For the past two years there has been a common theme of the championship teams. The Giants won it all last year, and the Cardinals won it all in 2011. Both of these teams had their differences and similarities, but the way it all played out was very similar. There are a few common themes that both of these teams had.
The first component of these championship teams is somebody having a career or comeback year. Last year the Giants had a couple of candidates for this position. First, was Andres Torres, and the other player was Aubrey Huff. Torres had been floating around the major and minor leagues for most of his career, but the Giants gave him a chance after Aaron Rowand went down, and he exceeded all expectations. Torres provided the Giants with a leadoff hitter who was always on base, and a speedy player who could swipe a base every once in a while. Before 2010 Torres was a no name player, who nobody respected. By the end of the World Series, Torres was respected by the Giants organization, and teams around the league for what he did in 2010.
Cardinals Comparison: Lance Berkman
The other player that really came through for the Giants in their championship season, was Aubrey Huff. Huff played in the AL East for most of his career, always finishing in last behind the powerhouses of the league, the Red Sox and Yankees. He never played in meaningful game in September and defiantly not October, but when he was given an opportunity to take over first base for the Giants, he performed all year long and finished third in national league MVP voting. Huff gained respect from the whole Giants organization for how he became a leader in the process of winning a World Series, for the city of San Francisco. Oh and don’t forget the good old rally thong.
Cardinals Comparison: Allen Craig
The last component in the formula of winning a world series is somebody getting hot towards the end of the year and carrying it through the postseason. The obvious choice for the Giants here is Cody Ross. The Giants basically claimed Ross for nothing in the middle of the year, but he carried the Giant’s offense right through the postseason and onto winning a ring. Ross was named the NLCS MVP, and if there was an award for NLDS MVP, he probably would have won that too.
Cardinals Comparison: David Freese
As you can see it takes some players stepping up big to win a championship. A team can’t just sign $100 million players, and expect them to be MVP’s. There are going to be players that are busts, but for a team to win a championship other players have to pick them up. The Giants did this in 2010, and the Cardinals showed some of the same similarities this year.