Well, it’s finally happened. After 52 years, the curse has lifted. The San Francisco Giants have won the World Series.
And yes, make no mistake, it has been a curse. SF Giants fans have suffered through one excruciating World Series loss after another, with seeming eternities between to ponder what went wrong.
While I wasn’t alive for the ‘62 series, I remember watching the ‘89 Series where my hometown rocked and crumbled as I looked on from my college dorm. And I vividly remember the ‘02 series slipping away after a late-game lead in (what would have been the clinching) game 6. In fact, thinking the game was in the bag, I left my friend’s house with the score 5-0 in the 7th, and got home in time to watch the tail end of a bullpen meltdown, followed by another the next day that just felt inevitable.
So, yes, victory tonight was extra sweet, and fans of the San Francisco Giants deserve every bit of the celebration they’re enjoying this moment. Cars are driving by my apartment now honking so loudly and frequently that it’s hard to hear Marty Lurie and FP Santangelo break down the raucous celebration at 3rd and King.
As for why now, why this team … well, Paul McCaffrey from KNBR half-jokingly calls it “particles”. Rangers fans may point to our home field advantage and their bad luck. Whatever the reason, there’s a general sense that there were larger forces at work here.
To be fair, this may be the best team the Giants have ever fielded. Not the most talented, certainly, but talented enough at the plate and on defense, with an awesome pitching rotation — Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, and for most of the season Sanchez and Zito — and a great bullpen, especially Lopez and Wilson.
But was it team talent and performance alone that lifted the curse? If so, why weren’t talents like Mays, Marichal, McCovey, Clark, Kent, Schmidt and Bonds able to do it?
An excerpt from an email I just received from my father, a lifelong Brooklyn Dodgers fan, may help explain …
Congratulations, I’m glad they won, too. But now for a little perspective.
Leo D. stole Dodger signs from the distant Polo Grounds outfield and then literally wired them to the bench during the supposedly amazing Giants run to the ‘51 pennant — coming back from 15 games down in mid-August. Every Giant hitter playing at home could ask to see what the upcoming pitch would be, and most did. A rabid Brooklyn fan, I won’t forget (the Godfather had that right). This led to the playoff, and Bobby Thompson’s bloop home run.
So they haven’t won since moving to San Francisco. Clearly, it’s because the baseball gods have cursed them. First, for leaving New York. Second, for taking the Dodgers with them. Then for cheating in the stretch. Candlestick Park was part of the curse. Bonds, too.
Fast forward decades. OK, went to the second game of the World Series a few nights ago, which was astounding. While still a scoreless tie, a Texan hit a huge, deep fly which hit the top of the fence in center field. Not the wall near the top, but the actual, horizontal, 4 inch wide top. The ball was obviously headed out. Except that it came back in. Just bounced into the mitt of a surprised Giant, whose throw held the batter to a double. Crowd goes wild. The guy was stranded on second, along with every other Texas runner that day, and the Giants won 9-0.
The curse has been lifted. The game began with a tribute to Thompson, who had just died. Maybe these Giants are allowed to win now.