Monday, October 25, 2010

The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!

Clearly, I have been having some trouble blogging regularly of late. And, oddly, I think the reason is because I have too much to share. There are some things going on lately that I've been very excited about (knitting-related and otherwise), but I couldn't figure out how to put that excitement into words and I've been putting it off. But this week I'm changing that. And, of the exciting things, I've decided to start with the one that is probably the least exciting in the context of a knitting blog...

So, I've spoken of my love for baseball before, how much I love the San Francisco Giants, and how hard it can be to be their fan (our trials and tribulations are nothing to those of Cubs fans, but I find it incredibly difficult at times). Anyway, over the weekend something completely crazy and amazing happened: the Giants won the National League Championship Series, which will put them in the World Series, and they did it against an amazing opponent, the Philadelphia Phillies.

Here's the headline from my favorite article documenting the event, by Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:

And the opening lines are fantastic:

"From North Beach to Gilroy to the wilds of Crescent City, Giants fans awakened Sunday morning to a discovery: They hadn't dreamed up Game 6 in Philadelphia. It really did happen. They began their day in sort of a blissful daze, maybe stirred up that first pot of coffee, and finally spoke the words out loud: The Giants are in the World Series.

At that point, they either hugged somebody, broke out laughing, or simply fell silent, stunned by the magnificence of it all."

It's so true. All day yesterday, I kept forgetting that the Giants were going to the World Series. And then I would remember and burst out laughing like I was 8 years old.

Though the Giants did quite well this year, their motto quickly became "Giants Baseball: Torture" because not one of their wins came easily. They did well, but other teams did better for much of the season, and their placement in the playoffs came down to the very, very last game of the season. Opinions differed on whether or not they would make it past the first round, and after they did, the Phillies were the clear favorite to win the NLCS. With their crazy good pitching and crazy good hitting, they ended the season with the best record in baseball, and everyone expected them to win. But somehow, in the hardest game I have ever had to watch, the Giants pulled it off.

If you look at the Giants' starting lineup, you can see why they were the underdogs. Their manager even refers to them as his "band of cast-offs and misfits." One of them, after spending a decade and a half traveling around the minor leagues and being diagnosed with ADD a couple of years ago, has finally come into his career at 32 years of age (ancient). Another was born with a club foot and one leg much longer than the other and was told as a child he would never be able to play sports at all. Four are old timers whose careers were considered over and were picked up by the Giants on the cheap, just to have as backup. Another, well...Edgar Renteria is making a ton of money and many didn't think he had been living up to his salary, but he's been outstanding this postseason. And finally, we have the young catcher who was just called up this year and is probably going to win Rookie of the Year.

Though some of the cast-offs are misfits, too (Aubrey Huff attributes the Giants' success to the lacy red "rally thong" he's been wearing since September), the pitchers are the crazies. We've got the one with the long hair who was busted for possession of a certain "medicinal" substance last year and the other who was fined for wearing orange cleats and now sports a massive beard that he dyes black with Just for Men. They're hilarious and they're really, really good.

Anyway, here's a group of guys who were considered too old, too young, too physically imperfect, has-beens, weirdos -- and they made it all the way to the World Series. There's something else at play here, because there were certainly more consistent teams this year. What that something is, I'm not sure. Team chemistry, sheer determination to win, pure luck? I don't know, but I'm kind of inspired.

And I'm giddy!! With all the problems in the world and heaviness of life, you'd think it would be impossible to get excited over something like baseball. It is just a game after all. But somehow, we do have the capacity for this sort of silly joy and the entire San Francisco Bay Area is now feeling it. There's something about watching the players jump around the field like little kids after they've won that makes us all feel like little kids, too. I for one feel just like I did when I got to see the Giants in the World Series with my dad in 1989:

Yep, that's about what I expect to see when I look in the mirror these days.


betty said...

I was at a Lowell High School reunion this Saturday when that game was won and there was loud applause throughout the banquet hall. Many of my classmates remember the 1962 World Series with Willie McCovey. (Egads, we're THAT old!)

Unknown said...

Well, Hilary, you have to play the Texas Rangers. They were also the underdogs. So it should be a really interesting series. We live only 10 minutes up the interstate from Rangers Stadium, so when a game is rained out, it is probably raining at our house, too. My husband's brother (who lives several states away) is a big Yankees fan. After the Yankees lost one of the playoff games badly, he texted my husband with only two words: "Damn Yankees." May the Giants and Rangers give us goosebumps and great memories. Go Rangers! P.S. I am the only Rangers fan who takes her knitting to the games.

Dolores said...

It was TORTURE at its best with Brian Wilson on the mound - I got an anxiety attack just watching, but it was worth it, and fans are going wild in downtown S.F.!!!!!

From another crazed fan

Aline said...

I admire the love you have for your team. What a cute picture of you!
Glad they have made it the world Series!!
Ali xx

Mary Lee said...

Even tho I was rooting for the Phillies (because of Megan), it was a thrilling game to watch. I'm glad for the Giants to move ahead. Great blog!

the Lady said...

IKNOWIKNOWIKNOWIKNOWIKNOW!!! I've been thinking of you ALL last week and wow, the Giants chatter here in Oakland has just been so fun and it's all really just great. I like it better than World Cup time, because it's so much more local and at home in origin. Whoo!!!

Kathleen Dames said...

I thought of you when I heard they'd won. And the misfits and underdogs so remind me of my Red Sox a few years back.

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

I'm thrilled for you!!! Your excitement in contagious ~ yay Giants!

Love the pic of you ~ you haven't changed at all :)

jennifer said...

I love reading about your adoration for the Giants! I might have already said this, but it makes me wish I had grown up rooting for a team like that. The part you wrote about the players jumping around like little kids made me smile from ear to ear.

Teresa said...

I think it's incredibly important to get excited over "little" things. It's those that make the everyday life interesting. I base my life around the next meal!