Play Ball: The Giants’ World Championship Victory
Night has fallen over AT&T park, the Giants’ SF home base, but the game is nowhere near over! Photography by Paul C., ’15
2010. 2012. 2014. Your San Francisco Giants have won them all.
Back in 2010, the Giants earned the title of World Champions for the first time. San Francisco has had many legends throughout MLB history including Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, all the way to Barry Bonds, but no World Series Championships. Yet starting in 2010, the Giants ended that streak, snagging the World Champion title in 2010 and 2012.
On April 6th 2014, Opening Day, Giants fans were hopeful. After a one-year hiatus, the Giants were coming back strong. As the season continued, the Giants were in first place in the National League West, 9 games ahead and the best team in baseball. Mid summer, the Giants went into a tailspin and lost key players like Pagan and Cain to injury.
In September, the Giants began to recover, but there wasn’t enough time to catch-up to their rivals, the Dodgers. After a 9-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers near the end of their season, the Giants were eliminated from the race for first place in the National League West. At the end of an eventful season, the Giants ended their season with 88 wins and 74 losses, coming in second to the Dodgers and making the Wild Card. They defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card game in an 8-0 game pitched by Madison Bumgarner, and moved on to the Division Series.
In the Division Series, the Giants went 3-1 against the Washington Nationals, including a six-hour twenty-three minute game that lasted 18 innings, with a final score of 2-1 Giants. Riding on their success, the Giants moved on to win the Championship Series in 4 wins to 1 loss against the Saint Louis Cardinals, with Madison Bumgarner receiving the MVP award.
Finally, the Giants made it to the World Series against the American League Kansas City Royals, in the second World Series between two wild-card teams. This would be the Royals’ first world series since 1985. Madison Bumgarner helped pull out a win in game 1, while the Royals won games 2 and 3. After winning game 4, and then game 5 (in which Bumgarner pitched a shut-out), the Giants scared fans by losing game 6 when the Royals shut them out 10-0. Luckily, in a 7th game in Kansas City, key hits from Sandoval, Pence, and Morse, combined with fantastic pitching from Jeremy Afeldt and especially from Bumgarner (and on only two days’ rest!) brought the Giants to a final score of 3-2. Madison Bumgarner won the much-deserved MVP award, going down as a legendary pitcher in World Series history. The Giants were victorious in securing their 3rd World Series win in five years, continuing their pattern of every-other-year victories.
Being World Champions for the third time in just five seasons certainly makes the Giants the most prominent team in baseball. In fact, the team’s recent success has even elicited from experts the term “dynasty.” In the past forty seasons in the MLB, there has not been any other team to win three World Series in just five seasons.
Giants fans hold up the American flag as a lead-in to the deciding World Series game. Photography by Paul C. ’15
Although the entire team has contributed to the Giants’ 2014 success, Madison Bumgarner has been given the most attention. And the attention is well deserved. He is currently only 25 and recently signed a long-term contract with the Giants until 2018. His season-long ERA was 2.98 (among the best in the MLB), his October ERA was 1.03, and his World Series ERA was 0.19 (the lowest in history for a pitcher to pitch in as many innings as he). And, don’t forget, Bumgarner can hit, too. His batting average this season was 2.58 (incredibly high for a pitcher) and he also hit four home runs, two of those grand slams. Bumgarner’s most recent successes earned him the title of World Series MVP 2014, making him the best pitcher in baseball. Without Bumgarner (“MadBum” as most refer to him), it’s doubtful that the Giants would have gone all the way; throughout the playoffs, he was the Giants’ “go to” guy.
In the end, however, every single Giant on the 2014 squad can wear his ring with pride; the Giants’ victory was, if anything, a valiant team effort.
by Lena M. and Paul C.