By Claire Reclosado-Baclay
“Together We’re Giant.”
It wasn’t just an ad campaign for the San Francisco Giants, it was an explanation.
How did this team, faced with numerous obstacles during the season, eventually become World Series Champions? You ask any of the players, they would simply say it’s because they played for each other. There were no individuals; no one was above anyone else. They wanted to win and they wanted to win as a team.
Together, the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in the 108th World Series.
Together, they were Giant.
So much so that no other team could take away what they were destined to obtain—their second World Series title in three years.
The team’s success cannot be attributed to luck. When the outcome is consistent and the performances are brilliant, it is not luck; it is skill.
With the pitching and defense setting the tone of the series, the Tigers were no match for the Giants. Prior to the series, pundits selected the Tigers to win—not just win, but dominate—but San Francisco had other ideas.
Continuing their never-say-die attitude that began in the postseason, the Giants ended up winning it with a seven-game win streak—something they were unable to pull off during the regular season.
During the postseason, something just clicked. After a slow start, the team found their groove. Suddenly, the starting rotation was unstoppable. The defense was impenetrable. The bullpen was unhittable. The offense was indefatigable.
Through it all, it wasn’t one person who carried the team. Whether it was with an impassioned speech, a constant motivational attitude, a momentum-changing outing, or a three-home run game, every person in an orange and black uniform contributed to the wins.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval was named World Series MVP and when he was asked about the award, it was not a surprise to hear his appreciation for his teammates.
“You know, it’s a team. It’s a team,” Sandoval said. “I say thank you to my team to give me the opportunity to be here.”
Even when given an individual award, the notion of not achieving the moment without his team was recognized. But, that’s what catapulted the Giants to a championship that many thought impossible for them to pull off.
Many teams say it with the typical clichéd phrases, but San Francisco lived it.
“We bought into something you don’t see happen very often; we bought into playing for each other. We bought into loving playing for each other,” Giants outfielder Hunter Pence said after the game. “It’s very unique because I’ve never really been a part of any other group that would buy in as much as we did. That everyone was pulling the same direction. Everyone, it didn’t matter if you had differences anywhere else, in the clubhouse we played, we loved every moment of it. It just speaks to the character of the guys, it speaks to the character of the people that put us together and their intelligence.”
When a team is as united as this Giants team, it is easy to appreciate the person who links them all—manager Bruce Bochy.
Having the ability to handle the various personalities in the clubhouse and maintain harmony creates a happy team that wants to win. The desire to win, as seen through the passion in the players’ behavior, is founded on taking on the responsibility to get the victory for the guy next to them.
That attitude is a reflection of their manager.
“I’m going to keep going back to how unselfish they were,” Bochy said. “I’ll mention names: Ryan Theriot did a great job for us and he becomes a role player. He didn’t say a word, didn’t complain, kept himself ready, and ends up scoring the winning run tonight.
“Timmy, we put him in the bullpen, didn’t waver on it, ‘Sure, I just want to help the club win.’
“We did the bullpen by committee. They didn’t care who closed the game there. They just wanted to help us win. That’s the only way it gets done.”
And they got it done together.
Bochy made bold moves that seemed questionable, but when it was over, the moves proved strategic and timely. He knows his team well and they trust in his genius. The skipper created a supportive environment that his players appreciated.
Even when the team credits Bochy for being the maestro, he humbly turns it around.
“Again, they played as a team, and I’m thankful for that and thankful for their attitude. They came out and played hard every day,” Bochy said.
They played for him. They played for each other. They played for the fans. They did so as one.
The Giants made history when they beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 in the NLDS. They surprised people when they won against the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 in the NLCS.
Then they stunned even more critics when the swept the Tigers in the World Series.
The San Francisco Giants 2012 postseason run is one that will not soon be forgotten. The little details may fade as years pass, but the knowledge of the remarkable run will remain.
And through it all, this team will be remembered as the group that lived up to those words that followed them throughout the season:
“Together We’re Giant.”
Claire Reclosado-Baclay is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco Giants. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.