But baseball has now woken up to the Giants. One title can be an aberration, and the 2010 championship — with unforeseeable contributions from unpredictable sources — could have seemed so. It meant everything to the city of San Francisco, which hadn’t won a World Series since the franchise moved from New York in 1958. The rest of baseball, though, could logically say, “That won’t happen again.”
Now, it has. The Giants finished their season on a seven-game winning streak that showed not only the bond they built this fall, but the franchise they have built for the future. No one in the clubhouse was predicting more titles in coming years. “In this game, a couple injuries here and there, and that’s the end of it,” pitching coach Dave Righetti said. But there was and is a quiet confidence about what just transpired, and what might come next.
“You never know what’s going to happen, performance from year to year,” said General Manager Brian Sabean, standing just outside Bochy’s office. “How you start or finish the season, or injuries or what-not. We’re happy that a lot of these guys are going to go forward with us. We’ll certainly try to get some of the free agents to be back. We’re sitting in a good spot.”
He said it not brashly, but almost sheepishly. That appears to be the Giants’ way. Quiet is just fine, though it might not be realistic in the future.
“I don’t think we’re off the radar anymore, which will present its obstacles,” catcher Buster Posey said. “But I think it’s a challenge that we’re all looking forward to.”
The challenge will be met by a group of players who figure to be around awhile. The Giants completed their sweep of the Tigers when Marco Scutaro hit a two-out single that scored Ryan Theriot in the top of the 10th inning on Sunday night. Both of those players, infielders, are free agents. Veteran reliever Jeremy Affeldt, who recorded five key outs in Game 4, is also unsigned for next year, as is fellow reliever Guillermo Mota and starting center fielder Angel Pagan.
But there is so much else in place. Posey is 25, the presumptive National League most valuable player after he won a batting title, and has won two World Series in his first three years in the majors. No central character has done that since Derek Jeter in 1996 and ’98. And he did it while handling a pitching staff that became the backbone of the seven straight wins to close the season.