WFUV's Chris Hilk reflects on his team's first World Series.
The San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions.
I have waited since I was 5 years old to hear those words.
No, I was not around when the team moved to Northern California in 1958. I did not see Willie McCovey hit the line drive right at Bobby Richardson in the 1962 World Series, nor did I even experience the ruckus during the 1989 Bay Bridge Series with Oakland. But it still feels like I have lived through enough "torture", as Giants television play-by-play man Duane Kiuper coined San Francisco’s brand of baseball, to last a good long while.
The playoff troubles were painful: being swept by the Florida Marlins in 1997, losing to the New York Mets in 2000, and to the Marlins again in 2003. Not to mention giving the NL West crown to the Los Angeles Dodgers on the last day of 2004 by way of Steve Finley’s walk-off grand slam. Though nothing could beat the heartbreak of the 2002 World Series collapse against Anaheim. Watching game 6 as a 12 year-old, I remember thinking to myself, “This is it! The Giants are actually going to do it!!” And they finally did, just 8 years later.
So what made this team special? San Francisco has been spoiled with famous superstars in the last 50-plus years: from Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, and Juan Marichal in the early years to Barry Bonds, Will Clark, and Jeff Kent over the last two decades. Yet before the World Series, I bet a casual baseball fan would have trouble naming a Giants’ player aside from Tim Lincecum. And even though Lincecum is a 2-time CY Young Award winner he still is just one of the guys.
These 2010 Giants had no egos, pitched with no fear, got the hits when they needed them, and gelled into a true team. A strong September and a win on the final day of the season punched their playoff ticket as the Giants got hot at the right time. The postseason brought only good vibes and the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Texas Rangers proved unable to prevent an Orange October. When Brian Wilson got the final out it was pure bliss. I felt like a kid again, celebrating with my friends back home in the Bay Area.
And as my mind wandered to the future, one word came to my mind: Dynasty. Call me crazy - and I know full well it probably is the aftereffect of my first championship - but the Giants have the pieces to do it. Four homegrown starting pitchers in Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Jonathan Sanchez that can shut down anybody, 23 year-old catcher Buster Posey who is already drawing comparisons to Johnny Bench, and Brian Wilson who led baseball in saves this year and is the Giants' heart and soul.
But that argument can wait for another time. First, I need a new wish before I blow out my birthday candles.