We the fans….
….are the true institutional memory of baseball. When the Giants and Cardinals start their series on Sunday, none of those players will be thinking about the ’87 playoffs, or the bad blood between the two teams in general in the late ’80s. And they won’t be thinking about the ’02 playoffs. None of the current players were around for any of that, unless they watched the ’02 series on TV. But we fans remember well those series in the past. This blog’s web address, of course, is named after Jeffrey Leonard’s homerun trot in that ’87 series! I can still remember Bob Melvin being thrown out at third in that bang/bang play in that 1-0, Game 6, like it was yesterday. Why no pinch-runner, Roger Craig? Why no pinch-runner? Kudos to Dave Dravecky for getting that bunt down with two strikes on him. And I could swear it was Don Zimmer coaching third for us that game, pleading with the ump about the call. Don Zimmer???? That can’t possibly be right, can it?
So, this will be two very good teams going at it in this 2012 NL championship series; two teams that will have mutual respect for each other as worthy opponents. The last two World Series champs, who’ve shown the baseball world the superiority of grind-it-out old-school National League baseball. The National League….winners of 3 of the last 4 World Series; and if the NL wins the World Series again this year, the sports media world can completely take a hike with their “oh, the American League has such LINEUPS…..lineups that are so…..SCARY….” Good pitching stops good hitting, and it’s one of the core truths of baseball and always will be. The National League pitches better, plays better defense, and just flat-out plays a superior brand of baseball.
This is a fun Final Four for baseball this season. And, in fact, it’s been an awesome playoff run for MLB so far, other than the Atlanta game being marred by a horrific ump call. And so, the Cardinals made it into the playoffs as the artificially created second Wild Card, rode a bad ump call into the divisional series, and made an epic ninth-inning comeback to get to the NLCS. The Giants made their own remarkable epic comeback to get there. This is good times. Oh, and for a nice little bonus, the Giants get the homefield advantage. Yeah, the team hasn’t been as lights-out dominant at home this season like recent seasons, but it will still be a very cool thing on Sunday to see the ballpark packed with 40,000 energized manic Giants fans, exhorting the team on to great things. The fans are the real institutional memory; and new history will be happening in this series. These two teams will be creating their own particular history vs. each other. Things will happen, competitive attitudes will store memories. These two teams may well bear some grudges for a while after this series. And the fans will remember this series long after all these players have moved on to the next phases in their lives, because that’s what we fans do. We carry the memories of the teams.