Back in March, some poor confused soul actually wrote an article titled "The 1985 Royals and the 2012 Giants." It was an article written by someone who was actually excited to watch 160 to 180 games of baseball over the next few months, the poor sap. And the premise behind it was simple:
- The 1985 Royals had a bunch of good, young pitching, but not a lot of hitting
- The 2012 Giants were supposed to have a bunch of good, young pitching, but not a lot of hitting
- The 1985 Royals won the World Series
- So, like, IDK, maybe the Giants could too, or whatever?
Madison Bumgarner was supposed to be Bret Saberhagen. Matt Cain was supposed to be Charlie Leibrandt. Tim Lincecum was supposed to be Danny Jackson. I thought it was optimistic for a Giant to match George Brett's production, but Buster Posey sure came close. And even Willie Wilson had a switch-hitting/triples-gettin'/base-swipin'/center-field dopplegänger in Angel Pagan, if you squinted.
And we would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling pitchers. Tim Lincecum was Mike LaCoss. He wasn't Saberhagen, and he wasn't Leibrandt. He was Mike LaCoss, possibly the 2012 version. The linchpin of the whole comparison is that the Giants had awesome pitching. And then they didn't. Bumgarner was Saberhagen until the tired, or got out of whack, or whatever turned him hittable.
Now the Giants are counting on Barry Zito.
Barry Zito isn't any of those guys, either
After all of that hope pinned on the young pitchers, the Giants actually made the NLCS, but it didn't have a lot to do with those young pitchers. Those preseason comparisons seem so quaint now. But before the analogy completely crumbles to dust, though, I want to point out three things:
The first is the '85 Royals are the only team in major-league history to come back twice from a 3-1 deficit in the same postseason. They were down 3-1 to the Blue Jays in the ALCS, but they came back. Pretend that's the equivalent to the Giants coming back against the Reds. Heck, Toronto even reminds me of Cincinnati except for the everything.
The second thing is that in the World Series, the Royals came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Cardinals. The Royals allowed three runs in the final three games, of course, which isn't something the Giants are apt to do. Barry Zito's already walked Jon Jay to start Game 5, for example. But the Cardinals are due for a balancing of the gut-punch ledger. They had everything ripped from them in 1985, but then they got to push two perfectly innocent teams, the Rangers and Nationals, off a cliff.
The third thing is that I believe, with Bonds as my witness, the Giants can benefit from a blown call just as much as the next team. They are a team that's just built to accept an umpire's incompetence and claim it as something they did correctly.
And I'm okay with that because I'm a partisan pig-man with low standards and a rabid win-at-all-costs mentality.
There are other teams who have come back from 3-1. I'm not going to look, but I'm going to assume they all pitched the snot out of the ball. So, any time, Giants. But the 1985 Royals stick out because I a) made the comparison before the season, b) they did it against the stupid team the Giants are trying to do it to, and c) there's always the chance the Giants will get a blown call!
That's what being a baseball fan is all about: hope. Let's just hope for a bunch of stupid stuff to work out because it's worked before. Shawshank Redemption quote, Goonies quote, Carole King lyrics, Karate Kid/Rocky IV montage reference, Leslie Nielsen coming back into the cockpit over and over again, thanks for reading, and YEAH LET'S GIT 'EM ZITO.