|I felt the earth move|
Certainly, there's a LOT of great storylines in this year's playoffs. The Orioles, a Washington DC team that is not only good, but VERY good, even though they may have voluntarily crippled their starting rotation, the final year of the classic Chipper Jones' great career playing for the odious Atlanta Braves, the Rangers giving it another go for the third year in a row, always a bridesmaid, the Reds turning it on down the stretch even as their hapless and notably incompetent Manager had a stroke - these are all going to play out in a very interesting post-season. But the possibility, however faint, of another whack at a cross-bay World Series is much more than intriguing. How might 1989 have played out had the fault stayed where it started, had disaster stayed away for another week?
The 1993 Giants were arguably the best team that has ever played in San Francisco, dominating opponents with both pitching and a prodigious offense and winning 103 games that year. Unfortunately, they never got a chance to see how that particular team stacked up to the rest of the league as those loathsome Braves won 104 and took the pennant. But that 1989 team was almost as good, better in most ways than the 2010 team that took the World Series championship. 2010 was characterized by a few incredibly special performances, Lincecum and Cody Ross and a few others finding something inside themselves that nobody quite realized was there. Beyond that, it was the bullpen and a few good breaks that took that team over the top. But that 1989 team had it all. They had Brett Butler at the top of the lineup getting on and stealing bags. They had not only power, but average up and down the lineup. They had good outfield defense and an utterly unrivaled infield.
This year's Giants team has a better offense than in 2010 and the best bullpen in the game. Unusually for this team, it's the starting pitching and defense that are the question marks. And the overall quality of the teams in the playoffs is ridiculously high this year. If the Giants can get through the Reds and the Nationals, they ought to be favorites to win the World Series. I haven't paid enough attention to the As to know how they really stack up - I know they've been getting good pitching and a lot of home runs, but it's going to be hard for them to get through whatever combination of Orioles, Yankees and Rangers they'll have to play. But right now, before being confronted by all that reality, I can think about another shot at the As in the World Series, and smile.