When the Giants defeated the Texas Rangers 3-1 in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series and brought baseball's championship to San Francisco for the first time in the city's 53-year big-league history, this was their starting lineup:
Andres Torres, right field; Freddy Sanchez, second base; Buster Posey, catcher; Cody Ross, left field; Juan Uribe, third base; Aubrey Huff, first base; Pat Burrell, designated hitter; Edgar Renteria, shortstop; Aaron Rowand, center field; Tim Lincecum, pitcher.
Just 21 months later, where are they now?
Torres is on the Mets; Sanchez is injured and out for the season, his career in jeopardy (and he had been hurt and played little last year); Posey is still here (thank goodness); Ross is on the Red Sox; Uribe is on the Dodgers; Huff, before going on the disabled list again, had been a virtual non-factor in 2012; Burrell is retired; Renteria and Rowand aren't with major-league teams; and Lincecum, of course, is still here, despite the desperate demand of some bloggers, sports-talk radio callers and sportswriters to demote him.
Of the Giants' starting pitchers in the 2010 World Series, Jonathan Sanchez is on the Rockies, after a stop with the Royals.
Of the Giants' relief pitchers in the 2010 World Series, closer Brian Wilson is out for the season (his career also in jeopardy), Ramon Ramirez is on the Mets and Guillermo Mota is suspended.
Of the Giants' bench players in the 2010 World Series, Nate Schierholtz is on the Phillies, Mike Fontenot had been on the Phillies before being designated for assignment last week, Travis Ishikawa is on the Brewers and Pablo Sandoval is on the disabled list.
Of the 24 Giants who played in the 2010 World Series, 11 are gone, two of the four who are injured are out for the season and one is suspended.
Of the eight Giants who played in the 2010 World Series and are active, contributing Giants today, right now, Buster Posey is the only everyday position player.
What's the point of all this crunching of names and numbers?
Well, although it's reasonable to assume that most fans understand and accept and some even relish the fact that personnel change is a constant revolving door in professional sports, perhaps the extent of just how much change is involved isn't fully grasped until we take a closer look — in this case at the Giants today compared with just 21 months ago when all was rosy and ecstatic and triumphant and each player, on some wonderfully idealized level, was considered part of the mythical Giants family.
The big Giants news last week involved more change. Outfielder Hunter Pence (and cash) was acquired in exchange for outfielder Nate Schierholtz and minor leaguers Seth Rosin and Tommy Joseph. While it's perfectly natural for area fans and media to focus on how Pence is expected to be an offensive upgrade as the team tries to return to the postseason, the trade also underscores the transience of pro sports and the illusion of most home-team players finding any semblance of permanence.
Even home teams don't necessarily have permanence. Remember, the Giants, Athletics and Dodgers, to name three, abandoned other fans in other cities before coming to California. And surely Giants fans remember how close the team came to deserting San Francisco — for Toronto in 1977 and for Tampa Bay in 1993, until 11th-hour machinations, or miracles.