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Commentary: Feelings about Giants could soon turn

Posted: Saturday, Nov 3rd, 2012


The Giants' Buster Posey waves and is showered with confetti during the Giants' World Series victory parade on Market Street in San Francisco on Wednesday. (Associated Press)


Are you ready for the Giants to become the team nobody outside of Northern California wants to see play for a World Series championship?

No, it’s not because this team is on the West Coast which means East Coast people have to stay up past their bedtime to watch them.

It’s tough to ask this question anyway because the Giants have so many lovable players. There’s the Kung Fu Panda, the Freak, the Horse, the Baby Giraffe, the pitcher who eats enchiladas before every start, the surfer and guitarist, the guy who looks like Kobe Bryant, and so on and so on.

But these guys don’t hit 500 home runs. They only hit 31 at AT&T Park this past season, hardly a number that would scare an opponent.

They won 94 games, but many of them were games in which they scored three runs or less.

The 2010 World Series championship run was defined by a pitching staff that shut down the opposition. The Texas Rangers batted .190 against the Giants in that World Series.

When the Giants faced elimination six times, the pitching staff went into lockdown mode, suffocating the Reds and Cardinals. Then, in the World Series, it was like the Giants were playing four more elimination games as they kept Detroit to a sub-.200 average.

The defense was superb. You probably remember not one, but at least two clutch plays during the Giants’ championship run this past season.

Winning games by blowout? Not this team. Playing back-and-forth games where players are smashing doubles and home runs all around the field? Nope.

The Giants did it the “boring” way, with pitching and defense.

Try to sell pitching and defense to the rest of the nation that doesn’t have their team playing for a championship. Two decades ago, more than 40 million people watched each game of the World Series. This year? Less than 15 million people watched each of the four games.

Sweeps do have something to do with fewer people watching the World Series as of late. The generation gap also has something to do with it — as a child, the World Series was EVERYTHING to me, even if the Giants weren’t in it. It’s not to today’s boys and girls.

The Giants might have the nicknames, but they don’t have what the nation is attracted to: home runs and hit-it-everywhere offense. They have all of the other boring things championship teams do: pitching, defense, close games decided by strikeouts and sacrifices instead of booming hits.

It’s all about fundamentals for the Giants.

They’re becoming the San Antonio Spurs of MLB.

The Spurs are the team nobody outside of the Alamo wants to see in the NBA Finals because they’re supposedly boring. They’re not flashy. Their biggest star — sometimes-forward-sometimes-center Tim Duncan — is all about the drop step, not the facial.

When the Spurs get the breaks to go their way, they go all the way. They’re old? They find a way to come back. They’re down in a game or in a series? They find a way most of the time.

The Spurs don’t win with the flash and flair of other teams. The Giants are becoming like that.

While the rest of the nation moans, Northern California will continue to celebrate.

That’s fine by me.

Hope you’re ready for the change in perspective.

•••

Glenn Cravens is the sports editor of the Register-Pajaronian and is in search of a World Series championship beanie. His commentary runs the first Saturday of every month. You can reach him at sports@register-pajaronian.com or twitter.com/GlennAtTheRP.

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