I am a Giants fan because my grandfather is a Giants fan. He took me to my first game, in 1988, and I became hooked on the game after that. I avidly followed my Giants when I had the chance and was thrilled when they won the 1989 pennant thanks to my hero, Will Clark, and then wriggled in agony as an earthquake and the dynamo that was the late eighties A’s crushed them in four games.
But I still rooted for them, even when they were the lowly underdogs until 1994, the year of the strike and the year it all fell apart. When Matt Williams’ assualt on the record book was wiped off before it had a chance to happen, I quit baseball. I put my old cards up and I vowed to find other interests.
But I could never leave the game behind entirely, and the 1998 chase attracted some attention. But it was the opening of the new stadium in 2000 that got me interested in the Giants again. That and my grandfather was no quitter — he followed the Giants through the bad times. So by the time 2002 rolled around, I was back in the fold. I was in the stands for Benito Santiago’s game winning homer in Game 4 of the NLCS. And it looked like it was the year.
But Dusty Baker couldn’t manage pitchers to save his life, and the fairytale ending crumbled in, of all places, the home of Disneyland. And then 2003 and defeat at the hands of the Marlins, and then things got bad.
Oh, I’d poke in occasionally to see how the team was doing, but the answer was always not well. But slowly, we started assembing some good pitching. Some strange kid with a funky delivery won the Cy Young Award for us. And then he did it again. And the pitching got really good — enough to suport a team that wasn’t all that hot offensively.
Then we drafted this kid out of Florida State. Kid had a hilarious name and a baby face, but there were rumors that he could flat out play. That he was a pretty damned good catcher. And catchers have to be the smart guys.
Add in guys who were looking for their last chance, and guys who were just in it for one more go ’round, mix them all together and you have this team. Came out of nowhere — rode an excellent September into a winner takes the division game at home on the last day of the season. Took that. Killed Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs. Drew the Phillies in the second round, last year’s NL champs, two years removed from a Series win.
Nobody gave us a chance. We won it in six, taking two games in Philly, including Brian Wilson’s beautiful caught looking strikeout on Ryan Howard to win us the pennant.
So our world series opponent was another AL West team, this time the Rangers. And after we won the first two games with 20 runs between them, it started to feel like this might just be the year. As the series shifted to Texas, the old familiar hope started rising.
And then Texas won game 3. Maybe not.
But no, just as all hope looked lost, a 21 year old kid pitched a gem of a world series game, shutting out the Rangers. One more to go, and that freaky kid with the weird pitching motion who’d won himself a Cy Young award or two got the start. And he pitched eight masterful innings, ten strikeouts, and they only go one run, on a fluke homer. One of three hits he would give up.
Then they sent in the Beard to win it all, just as they had in Philly. And sure enough, the last inning, it went strikeout, ground out, strikeout, and the Giants had won. The bunch of misfits and freaks had scored a victory over everybody.
It’s the first world series victory in San Francisco, the first world series victory for the Giants since 1954, and I got to see it. Even better, my grandfather got to see it, and that’s even more important to me. Baseball’s awesome, but if it wasn’t for Grandpa, I’d not bleed black and orange, so I’m glad they won it for him.
The 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants. Feels pretty damn good, I’d say.
Here’s to Tim Lincecum, the freak, whose masterful pitching won us two games in the Series. Here’s to Madison Bumgarner, the kid from North Carolina, whom I wish I had *half* the composure he had when I was 21. Here’s to Buster Posey, the catcher with the funny name, who is quickly becoming my favorite Giant. Here’s to Matt Cain, another excellent pitcher. Here’s to Brian Wilson, whose beard must have scared all those batters. Here’s to Edgar Renteria, the old man who found a way to bring it home. Here’s to Cody Ross, the man nobody wanted. Here’s to Aubrey Huff, and the shot to give MadBum the lead in his hometown. And here’s to the rest of the Giants who made this season so special for me.
Here’s to the Black and Orange. Go Giants. WORLD CHAMPIONS.