There it is. The final game of the 2010 baseball season.
Unless our dark lord David Appelman has some sort of fancy site redesign in the works that I haven’t heard about, that image will grace the upper right corner of this website for the next four months and 29 days. Until March 31, 2011, when the MLB season begins anew and 30 teams begin the arduous 162 game march toward the Commissioner’s Trophy, that abstraction of the clinching game of the most recent World Series will remain the closest thing to “Live Win Probability” we have.
What do we see? The defining moment of the final game comes from an Edgar Renteria home run. Juan Uribe hit an important single for the World Series champions. No Albert Pujols. No Chase Utley. No Mark Teixeira. No Kevin Youkilis. No Carl Crawford. And, most importantly, we see the final score, “Giants (3) @ Rangers (1).”
Unlike last season, in which the Yankees defeated the Phillies in a perfectly rational and sensible Fall Classic, this season’s final game also serves as a reminder of how unpredictable our sport can be at times. The Giants were by no means favorites entering the year, and many (such as myself) were pessimistic on their playoff hopes, predicting a .500 season or worse. The Vegas odds could have been an unprecedented 1000 to 0 – a zero dollar bet on the Giants pays 1000 dollars – and there may have been few takers.
No, instead the image of that final game will be a reminder that sometimes, things just happen. Sometimes, Aubrey Huff becomes Albert Pujols for a season. Sometimes, that superfreak catching prospect and the 30+ year old minor league veteran come from AAA to carry a team’s offense. Sometimes, a team plucks a player off waivers – not even intending to acquire him! – and sometimes, that player goes off in October. Sometimes, the 35 year old shortstop on his sixth team hits a go-ahead home run in a clinching World Series game.
Rarely do all of these things happen together, and rarely do they happen to a team that also happens to have pieces in place like a fantastic, young pitching rotation and an elite closer. 2010, though, was the year that everything came together. A group of guys who, at least according to everybody around the game, had no business winning the World Series will have the rings for the rest of their lives, and have they ever earned them.
If you use this site often, that image in the upper right corner will serve as your reminder of how the 2010 World Champions finished their season all winter long. March 31, 2011 is a long way away. Get used to it.