They've been called Torture, The Dirty Dozen, The Misfits, The Cast-Offs, The Scrapheap Gang, The
Bad News Bears, The Little Rascals and compared to virtually every underdog team in sports history.
But now they'll ultimately be known as the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants.
This team of colorful, diverse, outspoken, crazy characters was indeed a team of destiny.
The Rangers lineup inspires much more fear than the Giants. Cliff Lee was thought to be immortal until the Giants proved otherwise.
The Phillies are a much better team on paper. They've got seven all stars in their lineup and a supremely dominant three headed pitching staff. Halladay threw the first no-hitter in the postseason in decades, then a no-name cast-off, Cody Ross, made him look junior varsity.
It doesn't make sense—at all.
If the Atlanta braves don't lose Billy Wagner, Martin Prado and Chipper Jones before the playoffs the Giants don't beat them. Period. Because then Brooks Conrad isn't on their roster and all those eighth- and ninth-inning comebacks don't happen. Something miraculous had to happen. And it did.
Miracle after miracle happened, over and over, and no one could even attempt to explain it except with theories of heart and Divine Intervention.
It's too bad a lot of the country didn't follow the 2010 Giants and learn their story. It's a great one, like Boston having their 3-0 comeback against the Yankees and then winning it all. Just a great story.
Sports stories like this one just don't happen that often.
There is story after story of guys on this team who all faced extreme humility and fought back against adversity with the notion of team as their North Star as they overcame every obstacle on their way to World Series glory.
Instead of telling them all, I'll just tell the most unbelievable one: Cody Ross. A few months ago he wasn't even a Giant, and he was then, in fact, a strategic acquisition to prevent him from going to competitor San Diego
What was the larger factor in the success of the 2010 Giants?
But more amazingly, Giants fans disliked him a few months ago.
Not like we dislike anyone in a Dodger uniform, but like we dislike Casey Blake for mocking Brian Wilson, or Vicente Padilla for nailing Aaron Rowand.
Ross flipped his bat at Matt Cain after smacking a dinger off him in July. Cain glared at him all the way around the bases, then struck him out swinging his next at bat.
Had that game versus Florida not been close Cody Ross would have gotten a Cain fastball in the ribs. And Giants fans would have loved it.
Has that ever happened before in the history of baseball? A guy goes from hated prick to irreproachable playoff hero in the same year?
It's the kind of story that fiction writers make up and people laugh at because it's so implausible and ridiculous. Yet that happened. That happened to the 2010 Giants.
And so in the end, there can be no logical explanation. The Giants played better defense in the playoffs than they're capable of.
They got more clutch hits in the playoffs than they did in the regular season.
They had a higher percentage of late inning comebacks in the playoffs than they did in the regular season.
Yeah, we've always had great pitching, but we didn't do play like this in the regular season.
We're 11-4 in the postseason. That's the best we've played all year.
Other teams players got injured. Invincible pitchers suddenly turned mortal. The San Diego Padres lost 10 games in a row, which must have had a probability of less than one percent.
We won game one of each playoff series and never trailed at any time. Everything went right.
The 2010 Giants shouldn't be the world champions of baseball. But that they are is a reason to believe in something greater than ourselves for anyone out there looking for a reason.
Maybe that sounds like a cliche, but sports isn't at its greatest when great competition leads to entertaining and dramatic finishes, it's at its best when great contests tell the amazing, unbelievable and miraculous stories of regular human beings.
That's what the Giants are: A regular and very flawed group of guys that somehow rose above themselves and played as a TEAM.
And I believe it is a miracle.