Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: Unity, Perseverance Were Key to Success for 2012 San Francisco Giants

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Unity, Perseverance Were Key to Success for 2012 San Francisco Giants

By Vince Cestone
Twitter @vintalkingiants

HarshLight/flickr via Creative Commons

The San Francisco Giants’ 2012 World Series championship season culminated with a victory parade down Market Street, but the team’s recipe for success was to come together at the right time.

When the Giants faced any sort of adversity, their unity helped them overcome it. The Giants’ biggest hurdle to climb was the loss of their best hitter Melky Cabrera, who was suspended 50 games in August for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Without their number three hitter, the Giants did not panic. Instead, the other 24 players stepped up to the challenge.

Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford played flawless defense and improved his hitting in the second half. From August through the end of the regular season, Crawford hit .285 and played gold glove-like shortstop.

Crawford said his team turned the Melky suspension from a negative into a positive—and eventually, into its second World Series championship in San Francisco.

“I really think we all kind of came together, especially since the Melky suspension,” Crawford said. “Everybody just kind of stepped up. Obviously, guys like Buster [Posey] and Angel [Pagan] getting on base all the time, and the addition of Hunter [Pence] and Marco [Scutaro] [were] huge…so we all kind of just put it together and we [were] on a pretty good roll.”

Crawford stepped up when it mattered—in his first postseason, where he got key hits and only committed one error in 16 playoff games.

In Game 5 of the National League Division Series (NLDS) against the Cincinnati Reds, Crawford started the scoring with an RBI-triple—the Giants won the game 6-4 to advance to the National League Championship Series (NLCS). Another big hit for Crawford came in Game 5 of the NLCS in St. Louis, where his 2-RBI single helped the Giants come back and win the best-of-seven series after falling behind three-games-to-one.

The Giants suffered a big blow in April when All-Star closer Brian Wilson was forced to have season-ending Tommy John surgery because of an elbow injury. With their closer lost for the year, the Giants did not dwell on their misery for long.

Instead, the team showed its relentless desire to never give up when Sergio Romo emerged as closer in the second half of the season and throughout the playoffs. In the postseason, Romo was lights out, posting a 0.84 earned-run average in 10.2 innings pitched with nine strikeouts and a miniscule 0.47 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched).

Romo credited the Giants’ selflessness for their success, even through all the adversity.
“We all play together with the same mindset, the same goal, and we’re all pulling on the same rope at the same time,” Romo said. “There’s not a selfish bone on this team, and I think that’s a big key to why we’re doing so well—why we’re in the position we’re in.”

Although first baseman Brett Pill was left off the playoff roster, he echoes what Romo said about the Giant’s unity and positive vibes.

“We’re all friends off the field, and when we get here during the games, that definitely helps…and I’m pulling for everyone, and they’re pulling more me,” Pill said. “It’s just a good atmosphere.”

In addition to their unity, the Giants persevered through 2-0 and 3-1 series deficits with their strong pitching. Although the Giants’ starting pitching was not as dominant as their 2010 championship season, their bullpen was.

Together, Giants’ pitchers as a whole posted a 2.88 postseason ERA, the best among National League teams in the playoffs (Atlanta had a 2.00 ERA but played in just one game). Together, they pulled for each other and made the big pitch when they needed it.

Fans did their part too. 

Fan support may have motivated unlikely heroes such as the beleaguered Barry Zito and the resurgent Ryan Vogelsong to pitch the games of their lives in NLDS and NLCS elimination games. With the unifying Twitter trends #RallyZito and #RallyEnchilladas, the team may have fed off that energy and became motivated to bring a World Series title home to the fans.

One person cannot take most of the credit for the Giants’ 2012 championship. It was the unifying whole of the Giants’ community, including players, coaches, fans, and even employees, that ultimately contributed to bringing the World Series trophy to San Francisco once again.

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  1. A great season for the Giants, I hope they can maintain their team spirit and continue this success into next season!

  2. A "Never Give Up" motto and the belief that they can do it made all the difference. Their hard work, discipline and luck also helped. Great champions take their falls and keep going. And in this case they remembered to work as a team and encourage one another. Next season whether they win or lose as long as they give it their all they should be proud and so should their fans. Looking forward to more of your writing and commentary . Keep up the good work!


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