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The way it was before the Giants won the World Series

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Before the Giants won three championships in five years, there was some question on if they would ever win one. Here are some results for "World Series" on McCovey Chronicles dot com before 2010.

Jason O. Watson

At some point this offseason, we're going to have to talk about Pablo Sandoval and the millions of clams that someone will give to him. Also, the money he'll get. He'll require a lot of bread. Also, a lot of money. Because bread is great for clams, especially with a nice, garlicky sauce, and in order to buy some, you need money.

Let's start over. The Giants will have business to transact. Boring, boring, rosterbatory business. They'll have to decide which players to keep, which players to add. We'll argue about it while pretending we aren't spoiled brats.

Not today, though. Not today. We need more time to roll around in this incredible, unlikely postseason run. The Giants have won three World Series in the last five years, when I was absolutely convinced they would never win one in my lifetime. This means it's time to look back at some of the uses of the phrase "win the World Series" on this very website.

Warning: my writing was raw and confusing back in the early days. I'm not Roger Angell now and I never will be, but, brother, I was awful back then. Thanks for sticking around?

2005

In which I linked to a pre-YouTube video that captured the post-NLCS euphoria of 2002. There's a Scott Spiezio mention.

Key quote:

Instead of wallowing in what followed, which Giants fans are genetically encoded to do, try and remember how you felt after that specific game.

Patience, little buddy. Patience. Oh, the sights you will see ...

Then there's Steve Finley-related anger here:

The Dodgers winning the division messed everything up. You perennially finish behind us, we don't win the World Series.  We had a deal, damnit!

Don't break deals, people. Look at what happens. The Dodgers were supposed to finish behind the Giants until the end of time, and the Giants were supposed to fail in the postseason every chance they got. Upset at the three championships in five seasons, Dodgers? It's your fault.

Later that year, I dared to dream about the 2005 Giants coming back, not realizing that they were going to be bad for a good, long while. At the end of the year, I wrote about how sorry I would feel for the Astros or White Sox:

One set of fans will watch their team win. I don't know what that feels like. One set of fans will watch their team lose, have their stomach knot up as if they ate a ball-peen hammer, and carry that feeling around for a decade or so. Just thinking about it makes me glad the Giants didn't drag a below-average team through the playoffs this season. I have trust issues.

2006

Should the Giants have traded Jason Schmidt for prospects? In retrospect, probably. However, don't forget about my daily butterfly-effect mention. If the Giants trade Schmidt for Felix Pie, maybe they're still messing around with him in 2009 instead of snagging Andres Torres. At the time, though, I just wanted Schmidt for the sweet, sweet feeling of hope:

It's interesting to speculate about his trade value, but more fun to picture him sitting atop the back seat of a convertible, waving through a confetti storm on Market Street.2

2Likelihood of actually happening: .00001%. Cash value: 1/100th of 1¢. Warning: counting on the Giants to win a World Series may cause irritable bowels, upset stomach, hair loss, looking like Al Pacino on two hours' sleep, and a strong urge to drink a bottle of Robitussin to numb a pain that can not be numbed.

I just want to yell at that dumb kid. That 2006 team was so bad. And yet, I kept going.

However, as long as the Giants are just a couple of games back, I think it's silly to call for trading away Vizquel or Schmidt. I want in the playoffs, and I want the rest of the baseball-loving world to shake their head in disgust. "Eight RBI for Jason Ellison in Game Seven? Didn't see that coming...." Maybe it's irrational optimism, but I can't remember a time when following this team was rational. Like, the '60s, or something?

At one point, I fantasized about an alternate history of despotic Soviet rule, which was welcome, so long as it led to one lousy championship.

Walking to the car, I noticed the "2005 San Francisco Giants World Championship" bumper sticker was starting to peel from my car. Holy crap, that was a great series. Comrade Bonds was on fire throughout the entire playoffs, helping the Giants toward a common goal. The celebration after the final out seemed to last for three weeks.

2007

The Giants were bad again. But there was hope. There was a pitcher, see. A rookie. He was making his debut

And after the 27th strikeout, he lifted his cap,
Gave a wink and a nod, acknowledged the cheers and the claps
And I heard him exclaim, as he jogged out of sight
"I won this series right now, but I'll win a World Series some night!"

It was unlikely, of course. Don't trust pitching prospects. What were the odds that Lincecum was going to win one World Series. Back in the horrible days of Alex Rios for Lincecum rumors, I was terrified that Lincecum was going to win his rings with another team:

• Scenario 1 - The trade does not go through. Lincecum goes the way of Foppert, and the Giants never get Lincecum to reach his potential.

• Scenario 2 - The trade goes through. Rios doesn't improve, and while he remains a nice player to have, he is certainly isn't a star. Lincecum wins eight Cy Youngs for Toronto, takes them to three World Series, Canadian school children start getting Lincecum's Birthday off as a holiday, and a newly discovered species of moose is named for him.

Ha. Three World Series. What an imagination.

2008

Do you remember radical realignment? It was a nutty, horrible proposal back in 1997 that would have put the A's, Angels, and Mariners in the NL West. I was opposed to it. But then I realized that if the Giants were playing the White Sox in the 2000 postseason instead of the Mets, they might have won. They might have won the World Series. I would have traded radical realignment for that. I would have sold baseball out for just one championship.

There was a draft that year. The Giants took a catcher. I wrote about things the Giants might do before the draft. That led to comments like these:

comments


With analysis like that, the only thing I could do was ask Chris to write for the site.

Interlude: In August of 2008, some person with a username of "GiantsWinItAllIn2010" wrote a FanShot titled World Series in 2010. Here's the entire text of that FanShot:

World Series in 2010

That was the only day he logged in to the site. Probably because he was a visitor from another planet.

Later that year, while enjoying the October tradition of watching other teams play, I complained about the ubiquitous J.T. Snow homer again.

Even if the Red Sox lose the ALCS or World Series, Jed Lowrie's walk-off dribbler will always have a proper place in Boston lore. It won a playoff series. See, there's a hierarchy (of postseason events) here, from greatest to lamest:

  • Walk-off homer that vaults the Giants into the World Series (Bobby Thomson)
  • Walk-off homer that wins a World Series (Bill Mazeroski, Joe Carter)
  • Walk-off hit that wins a playoff series (Jed Lowrie, Kenny Lofton)
  • Walk-off homer that wins a single game in an eventual series win (Kirk Gibson, Kirby Puckett)
  • Walk-off homer that wins a single game in an eventual series loss (Carlton Fisk)
  • Two pigeons mating in a camera well during a regular season game
  • A fourth starter giving a decent-enough performance (5.2 IP, 3 ER) in NLDS game.
  • Home run that temporarily ties a game for twelve minutes, though the team doesn't win the game or series (J.T. Snow)

Oh, how I want to go back in time and show everyone the Travis Ishikawa home run. If told that he hits a pennant-winning homer in 2014, what kind of future would we have predicted for him in 2008? Probably at least one All-Star Game. Maybe Snow's career, give or take? No, he was a reserve who took an important walk, disappeared, rode buses, and came back to play a position he was never meant to play for a team that shouldn't have needed him at all. The Aristocrats!

Later that year, the Giants signed Edgar Renteria. I don't remember if I was sober or not, but I went back after 2010 and added a postscript to the reaction. A couple of weeks later, I used a Bumgarner-for-Uggla trade hypothetical, and I didn't make the sign of the cross afterward or anything.

Right now, a lot of good Giants fans are angry. Fear of losing leads to anger. And anger leads to the Giants spending $120M on the wrong free agent. I’m terrified of a losing season, especially one that involves Edgar Renteria hitting .240, because I’m worried that would create a fan revolt. I’d guess that the Great Fan Revolt of aught-nine would involve decreased attendance, a new front office, a $150M contract to Matt Holliday and a Madison Bumgarner-for-Dan Uggla swap. Maybe that combo would allow the Giants to compete in the short term. Maybe. It’s more likely that impatient moves like that would futz up the Giants’ long-term and sensible plans.

That was TOTALLY A DEAL THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED. Uggla was under 30 and a dinger-mashing monster. Bumgarner was just a pitching prospect. Now I'm all shaky ...

2009

The Giants were good again! Kind of. They could pitch, at least. And when they couldn't hit, they made a trade for Freddy Sanchez that made me so danged mad.

The only way this trade earns more than a D- is if the Giants keep their remaining prospects while adding someone who pushes Bengie Molina to the sixth or seventh spot in the lineup.

Another way the trade is a success is if the Giants win the World Series within the next two years. Then it will be the best trade ever. I'll just hold my breath for that one.

Seriously, though, Bengie Molina was hitting cleanup. How was I supposed to know that the Giants were adept at producing World Series-winning second basemen from a magic box? Later that year, there was the Spilborghspocalypse:

When the Giants do win something, when the rapture arrives and takes us all to Championship Land in the clouds, we'll remember last night. We'll wear it like a scar, and we'll rub that scar when the Giants are spraying champagne all over the clubhouse in 2056, or whenever. The younger folks will just be excited that their team won, but they'll have no idea. No idea.

Huh, I forgot about that game until just now. Looks like I was wrong again!

Finally, before the Winter Meetings, there was this curious article with a curious headline of "2014: The year we realize how Edgar Renteria won a championship for the Giants"

And while the rest of you are jumping up and down like idiots, I'll calmly pump my fist and say, "Thank you, Edgar Renteria. You've delivered a championship because you weren't Orlando Cabrera or Rafael Furcal."

That didn't happen, either! But while Renteria helped win the World Series for the Giants in 2010, you can sort of see his fingerprints on everything else, too. His absence in 2011 forced the Giants to bring up Brandon Crawford earlier than expected, which helped ease him into a lineup for 2012. The Giants used the pick they didn't give away for Furcal and Cabrera, and they turned it into a prospect who became the centerpiece of the Hunter Pence deal, which helped the Giants win two championships.

Thank you, Edgar Renteria. You delivered three championships because you weren't Orlando Cabrera or Rafael Furcal. Just like we all figured back in 2009, when we were so angry.

Congratulations, Yankees. Now go eat a bowl of scorpions and break your ankles while tripping over a pile of champagne bottles because you can all screw yourselves. You and your spoiled fans can all screw yourselves. Winning a single championship would warm my heart for decades. Decades. I just want one. Can you please just give us one of your 27, you greedy, imperialistic bastards?

Gosh, is that how the rest of baseball feels about us? Seems extreme. I'll have to remember this while actively rooting for the Giants to troll the world next year, too.

Long post short: I looked through a lot of old posts with keywords of "World Series" to see what we thought of the possibility of the Giants ever winning one. Turns out we were morbidly pessimistic about the Giants' chances. It also turns out that they've won three in five years.

I'm pretty sure we don't get to ever complain about anything again. For, like, five months, at least.