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Bob Nightengale: Giants' title should make others green with envy

7:16 AM, Oct 29, 2012   |    comments
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  • (US Presswire)
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Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT -- They are the New York Yankees of the West.

Then again, the way the San Francisco Giants concluded their marvelous year, the Yankees could be the Giants of the East.

The Yankees have 27 World Series titles, a storied history, a palatial stadium and more money than they know what to do with, but the Giants are what the Yankees want to be -- World Series champions.

San Francisco swept the Detroit Tigers with a 4-3 victory Sunday at Comerica Park, winning seven consecutive postseason games to become one of three NL teams to win two championships in a three-year span since World War II. They join the Cincinnati Reds' Big Red Machine of 1975-76 and the Los Angeles Dodgers of 1963-65 in baseball folklore.

"What made them special was it was such an unselfish group," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They love each other, play for each other and had a never-say-die attitude."

Sound like the Yankees? Not really.

The Giants are no fluke. They don't use gimmicks. They just play hard.

"That's what kind of bothered me,'' Bochy told USA TODAY Sportys. "We kept hearing about that we were lucky. That we were getting the bounces. You don't get lucky winning 94 games.

"You don't get lucky by sweeping the Detroit Tigers.

"We've got great talent, determination and a lot of heart.''

The Giants dominated the postseason after being down three games to one in the National League Championship Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. They outscored opponents in the last seven games 36-7. They went 56 consecutive innings without trailing, the second-longest streak in postseason history.

The Giants' starting rotation gave up just four runs in the World Series, with three of them coming Sunday against Matt Cain. The Tigers hit just .159, and cleanup hitter Prince Fielder was shut down, batting .071. He struck out twice again Sunday and failed to hit the ball out of the infield.

"All the momentum we had from the first two series,'' Giants starter Barry Zito said, "led us to sweep the World Series. We were just on edge the whole time."

It left the Tigers stunned, still trying to figure out what hit them late Sunday.

"I'm a little bit flabbergasted, to be honest with you," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of being swept. "I never would have though that we would have swept the New York Yankees, and I neve would have thought that the Giants would have swept us.
"It's a freaky game and it happened.''

Yet, this was no fluke. There was no luck involved.

"I couldn't be more proud," Bob Quinn, former general manager of the Giants, Yankees and Reds, told USA TODAY Sports from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. "Just look at that Yankee influence."

Giants GM Brian Sabean, the former Yankees' scouting director, was Quinn's first hire. Dick Tidrow, vice president of player personnel, was a former scout and pitcher for the Yankees. Dave Righetti, the pitching coach, is a former Yankees star. Hitting coaches Hensley Muelens and Joe Lefebvre and first-base coach dRoberto Kelly are former Yankees. So is advance scout Steve Balboni.

"If you pin Brian down," Quinn sai, "he'll tell you the Yankee way ain't all that bad. Brian is old school. That's the way we did things in New York. He's taking the same motto we used in New York. SDSD. Scout, draft, sign and develop."

It might have been the New York dictum, but the Giants have perfected it. The Giants' legacy will be forever remembered, with a flair of New York style.

"We'll still keep it low profile,'' Sabean said, "because that's who we are. That will never change.''

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