This season was supposed to help vault the Giants into the future, but it was also going to celebrate a huge part of their past.
The organization planned to spend much of the summer looking back at the 2010 team that finally brought a World Series title to San Francisco, culminating with a weekend reunion in the middle of August. The Giants planned to hold the reunion August 16 and give out replica rings to the first 30,000 fans to stream through the gates.
That's all up in the air now, and while games that far ahead haven't been canceled yet, nobody can imagine a situation where fans are able to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of that team in person anytime soon. On this week's Giants Insider Podcast, Pat Burrell, an integral part of the lineup that year, said he's hopeful the organization still honors that team at some point.
"I hope we get a chance to do something and it's not like a Zoom reunion," Burrell said, laughing.
The Giants certainly will find a way when baseball gets back to normal. They do ceremonies better than anyone, and the 2010 reunion was going to be a big one. Many of those players returned last September for Bruce Bochy's final game and talked about how much they were looking forward to the 2010 reunion, and even the elusive Tim Lincecum was expected to be back.
When Burrell, now hitting coach for the San Jose Giants, was asked what stood out about that team, he mentioned that pitching staff that included Lincecum. But the first thing that came to mind was something else.
"The momentum. If you were close to that team or around it, there was such a sense that there was something special there," Burrell said.
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Burrell, a Bay Area native, signed with the Giants in late May of that season after being DFA'd by Tampa Bay. He provided a needed dose of power, hitting 18 homers in 289 at-bats. That was one of several significant under-the-radar moves that general manager Brian Sabean made to bolster the lineup, which didn't need to do much. The pitching just needed a little help.
"The pitching was so next-level and I don't think a lot of people realized how good the pitching was," Burrell said. "I did because I had come from other places that were heavily loaded offensive teams and always searching for the pitching. When I got to San Francisco, to see the arms, the starting pitching, the bullpen -- the bullpen, I don't know that they could ever get enough credit for what they did for those block of years with the three championships -- that just doesn't happen a whole lot.
"You can interchange offensive parts like they did and be successful, but it's really hard to lose pitching, and they were able to keep those guys around. Once we started scoring a little more runs, once our offense got into sync there, we started gaining momentum, and it just didn't stop."
That staff was led by Lincecum, the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner, and Matt Cain, who had a 3.14 ERA in 223 1/3 innings. Jonathan Sanchez had his best season in 2010 and a 20-year-old Madison Bumgarner bolstered the rotation down the stretch and in October. The bullpen was brilliant, with Brian Wilson backing the Core Four.
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The lineup skewed much older, and Burrell remembers a sense that everyone was coming together to take one final run at big league success.
"It was kind of the last chance for us to do something," Burrell said. "We couldn't have asked for a better environment. As an offense, we really weren't asked to do so much because the pitching was so good."