Given the appreciation for NPR's Mike Pesca's advice on how to talk about the Series last week. He decided not to leave us in the lurch and give us at least something to say at the water-cooler today.
Players of the San Francisco Giants celebrate their World Series title after beating the Texas Rangers 3-1 in Game 5 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, on Nov. 1, 2010.
The San Francisco Giants Win the Series! The SAN FRANSISCO Giants win the Series! That’s never been said. Well maybe in the Robert DeNiro/Wesley Snipes movie “The Fan”, I turned it off before it ended. So if you want to weigh in somewhat intelligently, here are my answers to the big question lingering over the series:
Was the Giants win earned or a fluke?
The short answer is that the victory was earned. The great Rob Neyer explains that the Giants were hardly the most surprising team to win the World Series even this decade, and also rightly notes that they were the team with the better won loss record.
The Giants had great pitching, in fact they had a specific kind of great pitching: power pitching and a shut down reliever. Studies have shown that combo to be highly correlative to post season success.
But their hitting was fluky. Or if you’re trying to be nice it was “timely.” Sort of like if you’re the Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg. If you’re trying to be nice you call the Yankees fans “passionate.” If you’re speaking freely you call them “Cursed curs of a motherless goat”. (Quote approximate)
Take, as one example of flukiness, Edgar Renteria. The series MVP had two 3 RBI games in the series. He had 0 RBI games during the entire regular season. The Giants as a whole batted .257 during the regular season, and were a below average team in runs scored, averaging around 4 runs per game. In the World Series they averaged about 6 runs a game.
And the Rangers went on a season worst scoring drought, at one point going 18 consecutive innings without scoring. Sure the Giants pitchers have a lot to do with that but so does luck and a small sample size. Although, it must said that the Rangers (and possibly baseball’s) best hitter, Josh Hamilton, had fallen into bad habits at the plate, tapping his front foot before swinging. That extra bit of motion speaks to me an unsettled hitter, impatient, and feeling a bit of pressure. Or it could just be a foot tap. But either way the big difference in this series was supposed to be how good the middle of the Rangers order was. Since the Rangers 3-4-5 hitter actually hit .130, it’s no surprise that the Giants are lifting the World Series Trophy today