Modeling the sentiments of many national scribes, Bob Nightengale of USA Today a week ago called the Giants' comeback win in the National League Championship Series a "cute little story" that was about to end. Detroit would win it all in five, he predicted.
"The Tigers are sorry to ruin the ending to this charming show, but the Giants' season is over," Nightengale wrote. "(Detroit) will come out and coldheartedly bludgeon the Giants. They simply have too much power. Too much starting pitching. Too much sheer talent."
Well, so much for the experts.
Baseball, like no other sport, ends as a discussion. It ends in analysis, speculation, and, sometimes, it ends in a good heated argument laced with statistics. There will be plenty of such debates in the months to come about how the San Francisco Giants of 2012 pulled it off. But they is no arguing one point: They are the world champions yet again, and they deserve it.
Not since the Golden State Warriors swept the heralded Washington Bullets in four straight to win the NBA title in 1975 has a Bay Area team left the sports-writing world so slack-jawed.
In winning three straight must-win games against St. Louis, the Giants, those charming underdogs, built a head of steam that was not to be stopped. They rolled over the mighty Detroit Tigers in four straight, and, statistically speaking, it wasn't even close. Over the four contests, the Giants outscored the Tigers 16-6, outhit them 32-20 and outplayed them in almost every facet, including base-running and defense. It wasn't until the 30th inning of the World Series that the Tigers even held a lead — a lead that would be eviscerated three innings later by a two-run home run by Buster Posey.
Nonetheless, it was an improbable championship given the shaky performances early in the playoffs that left the Giants needing some do-or-die heroics. And they delivered.
As with the 2010 team, this version of the Giants will be remembered for its misfits. But it was largely a different cast of castoffs. The only hitter who was in the starting lineup for this game and the final of 2010 was the aforementioned Posey.
Giants 2.0 also came with a different story line. While the 2010 squad will be remembered for dominant starting pitching, led by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, this team will be remembered for, well, it's hard to say exactly. There was the hitting of Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro, the comeback performances of Barry Zito and Madison Baumgarner, the defensive play of Brandon Crawford, the relief pitching of Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and, of course, Lincecum. Take your pick.
But the key to what binds these teams is Bruce Bochy, the Midas of managers and the man who gives the Giants the opportunity to succeed.
A celebration of all this will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday — yes, on Halloween — when the Giants hold their second victory parade in 24 months through the streets of San Francisco. It will, no doubt, be bedlam. (But let's keep it controlled. Let's celebrate rolling the Tigers, not buses and cars.)
Congratulations Giants on a remarkable season. You've shown 2010 was no fluke. You've got grit. You've got talent, and you've got something going on. And everybody else is now trying to figure out what that is.