It wasn't clean, but it was classically Giant


It wasn't clean, but it was classically Giant


SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian Sabean worked the fringes of the Giants clubhouse trying to avoid huge sprays. Hed done nine dogpiles before this one, and he knew the safest way to navigate a celebration.

Total veteran move, the San Francisco general manager said as he clutched a can of clubhouse beer. Besides, Ive had this viral thing I cant rid of.

And therein lies a central truth of all human endeavor: Bacilli do not honor the deeds of men.

Sabean, though, was not the only one to handle the NL West title with a measure of restraint. The team as a whole did what old fuds the world around always ask for that they act like theyve been there before. Because, well, they had.

Yeah, this was harder than it looked, Sabean said. We went through a lot this year in a lot of ways, and it really was a tale of two seasons. But they were pros when they needed to be.

Thats the thing, manager Bruce Bochy added while he choked his own beer can. They went through so much more than it looked like, but when it came time to stand up, they did. We couldnt win at home, but when it got to be crunch time, we did just that. And this was the hardest one, because it was 162 games.

BAGGS' INSTANT REPLAY: Giants are 2012 NL West champions

That last part is open to interpretation, since the Giants have played their last meaningful game against a team with a losing record. By slapping the San Diego Padres for the seventh time in playoff clinching situations, they also showed that they did not let up against their inferiors, going 54-30 against National League teams with losing records.

But it wasnt the victimization of the weak that Sabean, Bochy or the players will remember. It will be what they did when they were weakened. They adapted to the loss of closer Brian Wilson, the zany expulsions of Melky Cabrera, the struggles of Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum and Brandon Belt and Ryan Vogelsong and Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford.

Indeed, this was not a clean win, but it was classically Giant. They ran into walls face-first, and then got up and sought out the next wall. They went about routing the field in an odd way, and they routed it anyway.

And maybe because of the way they won the division, they celebrated with a slight edge. There was much more beer than champagne, much more satisfaction than hijinks, and the temperature of the room was significantly lower than for any other clinching in the last 15 years. It was a celebration with purpose, a quick release of steam before the boilers are stoked again. They know what awaits, and they know how much harder it gets in 10 more days.

Between now and then, though, Bochy and Sabean will go over their rosters again and again (remember, they had Jose Guillen on the roster in 2010 until two days before the end of the season), and they will check their rotations against the two teams they most likely could play in the first round.

It will not be a series of sentimental choices, either. Barry Zito learned that two years ago, and so did Sandoval. This time, the decisions seem easier, but the amount of time they will spend examining the alternate permutations will be no less.

In an odd way, it is how the fans felt as well. They did not linger long in the ballpark, for they didnt need to savor every drop of a division title that had been over for all intent and purpose a week ago. They seemed to remember the lessons of 2010 as well, and determined not to peak too soon, revelry-wise.

I dont know about that, Sabean said. Every one is unique, and this one was different than all the rest of them, no question. But theyre all special, and you have to enjoy them all, because theyre so hard to get, no matter how many of them you have.

Then he coughed, swallowed a swing of beer, and sidled along a line of lockers to shake hands with any players, staff or shareholders he might have missed his first two times around. It was the veteran move.

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure


Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”