SAN FRANCISCO — The Oracle Park seats were still filling up as the 2012 championship Giants team filed down an orange carpet out of center field. A quick survey of the Saturday night crowd giving a standing ovation to the champions says everything about what this team meant to Giants fans.
Ten years after this team swept the heavily-favored Detroit Tigers in the World Series, most of the names on the backs of the fans’ jerseys were on that 2012 roster. Names that define an era of Giants baseball that brought three titles to San Francisco.
Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford.
For various reasons, most of those faces of the franchise weren’t at Oracle Park to celebrate the Giants’ 10th anniversary of that 2012 title run, sandwiched by two others in a stunning run of success for this franchise. Posey and Lincecum among them.
But 24 players on that roster — Cain, Angel Pagan, Pence, Marco Scutaro, Javier Lopez, Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong among them — reunited on the field to remember what made that that run so special.
“They were such a resilient team with a never-say-die attitude,” then-Giants manager Bruce Bochy said about the loudspeakers.
Resilience had become a mantra since the Giants’ stunning 2010 championship, something that continued to define their success over the next decade. No postseason trip was more torturous than 2012, when they had to win six elimination games against the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS and St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS before beating the Tigers in a clean sweep.
Then-general manager Brian Sabean dubbed them the cockroaches, but their never-surrender momentum fueled their World Series win.
Giants announcer Dave Flemming, the MC for the event, ran through some of those tense moments with the players that lived them.
Scutaro, introduced to faint chants from the fans, recalled the aggressive slide Matt Holliday made at second base in Game 2 of the NLCS that bent the second baseman’s back out of shape. Scutaro remembered feeling pain like he had never felt before.
Fans remember how he bounced back, batting .500 with three doubles and four RBIs to claim the NLCS MVP trophy. Scutaro made sure to thank athletic trainer Dave Groeschner for getting him back healthy for the rest of the series.
They remember when Scutaro looked up to the skies, pouring rain in San Francisco, after that final out.
“I truly believe that was a sign from up there,” Scutaro said. “I spent four years in Oakland, I’ve never seen rain like that. I figured we were one out away from the World Series. All of the sudden it starts pouring. I truly believe it was a sign from up there.”
Then they threw it back to Barry Zito, a Cy Young winner and legend with the A’s looking for his championship on the other side of the Bay. Facing elimination in Game 5, Zito was heroic. Tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts in their momentum-shifting win.
But the highlight of the game came when Zito aided his own effort with an RBI bunt single, perfectly placed down the third base line.
With first pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates minutes away, the Giants couldn’t get through all the highlights.
Posey’s Grand Slam against Matt Latos in Cincinnati. Pence’s RBI double in Game 7 of the NLCS that came off his bat three times, putting enough screwy spin on the ball to evade the shortstop’s glove and add much-needed insurance runs to the win. Playing that way with their backs against the wall, the Giants felt unstoppable against a Tigers team that had it all.
“We just had so much momentum,” Pence said. “We were numb to everything, how good they were.”
Pablo Sandoval stunned the world in Game 1 of the World Series when he hit three home runs, two off ace Justin Verlander. It began a stunning series clinched when slider-hurler Sergio Romo, filling in for injured closer Brian Wilson, caught Miguel Cabrera staring at a fastball right down the pipe to seal the World Series sweep.
After that walk down memory lane, the Giants gathered for a team photo with the 2012 trophy. Notable, too, that Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt — playing in their first postseasons back in 2012 — were suited up for Saturday night’s game. More proof that traces of that 2012 run still run deep in San Francisco.
Your 2012 World Series champions pic.twitter.com/vJSvHHnxZC
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 14, 2022