The San Francisco Giants will play Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night against the Texas Rangers. It is still taking time for that to sink in.
They have seven games to prove the world wrong. This Giants team has the opportunity to do something no Giants team has done since 1954: win it all.
They can do something Willie McCovey could not do. Will Clark couldn't. Neither could Juan Marichal.
Gaylord Perry? Nope. We all know how the Bonds era ended.
Fifty-six years for the franchise—an eternity of waiting for the city of San Francisco.
Once again, the Giants will face a team that has never been to the World Series—the 2002 Angels had never been to the Series.
The Rangers reached the World Series by pounding the ball.
The Giants, as we know, do not pound the ball. But what is it about this team that gives them the opportunity to win a World Series where the other great Giants teams have failed?
First, let's go back and look at the Giants' history in the World Series.
1962 San Francisco Giants (lost 4-3 to the New York Yankees)
This team had Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal and the list could go on. They had an all-star lineup and an ace for the ages. How did they not beat the Yankees?
Gaylord Perry was also on this team, but he was not yet the Hall-of-Fame caliber pitcher he would become.
They could not figure out the Yankee pitching. In the seven game series, the Giants scored 22 runs for an average of 3.14 runs per game. In fact, they scored two or fewer runs four times.
1989 San Francisco Giants (lost 4-0 to the Oakland Athletics)
Let's face facts: The A's were the better team that year. They had pitching, hitting and played great defense. What else could you ask for?
The Giants had a great lineup with Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell and Matt Williams. But once again, the Giants were unable to keep the Athletics off the base paths or to stop them from hitting nine home runs in the four-game series.
The earthquake may have taken its toll on players, but pitching was the difference.
2002 San Francisco Giants (lost 4-3 to the Anaheim Angels)
Can you say "choke?" That is what the Giants did in this World Series.
Giants fans know the story: With a five-run lead going into the seventh inning of Game 6, they had the World Series wrapped up. Parties were being planned. The champagne was already on ice. The massive parade in San Francisco had been scheduled.
Then the bullpen failed. Tim Worrell, Felix Rodriguez and an injured Robb Nen gave up the lead and the momentum going into a tragic Game 7.
The rest is history. That Giants team had the hitting, and in the end, the pitching failed them.
2010 San Francisco Giants vs. Texas Rangers
This brings us back to the series that begins on Wednesday.
What do the Giants do well? Pitch—and now, get timely hits. They are the true definition to the word "team."
This bunch of misfits, cast-offs or whatever you want to call them have made it their mission to prove to each of those teams who gave up on them that they shouldn't have. We know the names, and as we continue to hear, they truly do pull for each other.
Take a look at the Giants' wins in the NLCS. Who was key?
Game 1: Cody Ross' HR.
Game 3: Matt Cain (you can make a case for Ross again), Aaron Rowand.
Game 4: Juan Uribe, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval.
Game 6: Uribe, Aubrey Huff, Madison Bumgarner, Jeremy Affeldt.
The saying goes, "It takes a village," and it sure has with the Giants.
What do the Rangers do well? They hit the stuffing out of the ball and rely on solid, not great pitching with the exception of Cliff Lee. They, too, are a "team" and are carrying the hopes of the state of Texas which has never won a World Series.
As was described in the previous World Series trips for the Giants, the difference has been pitching. The Giants had the best ERA in all of baseball this season, and they carried it into the postseason.
They shut down the Atlanta Braves and the Phillies. Now, this pitching staff is four wins away from baseball immortality.
Wouldn't it be fitting in the "Year of the Pitcher" for the team with the best ERA to win it all? I think so.
The saying goes "good pitching beats good hitting." For the Giants to win this series, the statement has to ring true more than ever.