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Lindholm Sports Column: Marco ... Scutaro: The Giants win the World Series

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Posted on November 1, 2012 |
By Karl Lindholm



This past Sunday night Marco Scutaro knocked in the winning run for the San Francisco Giants in the deciding game of the World Series. Before that, he was the MVP of the National League Championship Series with a .500 batting average and a lot of big hits.

Why can’t the Red Sox get a player like that?

Oh yes, we had him for two years before banishing him to Colorado this past offseason.

Marco joined other diminutive second basemen, Bobby Richardson and Bill Mazeroski, as World Series heroes.

I am reminded of the game my kids played for hours at Lake Dunmore. One would be “it,” close her eyes, and yell “Marco,” whereupon all the others replied, “Scutaro,” and scattered.

On Tuesday, this week, this much-traveled Venezuelan, a spare part for many years, turned 37. Happy birthday, Marco …

Scutaro. 

This is a likable Giant team, a motley crew of personalities, without an abundance of high-priced talent.

They were dead last in the majors in home runs. Their best hitter, Melky Cabrera, starred in the All-Star game in July, but then was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for illegally high levels of testosterone.

He was eligible to return late in the season, but the Giants said, “no thanks, Melky. Stay home.”

Good for them.

Free spirit Hunter Pence, picked up halfway through the summer from the Phillies, inspired his teammates with an emotional pregame speech before Series Game Three, a pep talk one teammate called “terrifying” and his manager Bruce Bochy described as “powerful.”

It was all about playing for “the name on the front of the uniform, and not the name ‘on the back.’” Pitcher Barry Zito said, “we were all kind of speechless. It was like, ‘wow, who is this guy?’”

When I hear the name “Hunter Pence,” I think of a preppie from the Northeast, a lax player perhaps: “goal by Hunter Pence, from South Kent, Connecticut!” 

Buster Posey, the Giants’ best player, also has a bad sports’ name. Buster? Posey?

But that boy can hit (and catch!) and will soon be named the Most Valuable Player in the National League.

He looks just like a member of the British Royal family: Buster’s the one married to Kate Middleton, right?

Giant pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, as one wag said, put the “journey” in “journeyman”: his journey covers 14 years and 15 teams, and included three years in Japan and winter ball in Venezuela.  He was 10-22 (5.86 ERA) with the Pirates for five years from 2001-2006, and 11-14 in Japan after that. Not very good.

Now, at age 35, Vogelsong’s an All-Star, all but unhittable, 27-16 the last two years. He gave up just one run in four starts in the post-season, including huge wins in Game Six of the NLCS and Game Three in the World Series.

Pablo Sandoval is the “Kung Fu Panda” because, well, he looks like a giant panda. In the past he has been benched for being overweight and out of shape. Now they just say, “get a hit, Fat Boy.”

He blasted three homers in Game One of the Series and was the Series MVP with 10 hits in 20 at bats.. Only three other players have hit three homers in a Series game: Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols. Good company. 

Panda batted .364 for the post-season: his 24 hits included six homers.

Tim Lincecum has won two Cy Young awards but resembles not at all a professional athlete, unless you count pro skateboarding. With stringy shoulder-length hair, he looks like he got lost on his way to the X-Games.

He lost his starting role this season, but was lights out in the playoffs, pitching in relief. In the Series, he pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up no hits and striking out eight.

Lefty Barry Zito mastered Tiger ace Justin Verlander in Game One of the Series with a two-hit beauty, setting the stage for the Giants’ sweep.

Zito, a Cy Young Award winner in the AL, has been best known with the Giants as the undeserving beneficiary of one of the worst contracts in baseball. He was left off the Giants’ post-season roster in 2010, a humiliation for a player making $19 million a year.

He can’t break a pane of glass with his fastball, yet he redeemed himself this season (15 wins), capped off by two masterpieces in the post season.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was not the only happy camper (the Giants have seven Venezuelans on their 40 man roster, three starters) — the Giants’ triumph also played well in our house.

Brett, the matriarch of the Vermont Lindholms, is a giant Giant fan. Her graduate school job was running the scoreboard at Candlestick Park in the mid-1980s.

She worked more than 200 games in three seasons. Her favorite players of course are no longer in the game but she still roots for “the laundry” (whoever’s wearing the uniform).

If not the Red Sox, the Giants will do nicely. 

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