So today I’m making a huge batch of caramel corn getting ready to settle in for the first game of the World Series, and still pinching myself trying to figure out how the Giants ended up in the series. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I had it all figured out a few months ago that either Washington or Cincinnati would be representing the NL this week and I was fine with that. I mean spread it around. I’m still reveling in our 2010 World Series victory and nothing will ever take that away.
But fate intervened and the San Francisco Giants survived the regular season and so it begins. Tim McCarver was in usual form and talked non-stop for five minutes about the miraculous powers of the unbeatable, unstoppable Justin Verlander, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, and the additional weapons in the form of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. And I agreed. I figured we’d lose the first game for sure, and probably the next two also, and then win the last four in a row. I don’t know why, but that’s the way the Giants have been doing things in San Francisco lately.
You all know I don’t write about the game per se, or the scoreboard or statistics because they’re so readily available but there’s always some little thing that stands out, something that grabs my attention. And there was a lot of that surrounding those wild and crazy Giants tonight; Pablo Sandoval’s incredible first three at bats ending in three home runs, Barry Zito’s revival with one of the best curve balls in the game (what a performance!) and Gregor Blanco’s two incredible diving catches in right field and much more as they came together perfectly as a team.
But I’m still smiling when I think of Justin Verlander standing on the mound in the bottom of the 4th inning, when Manager Jim Leyland walked out of the dugout, to the mound, and asked Verlander for the ball. All the time Leyland was walking from the dugout towards Verlander, the cameras were on Verlander and all that time he had a smile on his face. And it wasn’t a smirk. It was a smile as if to say, “Wow, where the hell did these guys come from?” because I think he was just as surprised as the rest of us were. I’m a Giants fan and I’m sure I’m supposed to act like I knew they were going to do this, but I didn’t. I don’t think anyone did, except maybe the Giants themselves. I’ll bet the bookies in Vegas were sweating through the entire game because when I read the odds in the paper this morning it said “Tigers over Giants ~ Odds: -178, or something like that. I don’t even know what that means? Who’s ever seen odds like that anyway? This is the same Tiger team who beat the New York Yankees in 4 straight games in best of 7 this year to win the AL Pennant and get to this World Championship Series.
What I liked about Verlander’s attitude was his calm, cool and in-control demeanor. Here’s a guy that’s a two-time Cy Young winner, had an incredible season and is probably used to everyone patronizing him and agreeing with everything he says and does. But he didn’t appear angry or upset or anything, even though I’m sure he was disappointed. He appeared to take it all in stride, like “It’s okay. I’ll get them next time”. And there’s a good chance he will. And with a smile he walked to the dugout to watch the rest of the game.
I love my Giants and they played a fantastic game tonight, and I’ll watch it again, maybe twice, before I go to bed. And tonight they beat the Detroit Tigers fair and square by a score of 8-3. But I sure wasn’t expecting it. It was a surprise.
And I sure hope I’m surprised three more times just like this in the remaining games of the 2012 World Series. Way to go and thank you Giants. Whatta game it was!
- Sandoval’s 3 HRs lead Giants to Game 1 WS win (cbsnews.com)
- Sandoval’s historic night propels Giants in Game 1 (nbcsports.msnbc.com)
- You: Tigers, Giants open 2012 World Series (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)