Giants

Inside Giants' 2012 World Series sweep of Tigers from reporter’s view

Inside Giants' 2012 World Series sweep of Tigers from reporter’s view

Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Giants' 2012 World Series sweep of the Tigers today from 8 a.m. PT to 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.

It was about 4 a.m. when my boss called, and as I stepped into a hallway at the Renaissance Center Marriott, the lobby party was still going.

The end of a World Series is a release for the players physically and mentally, but the same holds true for the media and all the behind-the-scenes staffers who are there every day that extra month. 

You spend a month working long days and nights, eating dinners out of sandwich boxes handed out in the press box -- the good days are the ones when you get there early and snag a chicken pesto -- and planning your travel a day at a time. Earlier in that 2012 postseason, I sat in the lobby restaurant at the Cincinnati Westin and watched the Giants file out and head for the airport. They were on the tarmac when the Cardinals beat the Nationals, and they found out they were going home instead of to D.C. I quickly canceled my flight to the nation's capital and smiled as I realized I didn't have to buy a winter coat the next morning on the way to the airport.

So when the World Series finally is over, it's a release and a bit of a party, and the Renaissance Center in Detroit was ready for the dozens of reporters who descended upon the lobby after Game 4.

It was a nice home for beat writers that week, mostly because it was freezing outside and you didn't have to leave the building to find food. There was a food court in the lobby of the massive building, and you can't ask for much more than that when the temperature outside is in the 30s. I ate a lot of chicken nuggets that week.

The lobby was rocking that final night, because there's not much to do in downtown Detroit, even when it's warm. But I was pulled away when my boss called and asked an urgent question.

"Have you been paying attention to Hurricane Sandy?" he asked.

I hadn't. It was cold in Detroit and wet at times over the previous couple of days, but anyone there was focused on the Giants and the Tigers. I didn't realize how bad Sandy had gotten, and when I think back to that 2012 World Series -- which will air today on NBC Sports Bay Area -- that's what I remember the most.

Sure, there was Pablo Sandoval's three-homer game and Ryan Theriot's slide into the plate. Barry Zito beat Justin Verlander and Sergio Romo froze Miguel Cabrera, but what I've always remembered most about that week was a mad scramble to get out of town before the airports shut down, and the words a young Buster Posey said earlier that night after the Giants had completed the sweep.

"It was a big win -- I know that sounds silly," Posey said, his voice getting serious in the middle of a celebration. "But they would have had Verlander tomorrow."

I've always thought about the last part of that quote. On paper, the 2012 World Series was a demolition, but a playoff series can turn on one hit, as the Giants proved that entire month. They won a record six elimination games to reach the World Series, stunning the Reds and then the Cardinals. They ended the postseason with seven consecutive wins, outscoring the Cardinals and Tigers 36-7, but Posey knew they couldn't give the Tigers any kind of opening.

With a win in Game 4, the Tigers could have regrouped, and they would have lined up behind Verlander, who finished second for the Cy Young that year. The Giants also knew the weather was coming, and it would hit hard. The day after Game 4, waves on Lake Michigan hit 20 feet, and schools outside of Detroit closed because of power outages. The World Series likely would have been disrupted, and perhaps a loaded Tigers team would have regrouped.

The Tigers had Verlander and Max Scherzer in their rotation, along with midseason addition Anibal Sanchez and the underrated Doug Fister. Current Giant Drew Smyly had a 3.99 ERA for Detroit that season, but the rotation was so stacked that he was sent to the bullpen. The lineup featured Cabrera, the MVP, and Prince Fielder, who hit 30 homers in the regular season.

That was a really good team, one the Giants couldn't afford to let off the mat. They stunned the Tigers in four games, from Verlander's reaction to Sandoval's homers to Romo's fastball that ended up being the final pitch of 2012.

That Giants team is remembered for the comebacks, but they also should be remembered for putting the hammer down when they had to, locking up a sweep. They made sure the Tigers never caught their breath, never got a chance to come back after the weather cleared and let Verlander try to make it 3-2.

"I'm just glad the whole world got to see what this team is about," Ryan Vogelsong said after Game 4. "Starting with Game 5 of the NLCS, we played our best baseball of the season."

[RELATED: Ranking Posey's best walk-offs]

The Giants held a parade two days later, and because of that 4 a.m. phone call, I was there to cover it. I hung up and switched my flight, then ran to my room to pack and head to the airport.

I was on a 6 a.m. flight to Chicago, and from there, it was smooth sailing. Just about every connecting flight was canceled later that day, and I know some of the other reporters had to drive hours to reach an airport that could get them back to San Francisco.

Everything could have looked so much different had the Tigers won Game 4, so as you rewatch those games today, remember the trait that Giants team showed on the final day of the season. They refused to give in for weeks, and when they had a chance to put the Tigers away and win a second title, they proved to be ruthless.

Barry Bonds closer comparison to Michael Jordan than Madison Bumgarner

Barry Bonds closer comparison to Michael Jordan than Madison Bumgarner

Michael Jordan and his exploits have dominated the internet for months since ESPN’s “The Last Dance” premiered. Comparisons and retrospectives have become a constant across social media. 

In that spirit, Bleacher Report tried to analyze who most closely resembles MJ’s legacy in MLB and identified two former Giants who possess Jordan-esque qualities: Madison Bumgarner and Barry Bonds.

For MadBum, his postseason dominance draws the closest parallels to Jordan. In over 100 innings of playoff pitching, Bumgarner has just a 2.11 ERA. That includes a dominant World Series in 2014 where MadBum closed out Game 7 with five scoreless relief innings, earning World Series MVP in the process. Bumgarner was critical to each of the Giants' three World Series titles over the past decade.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Bonds, on the other hand, simply struck fear into the hearts of opponents in a way few athletes ever have. Teams were willing to walk players in with the bases loaded just to avoid giving up a grand slam to Bonds. His eye-popping seven NL MVP awards surpass Jordan’s five NBA MVPs, and the slugger owns all sorts of other league records. Bonds’ lack of a World Series makes this a tough comparison, but baseball is a completely different sport, and one player absolutely isn’t enough to win a championship. Bonds hit four home runs in the one World Series he ever appeared in, but the Los Angeles Angels managed to overtake the Giants in seven games.

[RELATED: Giants' Larry Baer believes 2020 MLB Draft requires 'better scouting']

While neither player is a perfect correlation to Jordan, Bonds clearly is the closer comparison here. MadBum is phenomenal, but he’s never been considered the greatest player or even the greatest pitcher in MLB. Bonds was at the top of the sport for several years and is the greatest slugger the league ever has seen. 

As B/R's Jacob Schafer closes his article with, baseball doesn't have a person who perfectly matches up with Jordan's skillset, personality and impact on the sport.

One thing is for sure: both Bumgarner and Bonds could hit a baseball a heck of a lot better than Jordan ever did.

Nationals honor Gerardo Parra with 'Baby Shark' in World Series ring

Nationals honor Gerardo Parra with 'Baby Shark' in World Series ring

The Washington Nationals unveiled their 2019 World Series ring Sunday, and it has the usual bells and whistles.

Each custom ring features 55 genuine red rubies, 32 sapphires, 170 round diamonds and 23.2 carats of genuine gemstones.

Oh, and one Baby Shark.

What?

That's right. In honor #ForeverGiant Gerardo Parra, who started last season with the Giants before finishing it with the Nationals, the team engraved the "Baby Shark" on the inside of the ring.

Why "Baby Shark?" Because it was Parra's walk-up song for a part of the 2019 season in Washington, and it became the Nationals' rally call.

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

According to NBC Sports Washington, Parra was going through a slump and wanted to change his song. He initially didn't want "Baby Shark," but it kept coming up on his phone because his 2-year-old daughter was continually listening to it.

“So, every time I pick, want to move the song -- every time move it -- the “Baby Shark” coming,” Parra told  NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas. “I said, no, I don’t want “Baby Shark.” I do it like three times like that. Baby Shark coming, “Baby Shark” coming. I said, hey, do “Baby Shark,” my song for my kids, my babies.”

Parra signed a minor league contract with the Giants last February, but he played in just 30 games before being released. Little did Parra know that his next stop would result in him winning a World Series ring.

And Parra probably never could have imagined that the "Baby Shark" song he never wanted would be immortalized on the 2019 World Series ring.

[RELATED: Parra impersonated by Batting Stance Guy]

In case you want a glimpse of the Nats' ring, here it is:

That's a nice piece of hardware.

While you wait for the global coronavirus pandemic to end, go ahead and sing "Doo doo doo doo doo doo, Baby Shark" to yourself.