I would never have believed myself to be so lucky as to witness two championships in my lifetime. The story lines running through this World Series are just as, if not even more compelling then the 2010 World Series. Take a look at all that went in to this season and the trip to a second ring in three years just becomes that much more improbable. But as Sherlock Holmes has always said, once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable must be the truth.
It’s hard to comprehend that we won another ring, with a start from the formerly most-hated Giants pitcher, a scapegoat for all the failures of management. We won a start with a pitcher who only two years ago, was considering another career, finishing a middling season in Japan. We won two more with the finest, homegrown talent we’ve had the fortune of developing and watching do exactly that, grow. We had a catcher we were optimistically projecting would catch 110 games and hit just near .300. The NL MVP, yes, he will be crowned, caught just another third strike in a world series. The World Series MVP was playing so poorly that two years ago, Juan Uribe took his spot on the roster. The player who scored the winning run, is just another gritty middle-infielder who took his demotion, by the greatest living player on earth nonetheless, in stride. Just like our new super middle-reliever, who took on his new role as bullpen Godsend, in stride. (No Lincecum would have meant using Affeldt last night, and who knows what would have happened tonight?) There’s also the New Beard. The guy who took the meaning of cahones to an all new level. He had the audacity to shake off a slider call from Posey to throw a tailing fastball back over the plate. And then the “AL MVP” looked at it. He took it. And he walked off to a slightly more depressing off-season.
And then of course, there is the great legend of Marco Scutaro. The final chapter on his 2012 season as a Giant ended with him driving in the winning run. Now that’s the kind of storybook I want to read to my kids when I grow up. It’s simply unbelievable.
Does it feel like you really did all this, Marco?
“Not yet, not yet,” Scutaro said. “There’s so many feelings going through me right now. It’s just overwhelming. It’s unbelievable.”
Instead of hitting .500 this time around, he simply anchored the stellar defense that led to the championship. 17 times he was hit a ground ball. 18 times he got an assist, starting crucial double plays and even just being in the same neighborhood as an errant throw from Blanco in game 2. Of course, that relay saves a run and saved the game. Of course. Unbelievable.
If you were to tell me in April or May that the 2012 World Series champions were anchored in the playoffs by pitching performances of Vogelsong and Zito, that Lincecum would become super-reliever, that Pablo would stake ownership to Verlander, that Crawford would play Gold Glove caliber defense, that Hunter Pence and Gregor Blanco would make up an invaluable portion of our outfield, on and off the field, and that Marco freakin’ Scutaro would drive in Ryan freakin’ Theriot to win the final game of a sweep…
Well? It’s unbelievable.
I am one of 32 writers who cover National League teams who has an MVP vote. I can’t say who I’ll vote for because I honestly don’t know. I really do like to wait until the end of the regular season and do some good, objective research. However, I will say this. Writers from other cities call one another and ask for reasons that a particular player should win an award.
If I get any calls like that, I’ll point to what Buster has done offensively since Melky Cabrera was suspended. You lose your three hitter and your four hitter steps up?
“With what he’s done for us — here you have a guy who is your catcher and is hitting cleanup and he’s carried us at times, I can’t think of a guy more valuable for a club than Buster is for us.”
“That’s one of the best at-bats I’ve ever had off of me. I threw him at least five put-away pitches, I thought. And he just kept fouling them off. I make one mistake and it’s a homer.”
“How does someone take funky swings like that — and then hit a ball over [the] center field [fence]?”
Posey’s teammate asked, in the midst of the Giants’ 4-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which extended San Francisco’s lead in the NL West to a sturdy 5½ games.
Posey is to the Giants what Mike Piazza was to the Mets’ lineup in the late ’90s: He is the anchor, surrounded by complementary hitters. Piazza had Edgardo Alfonzo and John Olerud, and Posey has Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval. As we saw after Posey was hurt in 2011, the San Francisco lineup is so very different without his presence.
And as a catcher, Posey has a whole lot of other responsibility, as well — and he’s better defensively than Piazza was. He can throw out runners when given the chance, as he did Saturday, when he cut down three Dodgers.
But no matter how many extra-credit points Posey should get for being a catcher, this is clear: With 24 days left in the regular season, he’s built a nice MVP-like résumé.
So Alfonso Soriano has been quite clear that he’s never, ever, ever going to play for the San Francisco Giants. He’s more or less set to veto anything that comes across with the words San Francisco on it. Guess he doesn’t realize two really obvious things.
1. He hits .217 against the San Francisco Giants pitching staff. This is headlined by a 7/50 line against Barry frickin’ Zito and 45 strikeouts in over 160 plate appearances. He would never have to face them again.
2. He would leave a team with a 51-80 record and join a team with the lead in the NL West. If he thinks a little bit of weather isn’t worth braving for the chance to join a team that has a chance to do something special, chase down a ring, well fuck him. The motivation for a ring is why all baseball players don a uniform. If he doesn’t think joining the Giants will get that done, well fuck him. We don’t want him, either.