And I'm not sure it'll ever hit me more than that. I'm not some fan who has waited 56 long years for this to happen; I've been a loyal fan since 2002. It's not all that uncommon for a fan to go 8 years without seeing his/her favorite team win a championship. So, there was no 56 year long wait being lifted off my back. I'm not trying to say that this doesn't mean a ton to me. This feeling, this moment is the only reason you become and stay a sports fan. There's no reason to put yourself through all the torture, disappointment, and stress that comes with being loyal towards a team unless it eventually pays off in the form of a championship. No more is "The San Francisco Giants suck because they've never even won a World Series" taunting from fans of other teams. No more do I have to feel depressed about what happened in 2002. And ultimately, because I can't claim the long, painful wait for this feeling, this World Series victory that so many others have waited an eternity for, what I take away the most is how much I love and will always love this friggin' team.
So many Giants fans were upset that the media deemed this team "misfits". But to me, that's not an insult, and it's kind of the perfect way to describe the 2010 Giants. In some sense, you could say "misfits" is completely wrong because the reason we love this team so much is because their personalities fit together so well. On the other hand, the Giants are made up of so many different parts from different places, they are misfits. And that made this team more fun to root for. This team was not supposed to do this. A team with Cody Ross batting cleanup in Game 5 of the World Series should not dominate the World Series. But they did, and all of us Giants fans knew they could do it. That's where the media got it wrong. No one thought this team had a chance. They overlooked the pitching and mostly judged the Giants on their lack of hitting. But that's okay. It doesn't matter. The Giants are a bunch of misfits. The Giants are World Champions.
I will remember this postseason primarily for the pitching. I will remember Tim Lincecum pitching one of the best games in postseason history in the NLDS, a game that, according to Game Score and according to us, was even better than Roy Halladay's no-hitter. I will remember Matt Cain not allowing one single earned run in these playoffs, all the while proving to the national media that he's way better than just an average innings eater. I will remember Madison Bumgarner for being the 21-year old rookie that absolutely shut down the American League's best offense in a must win game. And I will remember Jonathan Sanchez for being Jonathan Sanchez. A pitcher who frustrated the hell out of Giants fans, but also a pitcher who was capable of dominance, as he showed in Game 3 of the NLDS.
I will never forget knowing that in the late innings, Josh Hamilton, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jason Heyward had no chance to do anything against us because of Javier Lopez. I will never forget Brian Wilson, his fantastic beard, and his pal, The Machine. I will never forget Jeremy Affeldt coming in with runners on base and 0 outs after a disastrous start for Jonathan Sanchez and shutting down the Phillies lineup on the way to an NLCS clinching victory. I will never forget that while Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, and Ramon Ramirez struggled at times, at least they kept the torture alive. I will never forget how incredibly happy Guillermo Mota looked while celebrating a World Series win, even though he barely played.
How can you not love Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell? Pat Burrell struggled mightily in the World Series, but he and Huff brought a great clubhouse energy to this team all year that can't be overstated. Aubrey Huff wore the now infamous red rally thong that coincided with the Giants' success. And their punching of each other after their teammates did great things? Purely awesome. I will never forget that.
I can't forget Buster Posey and I won't have to. I'll remember his fantastic rookie year, carrying the Giants' offense from the moment he was called up. That guy is gonna be around for long time and will hopefully experience many Giants World Series victories.
I won't forget the top 2 hitters in the order, Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez, coming up huge for the Giants in the World Series. For never failing to get to a flyball in the outfield and for having a completely unexpected, great season, I will always love Torres. I will always remember Freddy Sanchez's 3 doubles off Cliff Lee in Game 1 and his great defense all year.
Nobody will ever forget what Cody Ross did for the Giants. No Giants hitter was hitting well against the Phillies in the NLCS besides Ross, who carried the offense on his back. He became the face of the misfits. The waiver wire pickup earned himself a probable starting job next year, all because of one helluva postseason.
Juan Uribe. How many crazy, game-winning home runs did he have? It seems like a lot. The one that stood out was the go ahead 3-run homer off Jonathan Broxton in Dodger Stadium. Or how about his 3-run bomb in Game 1 that pretty much sealed the victory? But the one that he'll be remembered forever in Giants history for is his opposite field solo shot that sent the Gaints to the World Series.
The man who was so easy to hate. He made too much money, he just wasn't very good, and I couldn't wait for his contract to end. All of that is completely gone. If I ever remember Edgar Renteria for one thing, it won't be any of that stuff. It'll be his 3-run homer off Cliff Lee in Game 5. Of all people, Renteria did that. Clinched the World Series. World Series MVP. A Giants World Series hero forever.
I will remember all of the guys who didn't do much, but were important nonetheless. Pablo Sandoval barely played and lost his starting job. But I will remember his opposite field double to give the Giants a lead in Game 4 of the NLCS and how pumped up he was when he got into 2nd base. Nate Schierholtz didn't look like he did much, but just having him in the outfield was huge, late in games. Eli Whiteside and Mike Fontenot didn't play in the World Series and Travis Ishikawa didn't do anything too significant, but I will always remember them for being a part of this team.
I have a whole new appreciation for guys like Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito, veterans who had to deal with extremely reduced roles. Rowand has been dealing with it all season, and we've never heard the slightest complaint from him. Zito was left off the postseason roster in favor of guys much younger and less experienced than him. Never heard any negativity from him. Both were always cheering their teammates on and excitedly participating in the many celebratory champagne showers.
And it's amazing how much my opinion of Bruce Bochy has changed. Bochy had an incredible postseason. And I realize that he's not a great manager, but considering the offense he had to work with, I appreciate the job he did. And seeing what some of the other postseason managers did, I came to the conclusion that Bochy is not all that bad. It's easy to criticize a manager and I'm sure I'll do it many times, but Bruce Bochy made great decisions at the most important time in his managerial career. I feel for good for a guy who's been in baseball for 35 years and finally has a World Series ring.
This feels sweet because it was so unexpected. I hated the signing of Huff. I didn't care for bringing up Pat Burrell so early after he was signed. We re-signed Bengie Molina at the beginning of the year. Todd Wellemeyer. I came into this year feeling the same way I've felt for the last couple of years. We were going to have a great pitching staff and a terrible offense. I'll be honest: I did not see the Giants getting to the playoffs unless they acquired a big bat. But they acquired Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Javier Lopez and called up Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. They got great seasons from Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres. And this is the end result. World Series Champions. This specific team will never be the same. Let's savor it. Let's enjoy it. We deserve it. The Giants deserve it. It's been a great season and an even better postseason. And while I enjoy this feeling, I'm already counting down the days until Spring Training. Let's do it again.