In the end, the West Coast Curse was not broken by the most
gifted club in San Francisco Giants history. It seems
The first text I received was from Matt, one of my good ol’ fraternity brothers.
“Congrats Scotty,” he wrote.
My response: “Thanks, coach. No punches this time.”
I can’t believe it’s been eight years. Matt and I got to know each other very well during our freshman year in college, especially on Oct. 22, 2002. The Anaheim Angels, the team I grew up hating more than any other as a Giants fan in Orange County, had just beaten San Francisco 10-4 in Game 3 of the World Series, and there was pounding outside my dorm room door.
“Go Angels! Yyyyyyyeeeees!”
It went on for a half hour. A few pounds, a few yells and then silence. It was Matty.
The frustration from knowing my team was on pace to keep alive a World Series-title drought that was older than both my parents, both Giants fans, I finally lost it.
The next time Matt came my to my door, I flung it open, threw him down with a tackle that would have made my high school football coach proud and let loose like Ralphie on Scut Farkus in “A Christmas Story.” We’ve been best friends ever since.
Although I apologized to him the next day — and several days later — I was still pretty upset. He just didn’t understand. Being a Giants fan makes you crazy sometimes.
It certainly did Monday after Edgar Renteria’s three-run blast in the seventh inning, Tim Lincecum’s pitching in the eighth, and Brian Wilson’s final strike thrown to retire Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers and deliver the Giants’ first World Series championship since they moved to San Francisco in 1958.
I cried. My dad cried. My fiancee cried because I cried.
And Matt texted me. He knew how big the moment was and not just because of our little fracas. It wasn’t until years after that that I found out he’s a Cleveland Indians fan.
The World Series truly is like no other championship in professional sports. In a sport as quirky and predictable as where a baseball will travel after striking a wooden bat, capturing the ultimate prize requires so many intricate pieces to fall into place.
The richest and most talented clubs don’t always win. But the best team does. All you need is a core of underpaid young talent and some playoff-starved veterans who can still hack it. The will to win unites all true competitors.
That was the conclusion my father came to after Game 5.
“I’ve been watching this (expletive) team for 50 years, and this group won it,” said my dad, who, much to the dismay of my Brooklyn Dodgers-loving grandfather, became a Giants fan while watching Willie Mays. “I can’t think of a better story.”
Sports writers are fans, too. We just couldn’t make it as athletes.
I would have been a fraud if I applied for World Series press credentials and tried to witness the Fall Classic from an unbiased standpoint. Who am I kidding?
My fondest memories from childhood were spent watching the Giants in Jack Murphy Stadium and Chavez Ravine. I was Will Clark for Halloween in Kindergarten.
In college, when I wasn’t studying and being a responsible young adult, I tuned into the Giants’ automated gamecasts on ESPN.com, hitting the “refresh” button every 30 seconds.
One of my longtime friends used to bring me Giants stuff when he and has family visited from Northern California.
“I’m freaking out,” he texted me Monday. And later: “I take back everything I ever said about Edgar.”
(Side note: I claimed Renteria as my favorite Giant early this season. If you don’t believe me, I have witnesses.)
The thing that made my eyes water again after Game 5 was the interviews Comcast SportsNet Bay Area had with Mays, Clark, Barry Bonds and many other Giants legends who helped bring professional baseball in San Francisco where it is today. But not to the top.
I read James S. Hirsch’s biography of the “Say Hey Kid” this summer and gained a new level of respect for the franchise that, despite producing the greatest player not named Babe Ruth and Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” among countless memorable moments, was third fiddle in New York and second fiddle in the Bay Area. Rings are rings.
So much history. So much torture — Bobby Richardson’s snag in ’62, the Loma Prieta Earthquake and sweep against Oakland in ’89, Scott (expletive) Spiezio.
In the end, the West Coast Curse was not broken by the most gifted club in San Francisco Giants history. It seems appropriate.
My 92-year-old grandfather said it best while swallowing his Dodger-blue pride.
“The Bums finally won.”
I will die a happy man.