Full disclosure: My mother’s side of our family was from Brooklyn and they first brought me to Ebbetts Field as early as 1952. I was four years old, optimal age for brainwashing a kid. I had to be a Dodgers fan. Up until I was in my teens I was a pretty big one too, meaning not only did I love my Dodgers but the enemies were the crosstown teams, the one that wore pinstripes and the other that wore orange and black. Our family has lived in California since 1991, in Fresno since ‘95. Although I could barely be considered a Dodgers fan now, I have to admit . . . I still don’t like either the Yankees nor the Giants.
There’s only one reason I’m posting this piece regarding the Giants. Because they deserve it. Most impressive was during the post game interviews after their four game sweep over the Detroit Tigers, each one of the San Francisco Giants displayed class, an attitude of confidence without being obnoxious - in light of the fact they just won it all. They played the same way. Each was asked questions that could have resulted in grunted replies or babbling instead of speaking or a lot of “ya know’s,” but they were all so humble and appreciative of their teammates.
Sure, the locker room was being spray painted with champagne. After all, it was the World Series and some traditions die hard. Or maybe it’s baseball. Think of how many times baseball players, independent of what they do in the game (other than those who do something to end the game), go into self-promoting, celebratory dances or other crazy actions. You’d be hard pressed to come up with a small number. Compare that with the other team sports like football, basketball, hockey and soccer - sports in which the act of scoring seems to be a greater reward for the individual than it is for the team.
Listening to the Giants speak about how the other guys on the team needed to be recognized for their contributions is refreshing for a guy, admittedly, from the old school. It is ironic because baseball is more of an individual sport than those mentioned above. Other than, say, sacrificing or hitting behind a runner to move him a base, or backing up batted or thrown balls, pretty much the only way a baseball player can help his team is to do well himself, e.g. positive things like get a hit, steal a base, catch batted balls or stay away from negative things like making outs at bat, committing errors, getting thrown out stealing or poor baserunning.
The Giants, now the champs, could have done a little self-promoting. None did, including Pablo Sandoval who might have been given a pass if he had (a little). Instead, one of them, I can’t recall which, when he was asked why he thought they were able to complete the final journey, simply said:
“We all bought in.”