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San Francisco has become class of baseball with genuine heroes

  • San Francisco Giants second baseman Ryan Theriot (5) scores the game-winning run against the Detroit Tigers in the 10th inning during Game 4 of baseball's World Series on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit. The Giants won the World Series 4-0. (AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, ) MAGS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT (KCRA3, KXTV10, KOVR13, KUVS19, KMAZ31, KTXL40); MANDATORY CREDIT

DETROIT - When it was over, after the Giants beat the Tigers 4-3 in 10, after the Giants swept the Tigers and won the World Series, the Giants players — Ryan Theriot and Jeremy Affeldt and Marco Scutaro and all the rest — gathered along the first-base line, as if Comerica Park was their park, and saluted the Giants fans — there were thousands of them — who shouted at the players, "Let's go Giants!"

The players wore World Series shirts and caps, and they hugged wives and girlfriends and they were having an impromptu party in the cold and the rain of a Midwest autumn, not that they cared about the chill. They were having a San Francisco party in Detroit.

So, let's pause a moment to do something important. Let's pay tribute to the Giants. They are world champions yet again, world champions two of the past three years. And if that is something short of a dynasty, it's not by much. They are the most impressive organization in the big leagues, the standard by which you measure all others — move over Tigers, Yankees and Cardinals. Just move over.

Giants Fans Celebrate World Series Win

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The Giants remade their team after their previous world championship in 2010, remade it. Sure, they won with pitching — more on that later — but they didn't hit home runs and, instead, they became a singles-hitting, bunting, base-stealing team, a Small Ball team. And they won the whole thing anyway. Clearly, Brian Sabean is the shrewdest general manager in the big leagues. And if you can know of a better manager than Bruce Bochy, someone who runs a pitching staff more strategically, please name him?

So, just pay tribute. And let the rest of America understand for now — and for awhile — San Francisco is the center of big-league ball. San Francisco.

A funny thing happened in Game 4, under those dark windy Detroit skies. The World Series arrived. It wasn't the World Series before that. It was something else, something less compelling. It was the Giants' victory lap. It was a Giants' celebration and a walkover and a joke. Never once had the Tigers threatened the Giants or made them worry or even taken a lead.

But on Sunday night, the dormant Tigers roused themselves and showed their desire and demonstrated their pride to the nation and to the Giants. It was fitting the Giants had to win a fight, had to prevail in a tight game that could not be decided in the regulation nine. It added to their glory, especially with Miguel Cabrera, the Tiger's best, at bat with two outs in the bottom of the tenth. He faced Sergio Romo — who else? — Romo throwing those nasty sliders, Romo fighting Cabrera and Cabrera, a proud Triple Crown winner, fighting back.

And then Romo got two strikes on Cabrera, with Justin Verlander looking on, Verlander almost surely with a hollow feeling in his chest. And Romo put Cabrera away — out of here — struck out Cabrera looking, the great Cabrera staring helplessly, mournfully, resignedly at a pitch that dived back into the strike zone.

There were other highlights, of course. The whole game was a highlight. There was Jeremy Affeldt in bottom of the eighth issuing a leadoff walk and then striking out the side, striking out the heart of the Tigers' order — Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young. And after every pitch you could see his lips moving, see him in a fervent conversation. Who did he speak to on the mound? "I was talking to God, to be honest with you," he said. "I talk to him all the time." Apparently Affeldt got through.

And there was Ryan Theriot, the designated hitter who used to be the second baseman but wasn't the second baseman after Marco Scutaro showed up. He led off the top of the 10th with a single. As he hit the first-base bag, he told himself, "Score." And when he scored the winning run on a Scutaro single, he told himself, "Awesome." And when Romo came in for the last half inning, Theriot told himself, "We've got a great pitching staff, great closer. We'll win."


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