Enjoyed a pretty quiet Wednesday night away from work, so I sat in front of the TV and watched Game 4 of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.
I don’t have much of a rooting interest in this series. Or, at least, I didn’t.
Normally, I cheer for the team with the longest-suffering fan base in a situation like this. But while the Phillies have been to two straight World Series, they have perennial All-Stars on their roster this year – Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, for starters – who haven’t been to one with the Phillies. In Halladay’s case, he’s never been to one.
The Giants pulled out a victory in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday. And I’m announcing to the world that I will be rooting for San Fran until, or if, they get eliminated.
I remember about a month ago a story or blog post written by Sports Illustrated’s Joe Posnanski about the Giants and how much more likeableÂ they are now than compared to the Barry Bonds-ruled Giants of not too long ago.
Admittedly, I’m just a TV viewer who has had no interaction with any of these players. But it sure seems like a likeable team to me.
They’re led by the young rotation of stars in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. They have a solid closer in Brian Wilson.
And their starting lineup is a pretty wild blend of veteran castoffs and young, emerging talent. There’s rookie catcher Buster Posey hitting in the middle of their order, despite having started the season in the minor leagues. At one point, the Giants were so in need of his bat while he was raking in the minors that they called him up and made him their first baseman prior to trading away Bengie Molina to Texas.
You also have Pablo Sandoval, the “Kung Fu Panda” who was dynamite in 2009 but labored through this season.
Then there’s the castoffs. You have an outfielder like Andres Torres, who rose from the ranks of defensive specialist to become the team’s leadoff hitter for much of the season, posting a .267 batting average with 16 homers, 63 RBIs, and 26 steals.
Then there’s outfielder Pat Burrell, who was waiting for a team to call and offer him a job after earning a release from Tampa Bay when he hit .202 in 24 games earlier this season.
And you have Aubrey Huff, who you Twins fans might remember was a bench player for Detroit last season, having hit .189 in 40 games with the Tigers following a late-season trade from the Orioles. TheÂ Giants got him for cheap, and what a bargain. In the regular season, he hit .290 with 26 homers and 86 RBIs while slugging .506 and scoring 100 runs. And if that wasn’t enough, he basically played any position on the field he was asked. He mostly has played first base, but it was Huff that slid to the corner outfield spots for the first time since 2006 when the Giants wanted to recall Posey. He started 57 games in left and right field and didn’t commit an error.
The Giants haven’t won a World Series since leaving the Polo Grounds. I find myself rooting for them to do just that.