World Series Wrap-Up: A Giants Concession Speech from a Dodger Fan

This is a chat conversation that happened between KOBEsh and friend of the blog and detested San Francisco Giants fan Nick. The narrative is “hate” and the mood is sullen.

nick: where’s the MAMBINO WS recap?
me: ….I’m working on it It’s going to be a really respectful, hateful concession speech
nick: i’ll take it

Truth be told, I didn’t watch a minute of Game 4. The thought of the Gigantes winning the World Series whilst my beloved Dodgers sit at home made me nauseous. Physically, emotionally, metaphysically–you name it, I wanted to throw it up. In my mind, visions of the on the mound celebrations came and went, with Sergio Romo shouting to the sky like Thor…except I wish he actually got struck by lightning. The injured Brian Wilson and his cartoonish face parading around the dugout like a Disney sports movie gone awry. World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval chugging around the bases after another titanic hit, defying all regular season expectations and any reasonable cardiologist’s prognosis for life expectancy. Hunter Pence nervously ticking about the outfield waiting for the final out, not knowing if he was more worried about catching the ball or everyone realizing how incredibly overrated he was. All these nightmarish scenarios danced around in my head, and kept me watching weeks old episodes of Monday Night Raw rather than the deciding game of the World Series. Worse yet…it’s the second time in three years I made that decision.

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series last night, sweeping the Detroit Tigers and capturing their seventh title in the Motor City. It’s the doomsday October scenario of any tried and true Dodger fan, short of hearing over the P.A. system “and now entering the game for Los Angeles, Jonathan Broxton”. There is no team–not any team from Boston, MA, South Bend, IN or Philadelphia, PA–that I detest with such a fervor as the San Francisco Giants. Save for a Boston Celtics Finals win in LA, there is no sports situation more grave, more upsetting and more nausea-inducing than seeing the Orange Devils from the Bay emerge victorious. Nothing.

But the worst part? They deserved it. Vomit bag number 1, filled.

me: Dude – it just wasn’t even fair
I knew Detroit was toast from the minute they swept the Yankees
nick: it was almost a shock when they scored
they looked flat the whole series
me: I couldn’t believe it
nick: our shutdown pitching was just unstoppable

The Giants couldn’t be have been more dominant over the four-game sweep, holding the Tigers to six runs in four games, including 20 consecutive shutout innings. The story wasn’t just that the Giants destroyed Detroit’s offense; it’s the manner in which they did so. Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers’ two all-world sluggers, were very literally almost shut down, going a combined 4 for 27, with one extra base hit between them, a 3-run shot by Cabrera in the deciding Game 4. Delmon Young, the ALCS MVP, fared the best out of D-Town’s big hitters, going 5 for 14 and knocking in 1/6th of his team’s complete runs…with 1 RBI.

All in all, the Tigers combined for a team OPS of .489, which essentially means that manager Jim Leyland would have been better off if the team had 9 Endy Chavezes batting instead. The team was limited to a stunning five extra base hits and a .159 batting average, all historically feeble numbers. The Giants’ bullpen, led by a resurgent Tim Lincecum in relief, pitched nearly 12 innings, struck out 17, walked 3, allowed 2 hits and 2 earned runs, both of which were off George Kontos. This was, perhaps, the most dominant showing of pitching ever in a World Series. Ever. I want to stand outside in the hurricane right now.

nick: this hurricane should be Hurricane Panda it just swept through Detroit
nick: i was at that Game 1
never been so giddy at a game

The most amazing part here? The Giants’ offense–a decent lineup who manufactured runs without a significant home run threat–managed to top the Tigers’ crack starting pitching despite the fact that regulars Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco and presumptive NL MVP Buster Posey struck out nearly 40% of their at-bats and lead-off man Angel Pagan was 2 for 16. Essentially, the Giants scored runs on the strength of their .300 average with men in scoring position and Pablo Sandoval’s unbelievable Manny Ramirez imitation. Actually, really unbelievable. I feel like I just saw a terrible Venezuelan knock-off re-make of Kung-Fu Panda, except this time all the children cried and I wanted to go on a hunger strike in disgust. Before the series, most forecasters predicted that for the Giants to beat the Tigers, they’d have to do so behind Buster Posey, Sandoval and Hunter Pence, as they couldn’t keep on counting on NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro and light-hitting shortstop Brandon Crawford for continued production. Only part of this soothsaying came true and yet the San Francisco found themselves battering the best pitcher on the planet, reigning AL Cy Young winner and AL MVP Justin Verlander, and just about every other Detroit pitcher to come their way.

But the absolute worst part about this? It looks all too familiar.

me: Look, I respect the Giants tremendously
They won the World Series PLAYING DODGERS BASEBALL
nick: ahh, it feels so good

Confident starting pitching, a dominant bullpen, manufacturing runs, stealing bases, season to season continuity, a couple power threats and a great game calling from a catcher. That. Is. Dodgers. Baseball. That is exactly the philosophy that got Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda to 11 World Series and won them 6 championships. This model that manager Bruce Bochy coaches around and GM Brian Sabean builds every year was the same one that Mike Scioscia, Orel Hersheiser, Fernando Valenzuela and Jerry Reuss were slotted into during the 1980’s. It’s the same continuity that Walter Alston built with Cey, Lopes, Garvey and Russell on the diamond and with Don Sutton and Tommy John on the mound in the decades before that.

It’s all the more painful to know that as the Dodgers have gotten away from the very model that brought them so much success early on, the San Francisco Giants have tackled this philosophy and won two championships. I feel like Jerry Seinfeld, watching Kenny Bania use the Ovaltine gimmick and ride it to international fame and fortune. Except this is real life, and I’d rather use Ovaltine as bath water if it erased the Giants’ two titles. Absolutely. Incredibly. Fantastically. Terribly. Unbelievable. Barf.

me: Mini Dynasty
Best NL team since the 90s Braves
I have a lot of respect for the Giants though, seriously. A ton. I just want to vomit everytime I think of this.
I actually had nightmares dude. real nightmares
nick: when do pitchers and catchers report?
me: Hopefully never. Baseball is ruined for me. Fuck caring. I hate it.

The San Francisco Giants deserve every single bit of praise. They didn’t react to the Dodgers massive mid-summer trades, but rather their internal needs. They didn’t panic and make chemistry altering deals that were part of the problem that kept LA 10 games back in the NL West Division. They didn’t panic after a lackluster title defense in 2011 but adding or subtracting the parts that got them their 2010 title, but rather augmented them with calculated gambles like Ryan Vogelsong, Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan. They realized that like the 2004 Red Sox, 2005 White Sox and 2011 Cardinals, this was a group of men who truly believed in each other and that no matter what any prognosticators said, they were going to win by relying on each other. What they got was a hot team that was built for the postseason, and were in the right competitive mindset when October began. They got one of the most dominant World Series team performances ever from a pitching perspective, and from a singular hitter’s perspective in Pablo Sandoval.

me: The worst part about this
Giants – 19 Pennants. Dodgers – 18 Pennants
Giants – 7 titles. Dodgers – 6 titles
nick: haha, i love this

I see no reason why the Giants can’t do this again. After their 2010 championship, I thought that it would be extremely difficult for San Francisco to replicate that type of performance. After all, journeyman Cody Ross turned in a 1.076 OPS playoffs and Juan Uribe spent a Weekend at Bernie’s long enough to hit two massive home runs. Yes, the team’s pitching, catching and fielding formula was in tact, but I didn’t think it’d be possible for the Giants to pull together a bunch of scrap heap hitters and count on them to come through when it counted most. But Brian Sabean did it again. Once is luck. Twice? It’s certainly more than that.

The Giants have the formula and in a brilliant strategy similar to Billy Beane’s Moneyball prism, the brass in SF have found a way to win smarter.

nick: i mean, when the Giants win next year, you might as well just retire from being a fan
me: I would quit baseball, honestly
nick: you can become a giants fan
me: I would rather chop off my dominant hand
nick: at least then you’ll root for a winner
me: I would rather chop off my dominant hand with a butter knife

The 2012 World Series champions were the best team in the field. Unlike the 1996 Yankees, 2006 Cardinals or 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, I wouldn’t point to them and say they were a middling team that got hot at the right time. They were a 94-win squad that knew exactly what they wanted to do and how they were going to win in the playoffs. They deserved the title. They won playing a style of baseball I grew up with and haven’t seen enough of in over 20 years. They won the right way, a statement that’s stricken my esophagus once more with the pangs of upchuck.

Congratulations, Giants fans. I hope you never find happiness again.

me: Okay, I’m going to write this piece
I’m going to use quotes from this conversation
It’s going to be awesome and I’m going to hate myself
nick: thank you sir. i look forward to reading it

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