I was at Barclay’s, a sportsbar near my house in Oakland watching Game 5 of the World Series. It was a Monday and the Giants and Rangers were playing in Texas. Lincecum was pitching v. Cliff Lee. Game 1 was also Lincecum and Lee, and the Freak (Tim Lincecum) beat Lee in a pure pitcher’s battle. The Rangers bullpen looked horrendous (like, Mets horrendous). I will honestly say I had my doubts during the regular season. I had my doubts during the NLCS, and I had my doubts during the World Series starting in Game 1. Cliff Lee was arguably the best pitcher in the major league. If Texas could bet on anything, it would be that Cliff Lee would win at least one of his games. But it didn’t happen. Barely cognizant of what was happening, a youngster like Lincecum with his skater-dude hair and sunken facial features, Brian Wilson with his tattoos, Mohawk and infamous beard, Renteria who is about as old as anyone out there and no one thought would have a second career wind like he did this year winning MVP honors, fresh-faced boy wonder Buster Posey, a completely random rookie brought up to the major leagues early in the season, proving to be the most powerful bat at catcher’s position since the early Posada/Piazza era, and Pablo Sandoval who caused a flurry of fans to don panda hats, beat the team to beat. It was the unthinkable. The band of misfits beat out the unbeatable in Philly, and then in Texas and only in five games.
The bar goes crazy, and all of a sudden a flood of emotion overcomes me. I’m not even a Giant’s fan, but to see how happy everyone was, to be part of it, was something special.
I attended the parade the next day, cheering for all those guys who made all this happiness possible. And what I loved more than anything, is that the players were the happiest people at the parade. Truly humble and truly appreciative of the win and the experience, it’s not something you always see in professional sports. It reminded me of a college win. In college, players have about four years to attain some sort of goal, presumably a championship. When they get it, it’s all that matters in this whole world. Maybe this team of misfits will be back, or maybe some will retire on a high note, or some will leave for greener (as in money) pastures. But that day, as in college sports, no one was thinking about tomorrow. It was all about being happy in that moment, achieving something that San Francisco couldn’t for 56 years. It was doing something that Philly couldn’t, that Texas couldn’t. It was proving the critics wrong. It was proving fans right. It was proving that the unbeatable could be beat, unstoppable could be stopped, that sometimes the misfits and the underdogs win and sometimes the unthinkable happens.