Every World Series Championship team has their fill of stories. Everybody loves it when someone has fought through adversity to achieve, because no one knows what it’s like to skate by the whole time and be successful!… or maybe no one I know. Anyway, those kinds of stories give people hope. Twenty-five guys on the roster, so I’ll try to rank who I am happy for the most, but let it be very clear: I’m happy for all of these guys. It may be of no surprise to you that the guys earning their first ring are the ones at the top of my list.
#1 Ryan Vogelsong: Do you need the background on his story? Didn’t think so. He joined the Giants in 2011 after they had clinched and just wanted a chance, and got it. Now, the man’s can say he’s been to the top with the organization that drafted him. He’s also a lock for the 2013 All Star Game, by the way.
#2 Marco Scutaro: This guy has been on plenty of teams in his career, and his only other postseason was with the A’s when the Tigers showed them the door. How sweet it must’ve been for this guy, the NLCS MVP, to drive in the winning run, and have so many of his teammates fight for him to get there.
#3 Gregor Blanco: You want Andres Torres version 2.0, here it is, your minor league player that hits more than a quarter of the time in the World Series and did just enough for the Giants in the absence of their All Star Left Fielder.
#4 Brandon Crawford: The boy that grew up a fan of the Giants gets to be a Champion with them. How many of us in our childhoods grew up with that dream? And he gets to live it? Awesome.
#5 Barry Zito: Well chronicled as it was that he was left off the 2010 Postseason roster, Barry really has been the type of athlete a fan wants to see during a time of struggle: keep working, don’t whine, and figure it out. He may not have figured it all out, but he figured enough of it out to have an absolutely stellar NLCS and WS, beating guys the national media, and some Giants fans, thought he had no chance against. Kruk even called him “the soul of the team” this morning, so you know he admires the guy, haha.
#6 Tim Lincecum: The Freak may have been the Postseason MVP in 2010, but anybody who paid attention knows this year was tough on Timmy, and seeing him not be himself in the starter’s role was so painful. While he may or may not have 100% been on board with the bullpen role, he thrived in it, and flashed the Cy Young stuff he tantalized opponents with in years past.
#7 Buster Posey: Two healthy years, two World Series Championships. If that doesn’t make this kid the Boy Wonder of the San Francisco Giants, what will?
#8 Pablo Sandoval: The fat storyline got put on to him most of the season, didn’t hit for power as well as he had in the past, and yet he dominated the postseason scene, with a historic performance in Game 1.
#9 Sergio Romo: The dude really hadn’t been getting enough credit for his art, especially with his injury risk and maybe even perceived lack of a “closer mentality,” and perhaps the lack of a legitimate number of LHH splits to warrant him being the high leverage pitcher. He was given his shot, and unless the dude at the plate was named “Hanley Ramirez,” he did not disappoint.
#10 Brandon Belt: He’s been put through so much garbage, I’m not sure how good he will actually become and if he even stays with the Giants as long as he’s supposed to be under team control. That said, I’m glad he got to experience success with this team even if he is always being tinkered with.
#11 Madison Bumgarner: A Cy Young candidate in the middle of the season turned into a work-in-progress, including his NLCS Game 1 start that left him needing to work on his mechanics. Luckily, the North Carolina boy that loves cows or something got it all together just in time to throw 7 shutout innings at home.
#12 Angel Pagan: He was with the Mets, and it was time for him to go. He comes over for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez who were heroes from the 2010 campaign and he has a pretty decent year, with his salutes and crazy routes to the ball in the outfield.
#13 Aubrey Huff: The guy is at the end of his career, and what better way to go out than on top. Hopefully all issues he had have been overcome as he rides off into the sunset, 2 of his 3 years with the Giants involving parades.
From there, I think it’s all equal love across the board for the guys like Affeldt, Lopez, Pence, Theriot, Arias, all important pieces to the puzzle. Huge credit should of course go to Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean for putting those pieces together and putting them in just the formation to succeed. What a year. What a postseason run.