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Giants' GM turns out to be a ringer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.

The ring is thick and heavy, and it's yellow gold. It lives on the right ring finger of Giants general manager Brian Sabean, the man who made the World Series championship team happen.

You would understandably conclude that Sabean wears the 2010 World Championship ring. If you conclude that, you are wrong. The Giants haven't even distributed the 2010 rings yet.

The ring Sabean wears is from the 2002 National League Championship. You remember 2002. The Giants seemed to have the World Series won, but to their horror the Angels fought back and beat them in seven games.

Will Sabean exchange the 2002 ring for the World Series ring when it arrives? He hesitates, stares at his hand.

"Umm, that's a hell of a question," he says. "I'm not sure."

Why would he hesitate?

"This one has a lot of sentimental attachment,"Sabean says. "First time, maybe. Even more so because we lost, and within that there's a constant drive to remind you how fleeting things are, how fallible things can be.

"That's not to say I won't wear the World Series ring. I don't know I'll wear it every day like I've worn this one."

So the 2002 ring symbolizes almost making it. It symbolizes the value of the journey, regardless of the result. And it symbolizes how fragile baseball and life are, and how challenging the Giants' upcoming season may be.


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