I realize there’s a significant football game coming up this weekend. But I got into a Giants frame of mind after seeing the 2013 pre-season schedule for the World Series trophy. Looks like the tour will stop in fewer cities than it did in 2011. Displays won’t be as lengthy either; the first trophy was available to the faithful in NYC for three days in 2011, while the second seems to be spending only one day in NY.
I remember back in 2011 considering whether to go stand in line somewhere to see the prize. I decided I didn’t have time to deal with the crowds. I did finally see the trophy, however, in mid-2011, at the ballpark. I happened to notice it on the view-level concourse, in a corner behind a margarita booth, gleaming in front of a photo-friendly black curtain. From a distance it looked like a gold and silver chef’s hat. I think it cost ten bucks to get next to the thing. Propinquity made it more impressive. The little pennants, flapping in an imaginary, circular wind, are pretty cool. It’ll be nice to have two copies in the case.
The difference between the 2010 and 2012 trophy tours sort of highlights differences in the two championships. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that the 2012 championship was less exciting—just the opposite, really. The 2010 victory had its historical importance, and deserved special celebration. The 2012 post-season, however, stands on its own, without such support.
For example, after the Giants finally made it into the post-season in 2010, a sense of inevitability took over right away. Lincecum pitched a two-hit 1-0 shut-out in the first game against the Braves, and he came on just as strong to finish the whole thing off in Texas. In between, the Giants were never behind in a series. By contrast, winning the 2012 division race was relatively easy, after the bums choked like a 19th century horse thief hung from a live oak tree, but the 2012 post season was a huge challenge. When Posey finally blasted away the Reds, didn’t you wonder if that was it, if that grand slam would be the high point of the playoffs? And when Zito took the mound in game five against the Cardinals, didn’t you think it would take a miracle for him to win the game? Then calmly and methodically, with a competitive look I’d never before seen in his eyes, he provided what the Giants needed to work the miracle. You all know the other stories that surrounded the victories. Suddenly, the Giants had the inevitability back, but they had earned it, game by game, inning by inning, right before our eyes. In game seven, the dispirited water-logged Cardinals in the visitors’ dugout knew it. Marco Scutaro turning his face to the sky to drink in the rain knew it. Somehow the Tigers also knew it when they took the field at the China Basin. (Or, if not then, certainly no later than the fourth inning of that first game.)
So the 2012 championship, for me, is even more satisfying, more triumphant, than the 2010. I really don’t need to track down the trophy this winter to bring back the memories. How about you?
btw, be sure to check in on MOW’s ongoing hot-stove thread. New stuff, all the time.