Monday, October 29, 2012

Good For The Game

If ESPN can break away from its 24/7/365 coverage of the NFL for a few minutes today, I look forward to their talking heads trying to explain how the San Francisco Giants won the World Series (their second titel in three years, I would point out)--and how they swept the Detroit Tigers in four straight.  Heading into the Series, those "experts" were positive that Detroit would hit too many home runs and score too many runs for the puny Giants to compete.  I mean, the G-men hit the fewest home runs in the Majors this year--how could they possibly even win one game against Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder?

Well not only did the Giants compete with those guys--they dominated them.  And they did it by turning the game back to what it was before the Steroid Era.  San Francisco won the title through a good old-fashioned combination of great pitching and solid defense--with a lot of timely hitting (not necessarily home run hitting) thrown in.

The final few innings of Game Four were a perfect microcosm for the entire series.  I was never more confident that the Giants were going to win than when it became a battle of the bullpens--as San Fran's relievers had dominated Tigers hitters and the Detroit 'pen had been far less dominating.  And the winning run in the tenth was scored on a single, a bunt and another two-out single--a concept that has been lost on managers and fans in this era of "sit back and wait for the three run homer".  And how many times did Giants fielders turn double plays to snuff out rallies or make great running or diving catches in the outfield to save runs?

Actually, I don't need to tune in to ESPN to know what is going to be said about the Giants win.  First, there will be nothing but blame heaped on the Detroit hitters.  "They were terrible", "What a bunch of chokers", "Prince Fielder is awful in the clutch" will be the first things out of their mouths.  And then that will be followed by my absolute least favorite "analysis": "The Giants are just too boring."  There will be headlines for a week: World Series Generates Worst TV Ratings Ever--and much ado about how baseball is "dying" and we need to find a way to recapture the "excitement of the steroid era" to "save the game".

As far as I'm concerned, you can save the score-a-second, illegal-to-play-defense, fantasy-sports-is-the-only-important-thing-to-fans stuff for the NFL.  Those of us who actually appreciate sports for what it should be--a balance of offense and defense--and who don't need to watch lumbering 250-pound guys swinging for the fences on every pitch will enjoy a return to the "real game" for awhile.

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