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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

There was something poetic about the way the Giants lost their first three World Series in San Francisco. That poetry is still part of the teamís history, but the futility it represented ended with yesterdayís victory. There is no banner to raise for frustration, and you can ask any Cubs fan if you donít believe me. Itís been over a hundred years for them.

In 1962, when I was 13 and the Giants were only four years gone from New York, they tied the Dodgers for first place at the end of the season and won a three-game playoff series before meeting the Yankees in the World Series. The seventh and deciding game was played at Candlestick Park, and the Yankees led 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth, but the Giants had the tying and winning runs in scoring position. Willie McCovey hit a scorching line drive that should have driven in both runs and given the Giants the championship, but it was caught by a leaping Bobby Richardson for the last out.

That was the Giantsí last time in the World Series until 1989, when they won the league pennant with a powerful team of charismatic stars. Big hitters. But they couldnít solve the Athleticsí pitching staff and lost the first two games in Oakland. There was an electric feeling in the stands at Candlestick before game three was scheduled to start. I know, because I was there. And then the earthquake hit. Ten days later, the Series resumed, and the Giants went quietly.

In 2002, the Giants were famously five outs away from a sixth game victory that would have given them the Series. They had a 5-0 lead in that game, but the Angels came back to win that game and game seven. This wasnít only the most recent time the Giants lost the World Series, but it was the most frustrating. That team also had some great hitters, including Barry Bonds at the peak of his power surge. He dominated the postseason that year, but it wasnít enough.

29 April 2004

This yearís Giants team has been described as a group of misfits and mercenaries. Some were here because they couldnít find a job with another team. Some were on the downside of the hill, others barely out of high school. Nobody had been a member of the team longer than 26-year-old pitcher Matt Cain. Some, in fact, had been Giants only a month when the playoffs started. But they played as one, with a single goal, and with heart. You gotta have heart.

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