Tuesday, November 2, 2010
November 1, 2010: The wait is over
I still can't believe it. We did it. We won. WE WON THE WORLD SERIES!
I know it happened. I saw it happen. I celebrated after it happened. I hugged strangers and bummed cigarettes while partying like it was 1954. And it still seems so surreal-- so improbable; so impossible.
How did this happen?? Of all the years and all the teams we've called San Francisco Giants, this was the collection of guys to do it. It almost seems like an accident... as if this story was originally written as a fictional novel, then turned into a Hollywood drama complete with a witty and heart-warming screenplay.
It might as well be a heart-warming, witty Hollywood drama, because that's exactly what it was.
The cast was a vibrant quilt of A-list talents and eccentric contributers, B-list supporting actors, capable character actors and extras. The director drove everyone crazy, and if half this movie's investors had their way, the producer of this championship would've been fired two years ago.
You really couldn't script it better. Everything from the beginning of the season straight through to Brian Wilson's final pitch was dramatic, fun, frustrating, torturous, and damned exhilarating.
They beat the two-time defending NL Champion Phillies including Roy Halladay twice. They beat the supposedly invincible Cliff Lee in the World Series twice. They held an incredible Texas lineup to a paltry .190 BA in the 5 game series, just days after the Rangers hit .281 against the $200+MM New York Yankees.
Their lineup had no national stars. No one on the team hit 30 homers or drove in 90 RBIs. There was no Barry Bonds or Jeff Kent. There was just a cast of characters worth more playing together than as separate parts.
What this championship means to long-suffering Giants fans is wholly indescribable. We've seen our share of Superbowls, and they were incredible, but this is something else entirely. To wait this long, and root this hard without tasting the sweetness of a title makes it that more incredible. As Tom Petty said, "The waiting is the hardest part."
There wasn't a Giants fan out there on the night of November 1st that didn't get chills, have their eyes well up with tears, hug a stranger, laugh hysterically, or scream the same unintelligible slogans over and over again.
I'm a fairly young guy, so I know I am lucky to have experienced this so early in life. After the dust settled following the game, I began to think about what this title meant to different people. I thought about the old guys who can now die in peace. I thought about those who were taken from us too early, who literally lived and died with the San Francisco Giants and who weren't around to see it. I think of my dad and his friends, who were born in 1955 or 1956, who have known nothing but frustration for over 50 years.
I also think of the players like Aubrey Huff, who never played on a winning team. A guy who played nearly 1,500 games in semi-obscurity before getting to hoist that trophy. I think of equipment manager Mike Murphy, who's been with the team for God knows how long. That guy's been washing uniforms, picking up jocks, and riding the highs and the lows of professional baseball his entire adult life. It's as special to him as anyone.
I think of our young guns like Buster, Bum, Timmy, and Cainer, who now know what it takes to get there, and get it done. You think they won't be motivated to get back there and capture that same lightning in a bottle?
I think of Edgar Renteria, one of the most maligned Giants players since Edgardo Alfonzo-- a guy who was added to the NLDS roster as an afterthought, simply because there was no other backup shortstop. He earned all $16MM of that contract in one postseason, and he potentially bookended his career with championships. Simply incredible.
As you finally get to enjoy the long-fabled "Parade Down Market Street" we've all dreamed about, I urge you to really soak it up. Enjoy every second of it. Take as many pictures as your memory card will allow. You never know if you'll ever get to see it again.
One day, you can tell your grandchildren that you were there and you got to see it, and we both know you will never forget this.