I was born in the year the New York Giants left the Polo Grounds and set up shop in San Francisco. That was fifty-two years ago. For as long as I can remember, I have been a Giants fan. I was born in LA, but the few months I spent living there as an infant didn't seem to take, but the three years living in San Francisco that followed those first months of life, apparently did. Most of my growing up years were spent in Northern California and Southern Oregon, which were prime Giants lands. I could listen to games on the radio and later watch them on the Bay Area station that cable TV brought to our town. Over the years, the Giants have more often than not broken my heart with second place finishes. Though two times in my memory they reached the series, only to falter. The first time the Giants reached the Series playing from SF, I was much too young to know what was happening.
But now, in my fifty-second year, the Giants brought home the trophy. And it was done not with a team of superstars, but with a team of interchangeable parts put together to back up what has proven to be a dominant pitching staff. The names Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Brian Wilson will now be proclaimed as dominant pitchers. And let me say that although Jonathan Sanchez struggled in the series, the Giants wouldn't have been here without his pitching brilliance throughout the year. And what can I say of the supporting cast led by shortstop Edgar Renteria. He hardly played all year because of injuries, but when it became clear that Pablo Sandoval was not up to the job at third, manager Bruce Bochy made the decision to move Juan Uribe (not to be confused with Jose Uribe, the Giants shortstop in 1989) to third base, and insert Renteria in at shortstop. And did he deliver? A key home run in game two of the series that gave Matt Cain all the runs he would need, and then last night hit a three run homerun in the seventh inning off Cliff Lee, who up to this series had been a dominant player. This time, it was Tim Lincecum who was the beneficiary of Renteria's largess. And the Giants would go on to win 3-1. And then of the rest -- a rookie catcher whose future brilliance has already begun to shine (Buster Posey) and a waver-wire pickup named Cody Ross who bloomed at the right time. And then there were other heroes of the moment -- Uribe, Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff. What a series! What a year!
When I think about this day, which I've waited all these many years to see, I think of all the great players, some of them even Hall of Fame players, who have put on San Francisco Giant uniforms but not won a championship in that uniform. These are people like Willie Mays (who won as a young man and never would win again), Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, the Alou brothers, Bobby Bonds, Garry Maddox, Tito Fuentes, Chris Speier, Orlando Cepeda, Joe Morgan, Will Clark, Robby Thompson, Matt Williams, J.T. Snow, Scott Garrelts, Kirt Reuter, Jack Clark, John Montefusco, Kevin Mitchell, Jeff Kent, Rick Reuschel, Barry Bonds, Bill Swift, Jason Schmidt, Dave Dravecky, Rod Beck, Mike McCormick. Just to name a few.
There were, those moments that gave hope --like 1962, when they were a few inches away from a dramatic come from behind win off the bat of McCovey, but Bobby Richardson was in the right place ending the hopes. Like I said, I was too young to follow that series. Then there was 1989, when an earthquake upset the series schedule (which allowed me the opportunity to get to game 3), but the Giants couldn't overcome the A's power pitching dominance. Then there was 2002, when they were just a few outs away from a championship, things fell apart and the Angels took control. But last night the Giants ended the drought and brought a championship home in dramatic fashion.
Everyone said it couldn't be done. The Phillies were so much better, but the Giants pitchers suppressed their hitters and took the NLCS and the Pennant. Then the Rangers, well they had Cliff Lee and the AL presumptive MVP in Josh Hamilton -- but Josh Hamilton fared no better than the Phillies Ryan Howard. And the Giants won that elusive crown. I sure hope the next one comes sooner than fifty-five years from now! But for now, I shall revel in the glories of the moment!!