AFor the second time in the past three years, the San Francisco Giants are the World Series Champions. Executing an efficient sweep of the dazed Detroit Tigers, the Giants claimed their seventh world title in the illustrious 130-year history of the franchise. The 2012 cast of characters featured many familiar faces from the 2010 team, some in unfamiliar roles, and some new faces that were added as late as July. General Manager Brian Sabean, if he wasn't before, now must be considered among the game's elite GMs; Manager Bruce Bochy, with his third pennant and second World Series crown, becomes a lock for the Hall of Fame.
Two Giants who were afterthoughts in 2010 became stars of the 2012 team. Beleaguered Barry Zito, he of the seven-year, $126-million contract and perennial losing record, kept the Giants alive in their comeback victory over the St. Louis Cardinals with a key win in Game Five of the National League Championship Series, then stymied the Tigers in Game One of the World Series. Pablo Sandoval, the rollicking Kung Fu Panda who was 0-for-3 in 2010, slugged home runs in his first three at-bats and went on to claim the Most Valuable Player award of the Series.
The Tigers didn't show much fight in the Series; they didn't even have a lead until the middle of Game Four, which was quickly erased when Giants' stalwart Buster Posey slammed a two-run homer off Max Scherzer; to their credit the Tigers fought back to tie the game when Delmon Young homered off Matt Cain, but at that point it was a game of bullpens and the Giants' relievers were clearly superior to what the Tigers could muster. By the time Marco Scutaro, a consummate professional and NLCS MVP, came up with Ryan Theriot in scoring position in the tenth inning and the exhausted Tigers reliever Phil Coke on the mound, it was no surprise as Scutaro efficiently lined a single to center and Theriot came sliding across the plate. Scutaro and outfielder Hunter Pence were key acquisitions before the trading deadline.
The Giants now join the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals as teams who have won two World Series in this still-young century. Watching the parade and celebration on MLB Network on Wednesday was a kick, it looked like even more people came out than in 2010 as appreciation for this scrappy team grows. Of course, any celebration that concludes with the great Tony Bennett singing “I left my heart in San Francisco” is truly memorable.
Now it is on to the Awards and the Hot Stove League. We will have much to discuss.