Keys to World Series Game 3

No Need for Giants to Panic

The Barry Zito Contract Revisited

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The Barry Zito Contract Revisited
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series could wear many different subtitles.

You had two improbable returns from the brink of elimination in the National League Division and Championship Series, which led to the sweep of a supposedly superior Detroit Tigers.

You had the hard-to-believe-even-as-you-watched-it brilliance of Marco Scutaro and Ryan Vogelsong.

You had Pablo Sandoval's historic performance en route to the World Series MVP award and Tim Lincecum's devastating addition to a bullpen that really didn't need the help.

There were Hunter Pence's inspirational moments, his thrice-hit-broken-bat line drive, sparkling defense by the likes of Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco, the grace of the baseball gods and the list goes on.

Ultimately, however, it must be known by only one: "The Redemption of Barry Zito."

By now, every baseball fan is aware San Francisco left the soft-throwing southpaw off its postseason roster in 2010. Most are also aware of his trials and tribulations since crossing the Bay Bridge prior to the 2007 season.

His tenure with the Orange and Black before '12 had been, in a word, gruesome—gopheritis, walks, bloated ERAs, unbecoming WHIPs, bullpen demotions and phantom trips to the disabled list all figured into the narrative. He took his lumps with class, but the relentless downward spiral was tough to watch.

Of course, Zeets rose from the ashes and played a starring role as the club won its second Fall Classic in three years.

The St. Louis Cardinals had the Giants' heels dangling over the abyss by Game 5 of the NLCS, so Zito's 7.2 innings of scoreless baseball literally saved the team's season. The significance of his triumphant duel with all-world ace Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series also can't be overstated.

In both starts, the 34-year-old set a defiant stride that would not be broken until the franchise was ordering a second set of rings.

The man even anted up with the bat, hitting .400 with a couple of runs batted in.

A postseason like that washes away a lot of grime.

To understand just how much, you need to go back to the reason the spotlight always finds Zito: his infamous contract.

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