First I gotta say, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants because they not only made this series extremely memorable, but what they’ve accomplished in the past five seasons is truly awe-inspiring. Not that Bruce Bochy wasn’t already a lock for the HOF, but I have to think this championship propels him into the greatest managers of all-time discussion. At the very least, he has to be among the 15 greatest managers in the history of the sport.
But before the parade begins, it seems like talk radio this morning is already taking a huge piss on them with this “dynasty” talk. Are they a dynasty? Well how can they not be? They won 3 World Series titles within 5 years. That is unheard of. I would like think they are now a dynasty, right?
So how can people quickly dismiss this? Well, the fact is, they weren’t the best team in baseball this year. They weren’t even the best team in their own division. They were 6 games out of 1st place to end the season. They weren’t by any means a dominating team this year. Buster Posey had a very good year. Hunter Pence had another Hunter Pence kinda year. But aside those two, you could say this team battled a lot of injuries (Belt, Cain, Morse) and some very underwhelming performances. If you could define the 2014 Giants, you would have to say this was all about Madison Bumgarner. He single-handedly carried this team to the playoffs and then to the World Series and then to their 3rd championship. The bullpen certainly deserves some credit too because when Bumgarner wasn’t pitching, the team relied heavily on Machi, Romo, Petit and Affeldt.
All of this is part reason why a lot of people many people dismiss them as being a “dynasty” team. In all fairness, apart of me understands that. The Giants were not a dominating team, full of dominating players. They had piece players and got hot at the right time and found a way to win. If Bumgarner didn’t set the record with 48 2/3 IP, then I think we all can agree none of this would have happened.
In recent years, there has been several dynasties but let’s take a look at two in particular. The San Francisco Giants won 3 championships in 5 years. Within those 3 seasons they won a total of 274 times.
From 1988-1990, the Oakland A’s won just 1 championship, yet they appeared in 3 consecutive World Series. In those 3 seasons they won a total of 306 times. Where is this going? Well, they were a bona-fide dynasty team because they appeared 3 consecutive years in the World Series. They weren’t just the best team in their division, they were the best team in the American League. They were the best team in all of baseball for that matter. The difference between the A’s dynasty years and the Giants are 30 more wins. The A’s featured some of the greatest players of our era; Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire, Dennis Eckersley and considering all things, even Jose Canseco. They were pure dominance from start to finish and that is why despite just 1 ring within those 3 years, they are considered a dynasty.
Since the 00’s, The New England Patriots are more of a dynasty than the New York Giants. Doesn’t matter the outcome of those Superbowls, the team (Pats) were just a better team, with better players, better coaching, better records and had more success consistency than the Giants. In 98-00, The New York Yankees went to the World Series and won all of them back-to-back-to-back. That was a truly dominating dynasty team.
So what’s this all mean? Nothing. A dynasty is a dynasty is dynasty. Just like there will always be better teams, coaches, players, movies, flavors of ice cream or dime pieces. We can dissect all the different reasons why the Giants, a team full of many unspectacular players, that are kind of reminiscence of a AAA team are not the best dynasty team we’ve seen. We can talk about how just 1 person is truly responsible for their recent success but we can also talk about how they find ways to win. How their 2nd best pitcher (Cain) had season-ending surgery and didn’t give this team more than 90 innings pitched all season. We can talk about how former 2x CY Young award winner Timmy Lincecum hasn’t even been the same guy in over 3 seasons now. Despite his recent no-hitter, he was pretty much a non-factor for the Giants as he pitched all of 1.2 innings this entire World Series. E-40 did more for Giants baseball this World Series than Timmy L. Baseball is unlike any other sport. The best teams don’t always win. This year two wild card teams found their way into the World Series. That’s the beauty of the sport.
Some other takeaways I have after this World Series…
Just last month I ranked Madison Bumgarner #10 among the best pitchers in baseball. Some questioned it, but I’m really thinking the separation between him and Kershaw is a lot closer than you think. Maybe its hyperbole. But careers are made in the post season and at age 25, Bumgarner is just about to get even better. Having success when it counts (post season) means a lot. It’s why I value guys like Curt Schilling higher than most HOF voters do. Clayton Kershaw is still the best pitcher in baseball, but after these past weeks, I think Bum went from star to super-star status. He is 1 year younger than Kershaw. They both have similar frames. Both throw lefty but Kershaw has thrown significantly more pitches than Bummy so in a few years we might be seeing a change at the throne.
This much I know. If I’m a manager and I need to pick one of those guys to pitch for me in the World Series, I would be taking Bumgarner every fucking time. That’s gotta mean something.