If anyone wonders what brand’s all about, take a look at the San Francisco Giants. Theirs is a brand of baseball that’s only partly about bats, balls and a diamond. The Giants’ brand of baseball is low on superstars, high on heart and grounded by a fierce team spirit.
Let’s take a look at this extraordinary group of guys
There’s Reverend Pence–the latecomer who inspired the team to win another game because they were having too much fun to let the season end. Timmy had a dreadful year, but redeemed himself by roaring out of the bullpen and shutting down our playoff opponents. MVP Marco Scutaro’s midseason arrival was what one sportscaster called a “band-aid”, but he turned out to be the little guy who just kept on making the big plays. Pablo? We forgave his packing around an extra 40 pounds when he hit three homeruns in the first game of the World Series. Buster, with his quiet grace, leadership and extraordinary skill, raised the bar in every single game he played.
And the Brandons?
Crawford began the season as a bungler and ended it as a magician, while Belt finally lived up to his name. Pagan and Blanco became contortionists in the outfield, as the Giants became known for some of the best defense in major league baseball. We counted on Matt Cain to be our brilliantly consistent workhorse, and this year we were rewarded with a perfect game; Barry Zito triumphed over the formidable Verlander and finally earned his exorbitant salary; and Ryan Vogelsong proved that steely concentration and tenacity win ballgames, and age is irrelevant.
Never underestimate a powerful bullpen
When Bochy made his frequent trips to the mound, we wondered which who was up next, but it didn’t really matter because we had the best bullpen in baseball–Affeldt, Casilla, Lopez, etc. We loved Romo, who threw deadly sliders with soulful intensity; and somewhere over the course of the summer, we looked at each other and realized that Sergio had become a superb closer.
Sweeping the team that swept the Yankees
I’m as surprised as anyone that we pulled this one out of the hat. The Giants are known for torture ball, not coming from behind to win against impossible odds. If someone had told me in April that we’d sweep the team that swept the Yankees, I would never have believed him.
A lesson learned: You can’t buy a World Series
The best part is that we competed against teams that spent hundreds of millions of dollars on high-priced players to buy a championship. But what those high-priced teams didn’t have was an all-important intangible–the sheer will to keep winning one more game because they loved playing baseball together. I’m looking forward to February–just four more months until the call for pitchers and catchers to report. Don’t stop believing; hold on to the feeling.
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