An Improbable Win

By Anelise Cimino

“What happened?” reverberates across the nation as the San Francisco Giants raise their second World Series championship trophy in the past three years. Baseball fans from San Fran to New York keep asking that question repeatedly, even as the Giants raise their trophy as World Series Champs. The fans in San Fran say it in ecstatic disbelief while the New Yorkers warble miserably as they look at the Yankees’ payroll.

These feelings of ecstatic disbelief, as well as stunned horror, have been constant themes throughout the MLB Playoffs. We saw teams crumble, pitchers benched, in-field flies, slow-rollers that stayed fair. We saw the best win percentage in baseball mean nothing, a three home-run performance in Game 1 and a Triple Crown winner unable to cap off his title with a single World Series win.

The Giants were supposed to be swept by the Cincinnati Reds and bludgeoned by the Cardinals in the NLCS, but the Giants kept coming back. The improbability of winning the pennant was not lost on the Giants. Even though there was always the belief that they could do it, several players kept waking up in the morning asking “is it real?” Marco Scuatro was interviewed by Erin Andrews minutes before Game 1 began and it still seemed like he couldn’t believe he was even there. Standing there on the cusp of beginning Game 1, Scuatro was still in awe that his team had even made it.  They believed they could do it, but who really thought they’d come through? Indeed, “what happened?”

The dreamlike daze that the Giants seemed to be experiencing since beating the Reds did not daze them on the field against the Cardinals or the Tigers. Sandoval, Posey, Romo, Scuatro and many others stepped up when they were needed most and produced big-time runs and plays that when combined with a little luck, gave them the boost they needed to win the World Series. Being down three games to the Cardinals didn’t stop the Giants, nor did the prospect of facing the Triple Crown winner daunt them.

The ability to keep producing was what kept them moving through the playoffs. The Giants were able to put together an impressive and sustained performance that goes down in the history books as improbable and amazing (By the numbers).

The Giants wining the World Series proved the age-old adage in baseball that the hottest team will win, not the one with the best hitters, highest payroll or best win percentage. The Yankees lost, the Nats lost and the Tigers who had the Triple Crown winner on their side lost. The Giants won a combined total of six elimination games this postseason and were down to their final outs in several when someone stepped up to take the bat or catch a ball or tag an out.

Being hot going into October is vital to postseason baseball. The Giants weren’t hot, they were on fire. The Giants are only the fifth team in history to win a World Series after a season in which they finished last in the major leagues in home runs.

Jayson Stark aptly said, ” ‘Comeback’ doesn’t describe it. ‘Reincarnation’ is more like it.”

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