San Francisco Beats Lee Again, Wins World Series Four–One

21:07 Mon 01 Nov 2010
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The Giants baseball franchise technically had five World Series titles before today: 1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, and 1954. However, while the franchise retained its name and history when it moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958, the truth is that San Francisco has never had a World Series title, as it didn’t have a team before 1958, and since then the team’s history has been one of frustration, especially in 2002, when it looked like the drought was finally over against the Angels in Game Six. No titles.

Until tonight.

Tonight, Tim Lincecum pitched eight innings of one-run, three-hit ball, and the Giants once again got to Cliff Lee, hanging three runs on him off a Renteria home run in the seventh, and Brian Wilson closed out the ninth to bring this city its first ever baseball championship.

It’s hard to convey what a big deal this is. I haven’t seen the city this frenetic before. I wasn’t out on election night in 2008, so maybe it was similar. The only thing I can think of is New York in 1982, when Italy won the World Cup—I lived in an Italian neighborhood—and that definitely wasn’t city-wide in the way this is. I (sadly) moved here after the glory days of the 49ers were over, so I don’t know what things were like after any of their Super Bowl wins, but I assume it must be a little like the celebration after Super Bowl XVI.

Edgar Renteria is the Series MVP, deservedly so, especially after taking Lee out of the park for three runs, but this win was really built on pitching. The Giants’ pitching staff is simply fantastic. Game One was an anomaly, for both teams, with the aces going down in flames. Game Two was a shutout by Matt Cain. Game Three, Jonathan Sanchez gave up four runs, which he was heartily criticized for around here, but really, that’s not a bad number against the club with the best regular-season batting average in baseball. Game Four, Bumgarner pitches another shutout, and tonight Timmy gave up just a single run. That’s an entirely homegrown pitching staff right there (expensive free agent Barry Zito having been left off the postseason rotation), shutting down a fearsome offense, one that wiped out the Yankees’ pitching in six games in the ALCS.

And so San Francisco has come all the way back from the Barry Bonds era, which ultimately goes in the books as a failure due to the lack of a title, due to that 2002 meltdown, and San Francisco has come back not just from 2002 but from 1989 and 1962—1962, when they lost in seven games to the Yankees.

Had the Yankees won the ALCS, it would have been the first postseason showdown between the two teams in 48 years, and would have been a historic occasion regardless of the outcome. Just as this World Series was: the city of San Francisco has never had a title, and neither have the Rangers. Nor has Texas, for that matter.

If it had been a Yankees–Giants series, I would have been rooting for New York. I wouldn’t have been able to help it. And that would have made occasions like this evening a little awkward, as I wouldn’t have been able to cheer for the Giants. I wouldn’t have been that disappointed, but still, I would have been sad for the Yankees. Texas, on the other hand, I would have been against even had they not been playing the Giants.

I cheered for the Giants tonight, out drinking with friends, and it was genuine. I cheered for the Giants yesterday, watching the game at my desk at home, and that was genuine too. I roared at every Giant hit, and (yesterday) at every Freddy Sanchez act of defensive prestidigitation. I had been rooting for the Giants all season, appreciative of their fantastic pitching and hoping for a win for the team of what is, after all, one of my home towns (and one of only two with any baseball teams…). So I was truly excited when it came to the seventh, the eighth, the ninth, and the Rangers presented no real threats. And I jumped for joy when Wilson struck out Cruz to end it.

All that being said, it was still not deep-down my true team of teams taking the Series. That remains the Yankees, and so my celebrations, while heartfelt, were relatively short-lived, and I didn’t hang around that long, and that’s partly why I’m not out right now. (Of course, had it been a Yankees win, I wouldn’t have had many people to celebrate with.)

I’m happy at the win, though. I’m happy at the win, happy for the city, and happy for all the fans whose long drought is finally over. I’m happy for a team that did it, in the end, with a motley crew of position players and an old-school homegrown pitching staff.

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