Saturday, October 27, 2012
GiantI love baseball. This time of year I love baseball so much I overlook the high salaries and inflated egos that sit in the club boxes, and watch the game and its players at their finest. It's World Series time, and there are two fundamental rules about World Series time as opposed to the rest of the season. First, the post season is comprised of short do or die sets, which means each single game is crucial to the success of the team. There are (this year) a maximum of 20 games available to the last two teams, the ones facing each other in the Series, and the first team to win eleven (or twelve with the extra wildcard) takes all. You can't have a four game losing streak in the Post Season and still come out on top. That said, my hat is off to the San Francisco Giants. It's still early in the Series, but they did what they had to do so far, against a very heavy hitting team. Now, I grew up a Yankee fan, but I also grew up a Giant fan, allowing me one favorite per league. I had hoped for a NY-SF series, reprising the 1962 games, but Detroit's pitching and the Yankees' total lack of hitting outside Ibanez put an end to that dream. It did give me a no conflict choice to root for, and the Jints have done to Detroit in Games One and Two what Detroit did to New York. Sorry, Bill! The Giants won Game 1, 8-3. But it was never that close, largely due to Panda slamming three home runs, Blanco making two great catches, and Zito and Lincecom baffling Detroit hitters. What I saw was a great pitcher bested by a good one, and a good hitter having a great night -- and how a bad hop can open up the floodgates. The Giants showed the Cardinals that they were stingy with runs allowed, would not beat themselves on the field, and had a knack for grabbing opportunity when it came to them. Game Two against Detroit followed the same formula, as great defensive plays robbed Detroit of any scoring opportunities, the starter and relievers gave up zero runs -- managing to keep both Cabrera and Fielder in the yard -- and the hitters manufactured the only run they needed late in the game on a double play grounder, with an insurance run on a sacrifce fly after a bunt that should have rolled foul didn't. The Giants only got five hits in the game. Detroit got two. Who are these guys? Detroit must be wondering the same thing, like Butch and Sundance persued relentlessly. The Giants hit 103 home runs as a team, lowest total in the majors. Their name recognition players are mostly on the mound. And yet, over the last five games they played, they have allowed four runs and hurled three shutouts while scoring thirty times. Go Giants! Detroit is an excellent team. They will be playing at home in a short while for Game Three. It is hard for me to imagine the Tigers not taking at least one game at home. If they take one, then Verlander will get the chance to pitch again, and he probably won't repeat the mistakes he made to Sandoval in Game One. But the Giants will take the Series, in six games, back home to a screaming crowd in PacBell Park. If they don't, and Detroit rebounds, well, after slipping into this hole it would make them as remarkable a team as they seem to be. Right now, the Giants seem just that little more remarkable, and for a Giants fan it feels really good to have the edge be in our favor for a change. But baseball is a funny game. That's why I love it so much -- anything can happen, and with the Giants, it usually does.