For me, I didn’t start believing something could happen for the Giants this year until this at-bat – Giants up 6 to 4, Sergio Romo versus the mighty Jay Bruce with two men on in Game 5 of the NLDS, October 11, 2012:
Marcia and I were huddled in the kitchen with KNBR on, nervously cleaning and waiting for Bruce to either hit a homer and end the Giants season or for Romo to emerge victorious. Little did I know it would be the start of something truly special.
Back in 2010, I wrote about my 23-year wait for a World Series title to come to San Francisco. To get back to the World Series, let alone win it again a mere two years later is shocking. Two out of the five seasons my daughter has experienced have resulted in the Giants being crowned world champs! So what made 2012 more special than 2010? Let me count the ways…
- Question marks about Buster Posey’s ability to regain his old form after his devastating injury in 2011. But instead he puts up MVP numbers.
- Brian Wilson went down in his second appearance back in April, supposedly dooming the Giants relief corps. But Sergio, Santiago, and Jeremy more than get it done.
- Melky Cabrera, he of the .346 batting average, gets suspended for performance enhancing drugs, but his replacement, Gregor Blanco ends up being a key cog for the team.
- Tim Lincecum has his worst season ever, and the worst first half of any pitcher in the NL, but comes back to be lights out in relief in the playoffs.
- The Dodgers make a blockbuster trade to net guys like Adrian Gonzalez, but fall short by eight games.
- Down 0-2, the Giants come back to beat Cincinnati in five games on the road.
- Down 3-1, the Giants come back to win three straight against the defending champs, the Cardinals.
- A thrown ball that hits second base for an error by the Cards. A broken bat triple hit double by Pence. A ball that bounces of third base for a double by Pagan. Diving grabs by Blanco and Crawford.
- Sergio Romo.
- Marco Scutaro.
- Pablo Sandoval.
- It brought a city together. Giants signs, flags, and shirts everywhere. Random high fives.
Sergio Romo, former setup guy/specialist with Wilson as the closer steps in (along with Santiago Casilla) to anchor the back of the Giants bullpen. Saves games by striking out the side. Celebrates like nobody’s business. Has fun on the field. Gets the last out in the rain in the NLCS. Gets the last out of the World Series by striking out Miguel Cabrera. Priceless.
Marco Scutaro, the guy the Giants traded for that nobody thought about. Plays a solid rest of the season, and then simply explodes in the NLCS. Every time he came up, I thought he could get on base. Swung and missed at only 14 or 15 pitches all season. Batted .500 against the cardinals, and fielded everything. Hit the game-winning single against the Tigers in Game 4. Refuses to answer questions about the Matt Holliday slide after winning the NLCS, instead opting to thank God, his teammates, and the fans. Class act.
Pablo Sandoval, went 0 for 4 in his only World Series appearance in 2010. Broke his hand twice in the last two years. Criticized for his weight and on-field performance. Plays stellar defense at third base. Hits three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series, including TWO of Justin Verlander, possibly the best pitcher in the league. My kids recognized him every time he showed up, yelling “Kung Fu Panda!”
The crazy thing is, the list could go on – every member of the starting lineup contributed to a win via the bat or the glove. Every starter on the staff contributed in a big way. It really was team baseball at its best. 2010 was special, and 2012 was better yet.
Oh yeah, I got to go to Game 2 of the World Series. That was pretty special.