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San Francisco Giants understand being knocked down & getting back up

By Mark ONeill
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The San Francisco Giants are underdogs-once again-in the 2014 World Series, to the Kansas City Royals, and they’re good with that. However, though the Orange and Black may even be legitimately so, there is one rung on the ladder of experience that the Royals have yet to climb.

Kansas City has ascended dizzying heights this postseason, including a historical sweep of all three pre-World Series tournaments, and is perched to trample over the Giants as well, whom they swept in a three-game series, earlier in the season.

With all that success, how will the Royals respond to being knocked down?

But with all that perfection, the Royals have yet to experience a searing jab to the solar plexus, a crushing blow that hands them defeat and sends them home, well, defeated. Without the knowledge of how the Royals will respond, should that occur, there is an element of uncertainty to the World Series, that more than piques one’s interest.

The Giants have been in the position of taking a direct uppercut to the chin, staggering, and then recovering to get the job done, many times. Take Game Two of the 2010 National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves, when the Orange and Black took a 4-0 lead into the sixth inning, and still led 4-1, when the ball was handed to Brian Wilson for a six-out save, and he blew the chance, allowing the Braves to tie the game. Rick Ankiel completed the knock-out by clubbing a solo home run in the eleventh, and the series was tied one to one.

Or how about Game Five of the National League Championship Series, in 2010, against the Philadelphia Phillies, when Aubrey Huff made a costly error, allowing two runs to score in the third inning, in a game decided by two runs, 4-2, in favor of the Phils?

Or the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds in 2012? The Reds blew the Giants out of the water in Game Two, 9-0, to take an imposing two-games-to-none lead, with the Giants having the unenviable task of traveling back to Cincinnati, to try and accomplish what had not been done all season-win three in a row in Cincinnati. 

Or Game Three of the NLCS in 2012, when Carlos Beltran was removed from the game because of a hurt wrist in the first inning? Giants fans heaved a big sigh of relief, only to see his replacement, Matt Carpenter (!) hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third, to give the St. Louis Cardinals a lead they would never relinquish. By winning, the Cards took a two-games-to-one lead in the best of seven series.

The Giants, winners of nine consecutive, postseason series, do not have a perfect record going into this year’s World Series. It is not a prerequisite, just as winning the division is not a requirement, either. What the Giants do have is an iron jaw, so as to be better able to deal with the next punch.

Adversity is a commodity that is easily available. Dealing with adversity? Not so easy.

Being forewarned is being forearmed, but it doesn’t work if the warning has never been delivered. Consider the Giants to be working for the Post Office for the next ten days, and we’ll see how the Series develops.

Oct 28, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; San Francisco Giants players including Hunter Pence (8) throw sunflower seeds in the air as they enter the clubhouse after game four of the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. The Giants won 4-3 to sweep the series. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

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