Sunday, October 24, 2010
Giants Prevail On a Scary, Tense Night to Reach World Series
It really is a mesmerizing ballclub, not because the wildest crowd in San Francisco swings orange pom-poms to erupt into a crazed frenzy, and not because the Giants closer Brian Wilson wears a beard to initiate a catchy mantra that has fans chanting “FEAR THE BEARD,” but they are an amazing ballclub because the Giants comprise of all the components to produce an epic classic.
Even in this culture where baseball is seen as an uneventful sport, the Giants captivated our attention with postseason dominance and a glamorous cast. With all the star power in these playoffs, the Giants clinched the National Championship Series, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 in a compelling, dramatic masterpiece at Citizens Bank Park.
In the end, as elated as the Giants were, the guys darted into the clubhouse and celebrated a remarkable win. It was a mammoth celebration inside the clubhouse, as the players popped the corks and were drenched with champagne to rejoice in triumph. The storyline eventually emerged as a miracle, and the Giants managed to outweigh the Phillies and accomplished the improbable, one nobody expected this postseason.
Once it all ended, the Giants gathered collectively in the infield, hugging and celebrating wildly over winning the pennant. Instantly, a nerve-racking, horror night turned into a mournful night at the ballpark where an enthusiastic crowd went silent. Never mind the nightmarish scene in the bottom of the third from Jonathan Sanchez. Never mind that the benches emptied and heads exploded when the left-hander had no outs in the third, and unintentionally hit Phillies second baseman Chase Utley on an errant pitch.
From there, the Giants rushed to the mound as well as the Phillies and provoked an altercation in the field. Even though Sanchez lost composure and yelled at Utley, the Giants somehow avoided a nightmare when manager Bruce Bochy yanked Sanchez only two batters into the third inning, as the game rapidly started to unravel. With the score tied 2-2, Jeremy Affeldt was summoned and cleaned up a disastrous episode.
It was the smartest transition to call on the bullpen, successful in rescuing the Giants from a jammed inning when Affeldt fanned two Phillies in two perfect innings of relief. It wasn’t long before Bochy summoned another reliever to keep the contest within scoring distance, and decided to call Madison Bumgarner to the mound, putting tremendous pressure on the 21-year-old left-hander who escaped with two scoreless innings.
Much of the night, Bochy gambled and juggled with his bullpen, and even brought in his starter, Tim Lincecum. It was a reckless move, given that he had thrown 104 pitches two nights before. In the closing moments, Wilson, the most underrated closer in the game, ended the Phillies season. This time, he viciously stared at Ryan Howard and struck out the Phillies star looking on a fastball. These days, however, Howard’s inability to drive in runs remains obscure.
“I wanted it to be like that,” Wilson said. “I want to face their best hitter and (be) one pitch from possibly losing.”
But either way, the credit still goes to the Giants.
It wasn’t pretty, but they still prevailed. It wasn’t expected, but it was possible. And it happened.
In clarity, the Phillies produced 97 wins in the regular season for the most wins in baseball, and the Giants defeated arguably the best team in baseball. The Phillies won the National League pennant last season, and the Giants delayed a charming moment. In this series, the Phillies' power vanished, the home runs descended, the vulnerability increased and they stumbled. It happened instantly in the eighth inning for the Giants, a moment they witnessed glory when Juan Uribe belted a home run to take a 3-2 lead.
“I feel good when I hit the ball,” Uribe said. “I know the ball go [when hit to right field].”
It wasn’t a chaotic dispute that took place, but a moment of solidarity and no one exchanged punches.
Fairly, the Giants are no longer tortured, but near-invincible after Saturday night. They are now the National League champs, winning their first pennant since 2002. There will be thousands waiting at the beautiful ballpark in San Francisco, to embrace a refreshing moment for a franchise that has channeled emotion and assurance into a spellbinding run.
Who ever thought the Giants would reach such a climax, after having to play for a playoff berth on the last day of the season? What they have overcome is truly unbelievable, considering that the Giants almost missed out on all the excitement and fun this postseason.
“I can imagine the streets of San Francisco,” Wilson said.
Yes sir, the streets are wild near the shores of the bay.
Amazingly, the Giants are seeking to win their first World Series since 1954.