Here’s a November post by esteemed baseball writer Roger Angell in The New Yorker on the Giants amazin post-season finish..
“Just when we wanted it to hang around as comfort against a sluggish hurricane and a terrifying election, baseball has taken its leave again, departing the scene like a burglar out the window. The Giants’ four-game sweep over the Detroit Tigers went fast, then faster, with the hapless Tiger batters falling in clusters, striking out seven times in their last ten trips to the plate. In the tenth inning of the finale, the Giants, breaking open a 3-3 tie, produced a bloop and a sac and a winter-winning single by their second baseman, Marco Scutaro, all against the Tiger southpaw reliever Phil Coke, who had been left out there, faute de mieux (“He’s all we got”) for two full innings. By contrast, three separate Giants pitchers produced all those whiffs, along with the best explanation for this baffling but glorious outcome: better pen. The Giants closer, Sergio Romo, who gave up just one earned run in the playoffs, struck out the side in the Tigers’ last ups, fittingly erasing their cleanup slugger, Miguel Cabrera, the triple-crown winner this year, at the last.
Romo sports a glistening black beard, straight out of the bottle, and a mullet that noses out of the back of his cap like a baby ferret. He’s twenty-nine but, except when working, acts seventeen, which appears to be an average age for this loose, self-delighting squad. The equally adolescent Venezuelan third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, who batted .500 for the Series, with three home runs, won the Series M.V.P. trophy, although I think a separate Most Valuable Person award might have to be handed out this time, for Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti.”
“Everything in baseball becomes perfectly clear at the end, except for its bottom line, its central mystery: which is Hot or Not. The Giants had once trailed the Cincinnati Reds in the N.L. Divisional playoff, and also trailed the Cardinals, by three games to one, in the League Championships. They won their last seven games of the year, falling behind only once on the scoreboard. They cleaned the table. The Tigers, who had beaten the Yankees so unmercifully in their playoff, looked older than Father Perrault by the end. Prince Fielder, the bus-sized Detroit cleanup hitter, batted .071: he had become A-Rod. Go figure—and never, never predict. I predicted the Tigers in six, breaking a lifelong precedent, and my self-punishment for idiocy is just beginning. See you in March.”
In memory of Charles L. Roderman (1934-2012)