Thoughts preceding World Series Game1
Wednesday, Oct. 27
If you listen to the experts, there’s no way the Giants should win the World Series.
My employers, MLB.com, polled 15 writers or analysts; nine picked the Texas Rangers to win the Fall Classic. The disparity was much greater over at ESPN. Of the 28 wise people they surveyed, 22 predicted that the next champagne-and-beer shower will occur in Texas’ clubhouse.
It makes sense. Texas appears to play better defense, certainly possesses more speed and has more offensive thump.
But, as right-hander Matt Cain said, “If that’s what they’re writing, I guess we’ll have to change it.”
Moreover, the Giants have two equalizers: Their pitching and their pluck.
The American League boasts some strong pitching staffs — Minnesota, Boston and Tampa Bay are all above average. But when the Giants’ hurlers, particularly the starters, are on their game, they’re downright dominant.
Don’t be surprised if Tim Lincecum delivers a performance tonight that approaches his two-hit, one-walk, 14-strikeout gem against Atlanta in Game 1 of the Division Series. I doubt that the Rangers have seen many pitchers like him, and pitches like his, in the American League.
Then there’s the matter of the Giants’ attitude. General manager Brian Sabean said after the Game 6 NLCS clincher at Philadelphia that this team might not always hit or pitch more effectively than its opponents, but it competes far better than most.
That resolve and spirit are what made the difference for the Giants down the stretch as they outlasted the Padres and Rockies. Their resolute approach has remained intact during the postseason, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t continue against the Rangers.
Finally, some personal observations: People keep reminding me to enjoy this experience, to savor it. I’m trying my best, though deadlines and commitments (thank you, Bob Seger) make it difficult to share the fans’ excitement and stop to smell the hot dogs all the time.
So today, as I approached AT&T Park, I took special care to appreciate as much as I could. I was amazed as I turned onto Third Street how many people were already surrounding the ballyard, though the first pitch was more than four hours away. I marveled at the boats beginning to fill McCovey Cove as I strolled across the Lefty O’Doul bridge. And I drank in the shouts of the vendors and the buzz of the fans, just as I did during my “formative baseball years” while attending games at Candlestick Park.
I don’t think I’ve ever sensed as much energy at a baseball venue as I did this afternoon. Anticipation is a wonderful tonic.
As I’m sure you’ll all agree, Play Ball!
– Chris Haft