I woke up this morning when the alarm went off at 4:50. Got up, threw on some clothes, loaded my wife’s stuff into the back of our van (the Supermodel is a polling inspector for today’s election — more on that tomorrow, maybe). I had four hours of sleep, about half my usual (low) coordination — and I felt wonderful.
Why? The San Francisco Giants are the world champions of bseball.
So, following up Friday’s entry, some more random thoughts on the World Series, los Gigantes, and the washing away of 52-plus years of frustration:
* First, some of my Twitter brain-droppings from games 3,4 and 5:
- (After Saturday’s 4-2 Texas win in game 3:) The Rangers got away with one tonight … but tomorrow they’re gonna get Bumgarned!
- (During the Rangers’ relief corps’ game-4 pratfall:) Ah, the Texas Rangers bullpen. You can always count on them to help out … the other team.
- (After Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz to end game 5 and close the Series:) The #sfgiants are world champions of the world. This was worth waiting my entire life for. Oh my!
- (No context necessary:) And I can’t have any more kids, but if I did, I’d name it Lincecum. Whether it was a boy or a girl – Lincecum Anselmo. Dead serious.
(I wasn’t really “dead serious” about that last one. But would you have blamed me if I was?)
* When Edgar Renteria went yard in the seventh inning of game 5, Nina was just coming back into the living room. I pointed to the TV screen and said, “you’re watching the World Series MVP.” Between that and the “Bumgarned” line, I almost feel like Nostranselmo. But I’m sure it’ll pass … (Incidentally, I remember about five years ago looking at Renteria’s lifetime stats and realizing he had a credible shot at 3000 hits and thus the Hall of Fame. His career’s fallen off a cliff since then, but I’m glad he got one more big moment. I just hope Jose Guillen had nothing to do with it.)
* “Fear the Beard” is one of my all-time favorite slogans — and between Brian Wilson and Zach Galifianakis, I’m hoping bushy full beards become the latest hip fad. It would be nice to be trendy for once …
* One guy who could use to get on the bushy-beard bandwagon: Buster Posey. It’s great to have the 21st-century Johnny Bench on my team, but you have to admit his face makes him look like he wandered over from Babe Ruth League. Throw away the razor, Pose!
* Pat Burrell is probably just glad that years from now, no one will remember what an awful World Series he had — 0-for-13, 11 strikeouts, 133 (!) OPS. After all, everyone forgets Gil Hodges’ 1952 fall classic, when he went 0-for-21 and his team lost a seven-game Series, six of the games being decided by two runs or less. (Well, everyone forgets except baseball-history nerds like myself. And maybe a few septuagenarian Brooklynites. But still.) But if anyone brings it up, Pat … just blind them with your ring, OK?
* For so many Giants figures, last night was a career moment. Manager Bruce Bochy has been in pro ball for 35 years, went to the postseason as a player and a manager — and hadn’t even won a World Series game before last Wednesday. Brian Sabean, the Giants GM for 15 years now, had been openly questioned for his over-reliance on over-30 players and his tendency to give big-money deals to the wrong guys (Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand topping the list). And, as the Fox announcers pointed out half a zillion times, Aubrey Huff had played 1479 major league games without ever making the playoffs until a month ago. They ALL getting rings now!
(And as one of Sabean’s sometime critics, I apologize. Clearly, Brian, you were right and I was wrong. At least this time.)
* Fox’s coverage continued to range from mediocre to “crap, I could do better than that!” The re-re-re-re-re-re-reiteration of players’ stats and background items, the shoehorning of distracting ads into the coverage, the reading out loud of graphics on the screen (contrary to popular belief, Fox, most of your audience CAN read!), and of course the pointless/inaccurate/senile “observations” of Tim McCarver. The bright spot out of it all was that Joe Buck seemed to get increasingly testy with MCarver when the latter would either say something moronic or contradict what Buck had just said (or both). Wouldn’t it be great if Buck went to Fox Sports president David Hill and said, “look, I’ve tried, but enough is enough — either he goes, or I’m sticking to the NFL next October”? (Not that Buck is that great a baseball play-by-play man — he’s just okay — but compared to McCarver, he’s Vin freaking Scully.)
* Remember the A-Rod/Ryan Howard joke I made in the last post? Feel free to add Josh Hamilton, who watched it go by for the third-to-last out of game 5. Still, Josh has his lovely wife, a great support system and (in a few days) the American League MVP trophy, so I wouldn’t feel too bad for him.
* And really, I have nothing but respect for the Rangers and their organization, who did a great job all year in the midst of turmoil (the bankruptcy of their old owner and the mid-season sale of the club) and showed a team spirit the equal of their World Series opponents. I was all prepared to root for Texas should the Phillies have won the NL pennant, and it’s nice to see that franchise finally make it to the last game after 50 years. They have nothing to hang their heads about. Except maybe insufficient pitching.
* Another joke (for those who have heard a particular postgame celebration sound clip): A publisher is creating an alphabet book featuring the Giants. It’ll have Bruce Bochy for the letter B, reliever Ramon Ramirez for the letter R … and Tim Lincecum for the letter F.
* The bad news, however … you won’t see the same lineup of “misfits” wearing orange-and-black next April. A lot of the featured Giants — Juan Uribe, Cody Ross, Huff and Renteria among them — were in the final years of their contracts, and you know other teams are going to be waving lots of money around at some of them. (Though team officials say that bringing back Huff is a high priority.) Rumors are that Renteria may retire. And the Giants are hamstrung by the more than $30 million they owe to Zito (not on the playoff roster) and Rowand (four WS at-bats) for 2011. This was a team, like the 2004 Red Sox, that was built to win for one year and one year only, with the knowledge that several players would be lost as soon as free agency began.. But I don’t know a Sox fan who will give up that year for anything. And no Giants fan will give up 2010, regardless of what happens next.
* Including me. Because for the first time, I got to root for a champion.
I really am dead serious this time. As a kid, my favorite teams were the California Angels (baseball) and Los Angeles Rams (football). I watched the Angels lose heartbreaking American League Championship Series in 1982 (up two games to none, they blew the next three and the pennant to Milwaukee) and 1986 (don’t say the words “Dave Henderson” in my house, please), and the Rams cough up a fourth-quarter lead in Super Bowl XIV and a lost of NFC championship games to Minnesota, Dallas, San Francisco and Chicago.
From 1988 to 1997, I was elsewhere in my life, not really paying much attention to sports, but came back and eventually chose as my teams the Giants (baseball), the Carolina Panthers (football, and don’t ask me why — I blame the trauma of the Rams moving to Missouri) and the Sacramento Kings (basketball). Which got me the eighth inning of game 6 in the 2002 World Series (losing to the Angels; ah, the irony), Adam Viniateri’s field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXXVIII and Dick Baveta throwing game 6 of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals to the Lakers. (2002 … bad year for me in general.) Not once had one of my favorite teams ever been standing at the end of the final game.
Until now. For the first time I get to say, “MY team is the best!” And boy, does it feel good. It’s silly, I know — but I’ll take it nonetheless. Hummmmm-baby.