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If the San Francisco Giants win the World Series Texas fans shouldn’t feel like their team let them down.. The best team wasn’t necessarily the winner, in fact, probably not. We’ll explain.
Giants fans and media are reveling in the startling Giants run of success of late, but they are also angry that their team isn’t getting credit , nationally. They were calling the Giants the ‘Rodney Dangerfield’s of baseball’ on the local sports talk show Sat afternoon before the third game of the World Series. In fact most pundits, NATIONALLY, see the rather obvious fact that the Giants are not the better team. Yes, yes, they’ve suddenly become world beaters during three rounds of olayoffs – and the last month of the season; Giants had the best overall record in baseball the past two months.
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One must ask the question ‘How did this come about?’How did a team barely above .500 suddenly become a .800 winning team, finishing 20 games above .500?? How has this team been beating the much stronger hitting teams like Philadelphia and Texas without any real changes? The acquisition of one journeyman player, Cody Ross, could not make all the difference. In fact, the Giants have a veteran team, and older players usually tail off somewhat near the end of the season. Not the Giants.
Players like Juan Uribe , Edgar Renteria and even Jose Guillen, while he was with the Giants right up to October, showed an upsurge in hitting, especially in power – for guys in their thirties, playing in a large, cold ballpark never friendly to any power hitter, except, yes, Bonds. Uribe had also made a statement , May, 2009, defending steroid use, especially among struggling Latin players. As for Giants pitchers, I’d like to think its less likely that any of them might be using enhancing drugs , but , again, they’ve all come on stronger than ever, too, this past month. One simply must question, especially with the Giants track record of having the most implicated drug users in all of baseball over the past decade, including Guillen just the past month.
I live on the Oakland side of the Bay Area and was almost starting to give the Giants credit for their sudden glory, until news broke about the shipments of HGH delivered to Guillen’s wife , in the Bay Area , during September while he played with the Giants.
This suddenly triggered memories of Bonds and his very merry men of 2002 , when they got into their only other World Series in the past two decades, after which nearly half the team was later implicated for steroid use. Long before anyone else suspected anything but ‘talent’ back then, I had grown suspicious of the many things pointing to drug use by, first, Bonds – the changing body, the gargantuan late-career stats.
I also remembered a key statement Bonds made way back in 2001 – already in the midst of his power surge – how he would help the rest of the team with his new-found ‘ hitting secrets.’ This media event went largely unnoticed by most, but if you go back and do the research, you’ll find the statement, or words to that effect.
Being ‘old school’ (Mays, McCovey, Killebrew,etc) it bothered me to see Bonds doing seemingly unworldly things, like 20+ 450 feet splash hit homers in a season – far more than the rest of the league combined! I even lost respect when we learned that ourr hometown hero, Mark McGwire ha,d done it all on steroids, or at least most of it, while playing fo the A’s in the 90s. Yet, while the rest of the world looked at the Giants much as they do at the rest of this liberal ‘anything goes’ city, where , apparently, rules don’t count, the locals seem to care less, management included. It’s been so long . Time to win, at any cost.
Long-time SF talk show host Ralph Barbieri stated, before the third World Series game that it’s time for the Giants to win ‘in any way, shape or form – too many near misses over the years.’ Perhaps an inferior complex has reached a point that the ‘rare window of opportunity’ must be met, as long time GM Brian Sabean talks about.
So, I’m afraid the old attitudes continue among Giants brass – and fans, along with the steroids, in my opinion. Can’t prove it, but maybe a good investigative reporter or two like those who first broke the Bonds story for the SF Chronicle will take up this one. .. at the risk of becoming personas non grata and literally thrown out of town last time.
Even local media can’t admit to the obvious. When Guillen was here, if other players weren’t already using drugs, he quite probably helped them along. Prove me wrong but we see, primarily Latin players like Jose Uribe, hitting more homers than he has in 10 years – at age 33, in the expansive ATT Park . As we said, Renteria has started hitting of late and so did Jose Guillen, for him, until he was asked not to play in the playoffs, only after Major League Baseball pressured the Giants.; they had said he out of the playoffs due to a neck injury. Typical Giants whitewash. Since the news broke, the house answer to reporters has been that this is a ‘baseball’ matter, and not a Giants problem. Nice buck pass. The Giants should have never brought on this two –time, known drug user, implicated in the Mitchell report.
Guillen had several key, game – winning and key hits in September, which, alone, could have made the difference of the Giants getting into the playoffs . Who knows how much else has transpired to bring so much sudden ‘talent’ to the Giants to bring them so far…
So, the reason most people have been giving the Rangers the best shot at winning it all is because they look at the facts. Never expecting other things such as illicit drugs to enter the picture, most simply look at the stats and record and see the Giants as a slightly above average team with three or four very good pitchers. Texas has BOTH pitching and hitting. Sadly, we may see the wrong team win it all. Maybe I’m too suspicious. Maybe I’ve just become jaded. But, I feel deep down that something is very wrong.
For me, baseball doesn’t have the same meaning it used to – I wish it did – like during the 70s when the A’s own motley crew won it all with a great, well-balanced team, or even in 1989 when they swept the Giants in the Earthquake series, all be it perhaps steroids entered into that, I will admit. I miss the old –time baseball. The real , good old characters are gone from the game.. (Beards , alone, don’t make for characters.) The Giants players don’t even do interviews before and after the radio games anymore. Never once heard Uribe , Renteria or Jonathan Sanchez do an interview, but then, maybe I just missed it.
So, Texas fans and players take heart. You’re doing things the right way, the honest way, playing the came as it should be played. The Rangers are a bunch of good, clean guys. I can’t say the same for the Giants ( of whom I can name at least three off-the –field incidents players have been involved in the past few years.) For the Giants its ‘win at any cost,’ and we’re not talking just money. They threw half their team under the bus this season, so you wouldn’t recognize the current lineup from the one that began the year. Maybe Sabean did make a couple good moves – at least for this year- among the many not-so-good ones . So a couple of the players stuck while several key Giants, like Barry Zeto were left totally out of the equation; he wasn’t even kept on the team for the playoffs, despite having his best year in several years. As for the Rangers, you’ve done a great job, with Ron Washington leading the way; the A’s should have never let him go, but that’s another story I will get into another time.