An orange-and-black team celebrating a World Series title on Hallowe’en, the orange-and-black holiday, in the city that loves to party? Even with the sky opening up and letting down the first big rain of 2014? Will anyone show up in that sort of weather.
Oh. yeah. No problem.
In some respects, the San Francisco Giants’ 2014 title represents their most surprising achievement. Although their fans have grown accustomed to winning it all only on even-numbered years (and is it premature to congratulate the St. Louis Cardinals for their 2015 NL pennant?), the Giants didn’t suffer such theoretically catastrophic injuries and losses of production during 2010 and 2012. Indeed, injuries ruined the odd-numbered seasons of 2011 and 2013.
This year, the G-Men lost their best pitcher Matt Cain to injury (seriously, going into 2014 he was the ace, not Madison Bumgarner), lost a key position player in Angel Pagan to injuries, plus closer Sergio Romo and starter Tim Lincecum had down seasons, and the team limped into the postseason with only 88 wins as the fifth and final National League playoff team. Not even a division champion.
So what happened? Well, not just Bumgarner, no disrespect intended to the man who turned in the best Giants pitching in the World Series since Christy Mathewson in 1905. Guys like the rookies Joe Panik and Andrew Susac happened, not to mention Travis Ishikawa, who spent part of the year in the minors thinking of retiring and ended up hitting one of the greatest postseason homers in team history, sending San Francisco into the World Series. But I keep wondering why no one has figured out that middle reliever Jeremy Affeldt has played a critical role in all three championship years. He has mediocre at best stats–actually, a 41-44 record and 3.89 ERA is kinda bad–but in 2010, 2012 and 2014 he has come in during critical moments and completely shut down the opposition. This year, not too many people seem to have noticed, but Affeldt won both the last game of the National League Championship Series and Game 7 of the World Series. Also quite an achievement.
But why can’t they win in odd-numbered years? After all, they represent San Francisco; we’re good with odd.
Vonn Scott Bair