November 04, 2010
And here we are.
After 29 bloggers wrote splitsville letters to their respective teams, we couldn't let the world champions miss out on the fun.
But a "Dear John" missive wouldn't work, of course, so we had to switch gears just a little bit. Here's Dave Tobener of @gggiants pledging his undying love to his deserving and newly crowned title team. We here at Big League Stew wish them the very best.
Dear San Francisco Giants,
I have to admit, part of me didn't think we'd ever get to this place. You've teased me so many times before: '87, '89, '93, '97, '00, '02, '03, '04. My love for you was tempered by all of the horrible things you've done to me over the years. There was Candy Maldonado losing that ball in the lights; Salomon Torres(notes) getting lit up; almost getting no-hit by Bobby Jones in an elimination game; Dusty Baker handing Russ Ortiz(notes) the game ball; Steve Finley hitting a walk-off grand slam to clinch the division for the Dodgers. And that's just a sampling, Giants. So many times you've broken my heart, and yet I always found my way back to you. I didn't know if I was an eternal optimist or some kind of freaky masochist.
Ah, but Giants, this year was different. This year, when no one outside of San Francisco thought you had a chance, you won the division. This year, when no one thought you had any hope of getting out of the National League playoffs, you handled the Braves and the Phillies.
And this year, when no one thought you had a prayer against the Rangers and their lineup, you went out and absolutely dominated them. You brought the first World Series championship to The City, and left us with the hope of more to come. You've made up for anything you did to me in the past, and then some. You completely redeemed yourself.
The San Francisco Giants are World Series champions. I won't ever get sick of saying that, and you'll excuse me if I just keep repeating it over and over until spring training.
The Good Times: Where to begin? The regular season had so many incredible moments, starting with Edgar Renteria's(notes) ninth-inning bomb off of Billy Wagner(notes) in the home opener (a sign of things to come in November). There was Matt Cain(notes) one-hitting the Diamondbacks in May and then snuffing the Rockies' playoff hopes in Colorado four months later. Pat Burrell(notes) and Juan Uribe(notes) both hit game-clinching homers off of Jonathan Broxton(notes) to beat the Dodgers on two separate occasions. The great Monte Irvin finally saw his number retired. Aubrey Huff(notes) nearly collapsed from exhaustion after hitting an inside-the-park home run. Rookie Darren Ford(notes), the fastest Giant since ... uh... ever, sped around the bases and won a crucial game in September with his legs. Jose Guillen(notes) managed to make it through almost half a season without trying to strangle a coach and/or teammate. There were just so many memorable moments, Giants. It's hard to list them all.
I have to tell you though, Giants, it wasn't just single-game moments that made me love you this season. No, it was the individual stories that made you so compelling. The national media labeled you as so many things: misfits, rejects, guys who could barely play baseball. But to Giants fans, you were so much more. You were reclamation projects making major contributions like Burrell, Huff and Santiago Casilla(notes). You were veteran players nobody else wanted coming through in the clutch like Renteria, Uribe and Andres Torres(notes). You were midseason arrivals propelling the team to the playoffs like Javier Lopez(notes), Ramon Ramirez(notes), Mike Fontenot(notes) and Cody Ross(notes). You were homegrown talent coming into your own like Cain, Buster Posey(notes), Jonathan Sanchez(notes) and Madison Bumgarner(notes). And you were the unstoppable force of Tim Lincecum(notes) and Brian Wilson(notes).
You were a team, Giants, in the truest sense of the word. And I love you for it.
Bumps In The Road: Oh, there were some bad times. Duane Kuiper didn't coin the phrase "Giants Baseball: Torture" for nothing.
You made things interesting, Giants. By my estimation, you played in approximately 162 one-run games this year alone (it felt that way, at least). You went through stretches where the offense completely disappeared and the pitching staff was left to fend for itself. You were a game over .500 in early July and didn't look at all like a playoff team. You stubbornly stuck with guys like Bengie Molina(notes) and Todd Wellemeyer(notes) for months while Posey and Bumgarner dominated in the minors.
And let's not forget the players. Lincecum went through a nightmare month of August that had some people suggesting he was done. Mark DeRosa(notes), counted on to be a major run producer, played barely a month before his wrist gave out. Pablo Sandoval's(notes) waistline somehow got bigger and his skills regressed to the point where you wonder if he's even going to be on the team next season. Aaron Rowand(notes) had an awful year that matched his awful contract. Barry Zito(notes) actually looked like a good pitcher again for the first half of the season, then went 1-8 down the stretch. There were some ugly, ugly performances this year.
But you know what? None of that even matters today.
The Even Better Times: You made the playoffs for the first time since '03. Hardly anyone thought you'd beat the Braves, but you took care of them in four, winning the last two on the road against the team with MLB's best home record. In the NLCS, virtually everyone expected the Phillies to just toss their caps and gloves out onto the field and sweep the series. Their pitching was too good, their hitting was unstoppable, blah, blah, blah. Instead, you manhandled their hitters (swing the bat any time now, Ryan Howard(notes)) and beat every member of the vaunted "H20" trio. You dispatched the Phillies in six (clinching on the road again) and moved onto the World Series.
And what a World Series it was. Hardly anyone expected you to win (yet again), but you proved everyone wrong (yet again). You destroyed the Rangers: Their hitters didn't stand a chance against your pitching staff, and you even managed to beat The Messiah (or was that Cliff Lee(notes)?) twice. I mean, you shut out the Rangers twice! In the World Series! They scored 12 runs total, and seven of them came in Game 1! That's just ridiculous. The Rangers were a Jonathan Sanchez location mistake away from being swept, and yet you were the underdogs going into that series? Give me a break.
Most importantly though, Giants, you eased the pain of generations of Giants fans. There have been people waiting literally their entire lives for a World Series victory parade in San Francisco, and you gave it to them. You delivered the final piece to a storied, decorated franchise. And you made it possible for me to watch footage of the '02 Series without having the urge to pummel Scott Spiezio to a pulp. That's an impressive feat.
Let's Stay Together: When I think about you, Giants, I feel like Champ Kind telling Ron Burgundy exactly how much he misses him. You've given me so much over the years: good times, bad times, make-me-so-angry-I-could-punch-myself-in-the-face times, and now, one of the best moments of my life. I'll always remember the feeling that washed over me when you won the World Series, Giants, and I can't wait to feel it again.
Damn it, Giants ... I didn't want to get this emotional. I promised myself I wouldn't, but I can't help it with you. Other people may switch team allegiances like Jack White switches bands, but not me. I'm not dumping you, San Francisco Giants ... no, I want to be with you for the rest of my life. Yeah, I said it. Who cares what anyone else thinks? We're just a couple of crazy kids trying to make this whole thing work. Come on over to my place, Giants, and stay a while. Hell, you can stay forever. I want you to stay forever.
Just do me a favor ... Don't bring The Machine with you.