sixth to tie. But the Marlins tallied two in
the eight to take a 7-5 lead. The Giants scraped across a run in the ninth. But
then JT Snow was thrown out at the plate to end the series.
That was the last postseason
appearance until this season as the team plunged over the next few years. They
won 91 games in 2004, but were eliminated by the Dodgers on the final weekend.
Then the losses mounted: 87 in 2005, 85 in 2006, 91 in 2007 when Barry Bonds
completed his pursuit of the all-time home run record. Then the Giants turned
the page and began building for the future: 72-90 in 2008, and 88-74 in 2009.
That brings us to this