Giants fans couldn't have seen this coming. There was no torture. There was no “Fear the Beard”. Sure, they won the division, and humiliated the new free-spending Los Angeles Dodgers, but did anyone expect more than that? Now the Giants are champions, winning the World Series for the second time in three years, and the season is suddenly over.
The Tigers are still trying to figure out what hit them, viewers are wondering who the anthem singer will be tonight (not fully realizing that everyone has gone home), and Fox is rushing Demi Lovato back to the studio for another scintillating episode of The X Factor. The network didn't tell you this, but it's the first time in 22 years that a National League team has swept the World Series (Cincinnati over Oakland in 1990). There wasn't even enough time to scan other Fox shows for potential anthem singers.
Pablo Sandoval (aka the Kung Fu Panda) homered three times in Game One—two of them against the vaunted Justin Verlander. Giants pitchers, behind Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong, shut out Detroit in Games Two and Three, and San Francisco got a tenth-inning run in Game Four. Boom. Done. (Paraphrasing Yankees broadcaster John Sterling,) Ball game over. World Series over. Giants win. Thhhhhhe Giants win.
This wasn't supposed to happen. Down 0-2 to Cincinnati, right fielder Hunter Pence conducted a Baptist preacher-like revival meeting in the dugout. Giants came back and won the series 3-2. Down 1-3 to St. Louis in the :League Championship Series, second baseman Marco Scutaro, who was playing for last place Colorado in July, decides to get 14 hits in the series. Giants came back and won 4-3. Panda goes nuts in Game One, the pitchers hold their opponents to six runs in five games, and now there will be a parade down Market Street on Wednesday.
I'm not a Giants fan, but I have to admit that I got a little caught up in the celebration in 2010. I even went to the parade. I skipped the rally at Union Square and hustled over to the celebration at A T &T Park. We saw the players and the announcers get off the bus only a few feet in front of us. It was fun, but this one doesn't have the excitement. I'm sure it does for Giants fans, but the World Series title two years ago was the first in the team's San Francisco history. This one just sort of happened.
So while hundreds of thousands of people dressed in black and orange will be partying in The City, some of us will still be wondering where the baseball season went. The Lakers tip off their season tomorrow night, but it isn't the same. Players will start filing for free agency soon, the season awards will slowly be announced starting next week, but there won't be any games to watch. The weather will be getting colder and it will be getting darker earlier, so I guess it's time for baseball hibernation. Wake us up in 108 days. That's when pitchers and catchers report for spring training.
Broadcast beat: I'm tired of Fox and their self-promotion during the national anthem. It must be part of the contract. There was an American Idol winner in game one, someone from The X Factor in Game Two, Zooey Deschanel from New Girl in Game Three, and Demi Lovato from X Factor in Game Four. Someone on Twitter suggested Lisa Simpson do the anthem on her saxophone. Aretha Franklin, though, would have been the anthem singer in Detroit for Game Five.
The funniest moment in the booth came during the fourth inning of Game One, when Giants pitcher Barry Zito singled to drive in a run and the crowd chanted “Bar-ry, Bar-ry”. Play-by-play man Joe Buck said, “they used to say that for somebody else around here”, but analyst Tim McCarver didn't immediately get the Barry Bonds reference, replying “yeah when Barry Manilow was playing a concert.” I thought McCarver was joking, and I think Buck did too at first. McCarver cracked himself up at the mistake, and wasn't heard from the rest of the inning.
Last Sunday, Buck did double duty by doing play-by-play for the Niners game in San Francisco, followed by Game Six of the National League Championship Series. He did not do that yesterday when the Detroit Lions hosted the Seattle Seahawks. I guess the game wasn't big enough for him. Chris Myers, who filled in for Erin Andrews as a dugout reporter Saturday, did the Lions game.
Brian Stow, the Giants fan who was badly beaten at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day last year, was in attendance at Game Two on Thursday. Fox never mentioned it.
From the home office: Commissioner Bud Selig addressed reporters before Game One, and, among other topics, reportedly made an assurance that a possible A's relocation to San Jose “is on the front burner”. One of Bud's blue-ribbon panels has been “studying” the issue for years now. Baseball has a ridiculous territorial rule that says San Jose and Santa Clara County belong to the Giants. Maybe the success of the A's this season will get the new stadium issue rolling again.
Major League Baseball has apologized to the Houston Astros for leaking the team's new logo before the team could make the official unveiling. The real apology should be to the Astros and their fans for making the team move to the American League.
Hurricane Sandy: I like the term “Frankenstorm”, but CNN refuses to use it. I guess if you are providing continuous coverage of a potential mega-disaster, maybe a cutesy term isn't a good idea, even if it is Halloween.
So many people in the Northeast are refusing to evacuate, even though this could be the worst storm the region has ever seen. Meanwhile, reporters are telling us how dumb these people are while standing knee-deep in rising water and 70 mile-an-hour winds. Okay.
Photos below: Stolen from their Facebook pages, my cousins, the Coles, in McCovey Cove for Game One. I have to hand it to them, they definitely are not fair weather fans.
Briana, Alivea, and dad Jim. I'm guessing mom Gayle took the picture?
Jim, Liv, Bri. Water doesn't look cold at all.