What a freaking playoff run! I can't believe the Giants actually won the whole damn thing. Not that this team wasn't able to get it done, but historically one would think that of all the SF Giants, it would be far more likely for Mays, McCovey, Will Clark, Matt Williams, Barry Bonds, or even Kevin Mitchel to have a San Francisco Giant World Championship ring over the likes of Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff. But in the end, this TEAM got it done the way great TEAMS finish- with the first San Francisco championship since 1994 (49ers.)
How in the holy hell did this happen? I have some theories and impressions from this great playoff run.
- Pitching wins championships. The Giants are nowhere without their absolutely sick home-grown pitching staff. Timmy the Freak was just incredible last night, and was a beast throughout the playoffs. Matt Cain didn't give up a run during the playoffs (and I was fortunate enough to attend Game 3 of the NLCS where Cain dominated the Phils.) Jonathan Sanchez was the weakest link during the playoffs, but even he had some stellar pitching performances (well, at least Game 3 of the NLDS.) And what can I say about Madison Bumgarner? The guy is a 21 year old stud who pitched 8 ridiculous innings in Game 4 of the World Series (not to mention 2 shutout innings in Game 6 of the NLCS.) Brian Wilson anchors a fantastic bullpen that was built to finish games in high pressure situations. The pitching staff should get all the credit in the world for being one of the best staffs in playoff history (yep- I said it. What other staff was able to win playoff games and series with such minimal offense?)
- Sometimes, timely offense is better than being explosive. Well, at least in the Giants' case, no one on the national media outlets believed the Giants could win it all because their offense was not dynamic enough. I think we all found that the offense was just dynamic enough. Every night there was a new person getting huge hits to produce runs against Roy Halladay, Derek Lowe, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, or Cliff Lee. For guys like Cody Ross, Edgar Renteria, and Aubrey Huff to be such huge parts of a world championship team is simply amazing. It was a lot of fun to watch.
- Brian Wilson's interviews are the best ever. Is there a more entertaining guy to listen to than Brian Wilson? Doubtful. His post-game and post-series interviews were top notch. I still laugh thinking about when Chris Rose told B-Weezy that CJ Wilson had tweeted, "See your beard real soon," and the bearded Wilson replied with, "Sounds delicious."
- There is not one singular formula that creates baseball championships, but I've got a good one. True, everyone gets mad at the Yankees for buying players. Everyone is annoyed at the Red Sox because their fans have gone over the edge since winning two championships. And everyone either feels sorry for or likes to rub it in to Cub fans for the Cubs' futility. Those are your top 3 payrolls in baseball. Why are the Yankees consistently good/great, the Red Sox are pretty consistent, and the Cubs up and down like Randy Moss's employment status. That was too long of a set up, here is the real deal- teams that spend money in scouting will ultimately be more competitive than other regardless of major league payroll. How on Earth are the Rays competing in the AL East? They've hit on a many great draft picks and are reaping the benefits. How did the Giants just win the World Series? Home-grown pitching. How are the Phillies competitive every year? Home-grown talent like Howard, Utley and Hamels have allowed them to strategically go out and pay for big name players (Halladay and Oswalt, among others) to continue to play at a high level. Why are the Yankees good every year? It STARTS with their core of Jeter, Posada, Rivera, and Pettitte who are ALL home-grown talent. It always helps to have the money to go out and sign big name players, but you need a core of players from your own system to make things really go.
- I want this SO bad for the Cubs. Watching the Giants was a lot of fun. I was actively cheering for them to get it done. As soon as they did, I immediately wished it was the Cubs. I really think that this Giants team was a hybrid between the 2003 Marlins and the 2003 Cubs. The 2003 Marlins were pesky hitters that just annoyed the opposition with clutch hits (the Marlins were a lot faster at the top of the line up, but did include a mix of journeymen and young studs.) The 2003 Cubs had a great pitching staff. In fact, had those pitchers stayed healthy, I think the Cubs would've been able to to turn their losing fortunes around. That year, they their 1-4 was Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, and Matt Clement. Awesome stuff. In 2004, they went out and signed Greg Maddux to add to that depth. Unfortunately, we know how that all ended up and we never got to see just how dominant that Cubs staff could have been. Hopefully, we will get to see these young Giant pitchers grow into an even more dominant staff. My main point, I want the Cubs to figure this out. Whatever it takes. I think their focus on young players is going in the right direction, but please put it all together. One would hope that in the end, they don't run into the buzzsaw that is the Giants pitching staff, but I'll welcome it if they can get that far.
So that's it. The Giants are World Champions. Wow. What a great day for Northern California. Enjoy it- it is well deserved!