Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Together, we're (absolutely) GIANT!

The thrill of it all /
Giants catcher Buster Posey runs out to greet pitcher Sergio Romo
after Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera struck out looking for the final
out of the 2012 World Series.

The San Francisco Giants are baseball's world champions.

It's been a tremendous month to be a baseball fan in the San Francisco Bay Area. Actually, it's been a tremendous season to be a Giants fan.

On Sunday, for the second time in three years, the Giants won the World Series. This time, they swept the Detroit Tigers in four games. And, they won twice by shutouts.


AT&T Park /
The best ballpark environment
in the major leagues.
The Giants showed the baseball world that championships can be won with tremendous pitching and solid, reliable defense. Also, they won with a "small ball" attitude that capitalized on the consistency of base hits and sacrifice fly outs instead of relying on big sluggers to hit lots of home runs into San Francisco Bay. Although, to their credit, Pablo Sandoval, known to Giants fans by his beloved nickname "Panda",  hit three homers ~ none into the bay ~ in the Giants' 8-3 victory in Game 1 of the World Series at AT&T Park. And, it helped, too, that the Giants had a merry band of misfits on this year's team ~ Hunter Pence and Sergio Romo come to mind ~ who played together as a unit and bought into a "team-first" concept preached by their adroit manager, Bruce Bochy, that so many teams lacked this season.

My view from Section 332
during Game 1 of the
NL Division Series.
Throughout the season, AT&T Park was the place to be and to be seen. It gained a wonderful reputation as the best ballpark environment in baseball. To be certain, the Giants played winning baseball on the field, and throughout the stands, fans delighted in wearing white and orange Panda hats, waving their "Gamer Babes" signs, having their photos taken on the cable car in the outfield arcade and eating their garlic fries, too. Some Franciscan evenings were just perfect ~ we all remember Matt Cain's perfect game gem against Houston on a mid-week June evening, don't we? And, after each Giants victory, as the faithful departed the ballpark and spilled out onto the Embarcadero, fans were serenaded by Tony Bennett's very appropriate anthem to the City by the Bay, "I Left My Heart in San  Francisco."

Very San Francisco, indeed.

And, it should be noted, the Giants had a big following on Twitter, too, including the divine MLB Jesuswho tweeted after the final out: "God bless my World Champion San Francisco Giants."

The headline in Monday's
San Francisco Chronicle
says it all.
Among the many enjoyable things for me about following the Giants throughout the day-to-day, month-to-month rhythm of the 2012 season was listening to their wonderful broadcasters ~ Jon Miller and Dave Flemming on radio and Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow on TV. During the postseason, when local TV rights yielded to national TV broadcasts, the Giants radio booth accommodated all four of its own broadcasters, what I call a "four-headed" booth.

Each game, the innings were divided up in orderly fashion among the three play-by-play announcers, Miller, Kuiper and Flemming. And Krukow, who pitched for the Giants on the 1989 World Series team that lost to the Oakland A's, provided astute analysis and insight for the entirety of each game. It was a pleasure to tune in to "Miller & Flemm and Kruk & Kuip" with the TV sound muted. It worked, there was rhythm and excitement to each broadcast, and it added to my enjoyment of watching each exciting playoff and World Series game with our familiar voices of the game.

They delivered the message.

So, too, it should be noted that newspapers and the internet ~ even Twitter ~ were good sources for reading about the Giants throughout the season. Whether it was opening up the morning San Francisco Chronicle or going online to read Andrew Baggarly's columns and blogs via CSNBayArea.com, there were so many wonderful stories chronicled throughout this championship season.

Of the many wonderful things that were expressed by the Giants' broadcasters, one thing I'll remember and take away from this World Series victory was shared by Mike Krukow:

"The game of baseball is a beautiful game ~ it's an every man's game ~ and those who play it best are the ones standing tall at the end, planting the flag, and winning it all."

From the heart /
Hunter Pence rallies his
teammates in the dugout.
The Giants played the game of baseball best this year. It says so in the standings. And, in the post season, they finished with a flourish of seven consecutive victories. On a frigid and rainy Sunday evening in Detroit, they won it all and celebrated on the field and in a Champagne-filled locker room, too.

Now, it's time for the Giants players and management to celebrate and reflect on their marvelous accomplishment. And, it's time for Giants fans to enjoy the revelry and the ticker-tape victory parade along Market Street Wednesday.

Together, we're (absolutely) GIANT!

The San  Francisco Giants / 2012 World Series Champions.

Photographs of AT&T Park facade and inside the ballpark by Michael Dickens, copyright 2012. Other images courtesy of various sources via Facebook.

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