Not sure how many Phillies fans actually watched -or paid attention to – the World Series, but the San Francisco Giants are World Champions. The Bruce Bochy-led team that got into the playoffs on the last day in the middle of a three-team race ran through the Braves, Phillies, and Rangers en route to their first title since they were the New York Giants in 1954.
And you thought we had it bad in 2008? Congrats go out to the Giants club that took down the mighty Phillies with a healthy dose of scrappiness and pitching, determination and grit. All of those traits come into play here because the Giants were not the most talented team of the bunch. Hell, you could make an argument that based on their offense, they were one of the least talented teams in the playoffs altogether. But it didn’t matter; they hit their hot streak at the right time, a la the 2006 Cardinals, 2003 Marlins, or 2000 Yankees.
What’s even more wild is Edgar Renteria being named World Series MVP. Let that one sink in. The Giants shortstop was almost a complete non-factor through the first round of the playoffs, yet went on a tear in the World Series against the Texas Rangers hitting .412 (7-for-17) with two home runs and six RBI. The guy hit only three home runs in the regular season. Renteria is also one of the guys responsible for winning the Marlins their first World Championship in 1997. Talk about coming full circle.
That’s what this Giants team was all about, as Phillies fans witnessed firsthand in the NLCS. A scrap-heap of players thrown together, all from different directions, each bringing something different to the table.
Pat Burrell was exiled from Tampa Bay, catches on with the Giants in June an hits 18 home runs in 96 games. He just won his second ring. Cody Ross landed in San Fran as a waiver pickup in late August. He only tortured the Phillies in the NLCS, winning the MVP of the series, single handedly crushing the dreams of the faithful who believed the Phils were destined for a dynasty.
Then there is rookie Buster Posey who we’ll be hearing about for the next 15 years. And Andres Torres who absolutely stunk through the first the first seven games of the postseason before going on a mini-tear of his own starting in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Phillies. Sprinkle in pesky Freddy Sanchez, add in some Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe, and you find that nearly every “weapon” the Giants possessed on offense came through in some fashion. That’s how teams win in the playoffs, and that’s exactly what this “team of destiny” did.
And of course, that’s before we even get to the ridiculous pitching staff. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner were brilliant throughout the postseason, and although Jonathan Sanchez was roughed up by the Phillies in the NLCS, he still finished October with an ERA of 4.05. Lefty reliever Javier Lopez is a name Phillies fans won’t soon forget. He calmly set down left-handers with ease. Brian Wilson anchored the bullpen with his wild beard that makes fans in San Fran go crazy and here in Philly want to reach for the Wahl trimmer.
Although the Giants did make it hell for many here in Philly, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Again, they didn’t possess the most talent, but they made it work. It was a motley crew of baseball players that was simply too much to stop.