Spander: With or without NLCS victory, Giants are winners 

And where is Todd Wellemeyer anyway?

No knocks, please. He did his part. And then along came Madison Bumgarner. Isn’t that the way for winning teams — changes that over the course of a long season turn out to be the proper ones?

Or changes never made, which turn out to be no less proper.

May 19, Jerry Crasnick in MLB Fanhouse on AOL: “The Giants should trade for a hitter even if it will cost them prospect Madison Bumgarner ...

“The Giants will go the power route this summer, like Brewers outfielder Corey Hart. Another possibility will be Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins. In either case, Bumgarner will likely be the player dealt.”

Or five months later, Bumgarner will pitch and win the game against the Atlanta Braves, elevating the Giants into the National League Championship Series.

Patience. It’s what most of us lack. And what Giants management, meaning primarily Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy, exhibit.

We demanded Buster Posey. We got Bengie Molina. We demanded Bumgarner. We got Wellemeyer. Finally, Posey and Bumgarner arrived, but only when ready.

Put on that recording by the late Peggy Lee, “Fever.” The Bay Area has it, of the pennant variety. AT&T Park bleacher tickets on Stubhub for $9,000. You have to be kidding. You have to be delighted.

A winner. At last that’s what we have. No disparagement of the Sharks, far and away the best pro franchise by the Bay the past few years, but this is California, the state of baseball, the homeland of Joe D. and Ted the Kid and Barry Bonds.

We’re outdoors people. We’re “Grab a glove, and let’s fling a few” people. We’re “I don’t care if I ever get back” people. It’s our party, and we’ll laugh if we want to. Or cry if we must.

High unemployment, housing foreclosures. We needed an escape from that world. How about four consecutive one-run decisions in the playoffs? How about four nights of gnawed fingernails and waiting to exhale?

Maybe it stops here. “That team,” Cody Ross said of the Phillies, “is really good.” That team won a World Series in 2008 — something the Giants never have done in the 53 seasons they’ve been in San Francisco — and lost to the Yankees in the Series in 2009.

Cody Ross, hero. Ross, who homered to tie the game Monday night and then singled to break another tie and win the game.
Ross, who until Aug. 22 was with the Florida Marlins. Ross, shrugged off by fans and media who were wondering why the Giants didn’t acquire someone more prominent.

“We’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game,” reminded Ross about the NL Championship Series. “[The Phillies] got it all.”

The Giants have enough. Or they wouldn’t have reached the second stage. They’ve got Mike Fontenot if Pablo Sandoval doesn’t show discipline. They’ve got Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez to pitch relief before Brian Wilson comes in and causes heart palpitations.

Three hundred years ago the English diarist Samuel Johnson listed sport as “diversion ... frolick ... tumultuous merriment.”
This Giants season has been as tumultuously merry as possible. And as wonderfully nerve-wracking as imaginable.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

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