How did we get here?
I'm not sure I can answer without shaking my head incredulously and rambling uncontrollably. I'm not sure if the Giants themselves can answer that question. Although the simple answer may just be "Champion Blood".
To put it more simply, they just have "it".
"It" could mean anything. Difficult to define, but you know it when you have it. In the Giants' case you've got a great mix of players-- many of whom have won a World Series in San Francisco before. You have an excellent, and successful coaching staff-- one of the best in baseball. You've got a home field advantage, chemistry, an electric atmosphere, and a little bit of luck. It's in many ways, a perfect storm.
Kansas City may have "it" too though. They don't have the experience, the coaching staff, the big names, or the success. What they do have, however, is an exceptional mix of young players, who literally don't know any differently-- which could be a huge advantage. Fearlessness is something is to be feared by an opponent.
Furthermore, KC's style of play is conducive to winning close games-- much like the Giants. Bunts, stolen bases, hit & runs and the like all put pressure on defenses, on pitchers, catchers, and everyone else.
A single by Lorenzo Cain or Jerrod Dyson is more than a single. That single has the potential to take scoring position by force. Any further hits have the potential of driving in a run when a similar hit would only move most runners up. Couple that with a nasty bullpen, excellent defense, and timely hitting... well... the Royals start sounding a bit like the Giants.
As similar as these teams are in some facets, the Giants have a distinct advantage overall.
The advantage isn't about Bumgarner or Posey. This advantage isn't an intangible such as experience or chemistry. In fact, it has nothing to do with players at all.
The Giants' most significant advantage over the Kansas City Royals is Manager Bruce Bochy.
If you're reading this, you know I'm right. You've seen it, just like I have. You saw Bochy's steady calloused hand guide this mess of ship with a scurvy-afflicted crew and tattered sails straight into the World Series.
When this team started taking on water halfway through the season, his only response was, "Steady as she goes."
When people started jumping overboard and giving up. He didn't flinch.
Instead, he found a way to plug the holes with a Petit, a Peavy and a Panik, and made it into the Wild Card round to face Pittsburgh-- doing so without Matt Cain and Angel Pagan. He did so saddled with an ineffective Tim Lincecum, an injured Mike Morse, and Travis Ishikawa playing left field.
Even with this seemingly desperate situation at hand, his low, gravelly vocal chords barked out,
"FULL STEAM AHEAD!"
And they haven't looked back.
After distinctly outmaneuvering and carving up inexperienced ex-Giants Matt Williams and Mike Matheny in the NLDS and NLCS respectively, the Giants' fearless old captain has Ned Yost squarely in his sights.
People who know things about baseball know that the Royals have accomplished what they have at times in spite of Ned Yost, not because of him.
Think of how we got here in the first place. Ishikawa hits a HR off of young starter Michael Wacha, who never should have been put in the game by Mike Matheny. Bochy never makes that move in a hundred years.
Well Yost made the same boneheaded move earlier in the playoffs with his young starter Yordano Ventura, who'd never made a bullpen appearance and was pitching on two days rest.
Again, the Royals are here in spite of Ned Yost.
I'm not going to sit here are tell you he's the worst manager ever and that he's useless. His players love playing for him, and his aggressive NL-style small ball parade has been successful.
I just know that Bochy knows what he's doing, and nearly everything he touches in the postseason turns to gold.
This will be the biggest difference in this series, and you would have a helluva time trying to prove me otherwise. With this unthinkable third World Series on the horizon getting closer and into view, the Giants have the Royals exactly where they want them. Forget the numbers, forget the talking heads. Remember where this team has been, and where you know they're going.
They're about to pull into port and raise that third flag; he flag of the Giants Dynasty.
The Giants didn't come this far to lose, and they're not going to. We have that Champion's Blood running through us, so let's saddle it the hell up. We're burnin' it down.