LOOKING BACK 2010 World Series – Final Thoughts
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A MONTH MAKES –
‘S-GUYS’ WIN IT FOR GIANTS IN
World Champs or Bladerunners? Giant pitchers Romo and Wilson
In the fifth and final game, it was Cody Ross who got a single, Juan Uribe who got a single, and then Edgar Renteria who hit the three-run- homer in the seventh inning to give the Giants enough to win the game and their first World Series in 56 years and since coming to San Francisco.
These are the three key ‘S- guys’ in the Giants lineup that won the World Series. Maybe stole is a more appropriate term, as noted in a previous blog. Suddenly, Ross became Babe Ruth or, better, Barry Bonds for the World Series, playoffs and last month of season, hitting 7 homer and 3 in his first 6 at bats in the playoffs after hitting only 11 homers the entire year; this at age 30 , playing in the hitter-unfriendly AT&T Park in San Francisco. Without those three , the Texas Rangers would have probably won game 5, 1-0.
Uribe never hit 25 homers in his 12 year career but he did it at age 33, playing, again, in San Francisco’s spacious, cold ball park, with September his best month and hitting two homers in the playoffs and Series. Uribe has been a known defender of steroids (note May 09 interview where he defended Latin players for using steroids.)
35-year-old Renteria was given up for dead, the subject of much derision by Giants fans and one of GM Sabean’s many criticized trades until September, when Renteria also came to life. He had his best month , by far, hitting two of his three homers of the year in the playoffs and World Series. Some criticized Ranger’s Washington for not walking Renteria to get to Aaron Rowand in that fifth game, with two men on base. But, on paper, Renteria had been the weakest link – if you took the whole season into account.
Seems that the Giants great hitting all began in September – after a known Steroid user, Jose Guillen, was brought in by the Giants; suddenly half the team got better. Few gave the Giants a chance against better teams like the Rangers and Phillies, but , they won it all with their weakest team to make it to the World Series in San Francisco (also ’89 and ’02, which they lost).
Some call it destiny and some say the Giant pitching was enough to get them through and others say they peaked at the right time. We say just look at the numbers, especially on a team known for looking the other way in the most tolerant city. The same guys who defended Bonds for his ‘flaxseed oil’ that gave him the new homerun record , by a long shot, in 2002 – and perhaps if not for Game of Shadows might still be the only guy hitting splash homers into the Bay at ATT – are running this team, GM Brian Sabean and president Larry Baer . After 56 years of futility in San Francisco, even with players like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal and Will Clark, a bunch of virtual no-name players , guys with little or no track record, suddenly give the Giants the world series with Sabean and Baer , currently the longest active management of any major league team.
HOW GIANTS WON THE WORLD SERIES – SEPTEMBER MAGIC OR…
We believe Sabean and Baer were so desperate to ‘get the monkey off their back’ they would do most anything to win, including bringing in players who use steroids. The most obvious one is Jose Guillen, who even made headlines during the World Series, when a New York Times reporter broke the story that he was kept off the Giants playoffs roster. The Giants had earlier said it was due to Guillen’s ‘stiff neck’ until the new story came out that a probe had found HGH drugs being circumvented to Guillen’s wife, in the Bay Area.
Guillen, the known user, found twice to have used steroids, in 2002 and 2005 in the Mitchell Report, was brought to the team for the Giants stretch drive. Like Ross and Uribe, he was a player at the end of career that no other team seemed to want. Guillen , himself, had a number of key hits during September, bad neck or not – enough by himself to probably mean the difference between the San Diego Padres and Giants winning the tight Western Division race.
But the key here is that AFTER Guillen got to San Francisco these other guys – Ross, Uribe and Renteria – – became superstars , not to mention half of the team suddenly heating up . Matt Cain, with perhaps his best month of his pitching career. Guillen got caught while these other guys haven’t, but the damage was done. Call it guilt by association. And, just wondering, why did these three guys all come out in their knit caps for the parade on an unusually warm 70 degree day for the Giants parade November 3? Just wondering.
It would just be too much of a coincidence for all this to happen – for the Giants to suddenly go from a .500 team at All Star Break, with the same pitchers, (plus Baumgartner , who wasn’t THAT much better than Zito, who had his best year yet with the Giants) to a near .800 team with the best record – and most homeruns- in baseball the last month of the season!
Little was made of Guillen’ s ‘hiccup’ with the Giants – a mere hiccup for Giants fans, who , like the rest of San Francisco, are overly tolerant when it comes to drug use and most anything – note the funny smell pervading ATT during the series. Even with the Giant’s track record of bringing in players nobody wanted – probably for any number of good reasons – fans and even media overlooked Guillen and the rest; we almost did, too, until the Guillen incident hit the press and it was déjà vu all over. While it was a blip on the radar screen for most , just as was Bonds’ homer streak until two writers finally put an end to that, we found more to this story, after doing a little fact checking . And there are a few others out there who feel the same way about these Giants . Perhaps the lowest World Series TV viewership in history also points to this, despite San Francisco’s adoration of its team – no matter what! Like the recent election where San Francisco and California are an anomaly, so are the Giants to the rest of baseball.
Will anything come of this? Probably not. Writers went go back home scratching their heads as to how the Giants could beat the better team they predicted to win. Bud Selig went back home after stating his satisfaction with the TV numbers, despite being 25% down from last year after the first two games. Outside of San Francisco, the series was a blip and probably many won’t be able to even tell you who won the series a year from now.
So, life goes on, and so does baseball, but nothing like I remember in 1989 and 1962, as a young boy at my first World Series with REAL PLAYERS like Mays and McCovey. Nice those guys are still around to get some attention for themselves, but deep down, you have to wonder what they’re thinking, especially coming off seven years of Barry Bonds.
Say it ain’t so, Joe, but I’m afraid it is.
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