The Baseball Notebook

November 2, 2010 7:32 AM

San Francisco Brings The Trophy West

SanFranciscoWinsWorldSeries.jpgThey called them the Misfits, but now they have to call them champions. San Francisco won its first title since moving to West Coast last night, winning a tense 3-1 game last night in Texas to clinch the Series in five games. It was a long journey for a lot of players. The right side of San Francisco's infield, Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff came here escaping ownership that was either cheap or inept, in Pittsburgh and Baltimore and respectively. Cody Ross was cut loose from Florida. Pat Burrell was released by Tampa Bay in April--and while he struggled in this Series, he was a vital part of an underrated offense all year long. Edgar Renteria's career had hit the skids starting in 2005 as he kicked around from Boston to Atlanta to Detroit and finally to San Francisco where he was a part-time player. It was only fitting that he complete the turnaround when he took Cliff Lee for a three-run shot in the top of the seventh that broke a scoreless tie. It was the second such home run Renteria hit in the Series and earned him MVP honors. Indeed, last night's home run can take its place in Giants' lore with Bobby Thomson's epic "shot heard 'round the world that won the 1951 pennant when the franchise was in New York.

In the way the media covered these playoffs, even ace pitcher Tim Lincecum was a misfit. On the first night of the postseason he struck out 14 and beat Atlanta 1-0, yet was overshadowed by Roy Halladay's no-hitter against Cincinnati. Coverage of the LCS focused on Halladay and the World Series talk revolved around Lee. But Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner, went 3-1 in his starts against those two aces and pitched eight brilliant innings last night.

The fate of baseball was cruel to Texas. San Francisco had runners on second and third with one out in the seventh. Burrell was at the plate and Lee got him with a strikeout. Even allowing Renteria's previous home run in Game 2 and Burrell's struggles, it's the latter who really worries you--all he needed to do was lift the ball in the air. Lee got him, but it's Renteria who ends up beating you. The final out was Brian Wilson striking out Nelson Cruz. And with that strikeout, over five decades of frustration by the Bay were wiped away. From Willie McCovey's potential Game 7-winning line drive that went right at Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson in 1962 to the tragedy of the earthquake World Series in 1989. From the 2002 collapse in Anaheim when they were six outs from a title with a 5-0 lead and lost it, to the taint handed to them by Barry Bonds. It's all gone. Today, San Francisco has done it.

Congratulations to the Giants and also to their opponent. I'm an East Coast resident and love the passion that exists for baseball and pro sports in general out here. But it was nice to see some fresh cities with fresh faces in the Series and to see the real passion the people of Dallas and San Francisco put on. I haven't seen TV ratings, but I hope America agreed. The Series wasn't close in that it ended in five games, but each game was well-played with a lot of exciting moments. A fitting way to bring an end to the 2010 season.

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Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily MLB playoff coverage and game analysis in college football and the NFL. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.

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