Records fell all over the place with this win, including many for Madison Bumgarner, quickly named MVP of the World Series. But this was a team that led the Majors for the first half of the season, and fell so far so fast that it squeaked into the postseason with the last possible playoff spot. It started the playoffs with its best hitters in slumps, with Angel Pagan and Matt Cain out for the season, with Brandon Belt just returning from injury, and Michael Morse still not back from his injury.
The quote of the night belongs to Jeremy Affeldt: "Sometimes we sit around wondering if Madison is human.”
The most dramatic moment had to be in the last of the ninth, when just one out from victory, an error in the outfield by normally excellent fielder Gregor Blanco put a man on third for the Royals. It seemed like one of those awful portentous plays that forecasts doom.
But on a 2-2 count, MadBum induced a pop-up with a pitch that rode high inside, the Panda squeezed it before falling to his knees, and the San Francisco Giants became 2014 World Champions.
defense by Perez in left, Crawford at short and by Joe Panik at second, whose great grab in the third stifled a rally and started a double play (which was assisted by Bruce Bochy who appealed the safe call at first. After lengthy review, it was overturned.)
When the Giants went back ahead 3-2, Bruce Bochy seized the moment to get MadBum into the game. It was a perfect baseball move, and a perfect psychological move, since the Royals knew he had completely mystified them in two previous games. Bochy's decision to play Perez in left for his defense also paid dividends.
In the end, this is Bruce Bochy's championship. He managed the Giants through this crazy year, and made the right moves when they counted in the postseason. It's no coincidence that Bochy was the manager for three championships by three quite different Giants teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Finally, there is the resilience and the attitude of this team. I was really surprised by the buoyancy with which they and everybody with the Giants (including their announcers) greeted their wild card berth, which they backed into. It was as if the burden of the questionable season were lifted. They were a new team. They played like one.
celebrated. In Pittsburgh, the Pirates are the city's longest love, but the Steelers are the most intense. But in San Francisco, it's the Giants.
Except for the Panik photo from Fox, all the photos--like all the articles linked to--are from the San Francisco Chronicle.