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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: No one saw this Fall Classic matchup coming

Anda Chu
San Francisco Giants outfielders Gregor Blanco, left, and Hunter Pence celebrate an 11-4 win against the Kansas City Royals in Game 4 of the World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco, on Friday, Oct. 25, 2014. The series is tied, 2-2. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

The easy narrative for the 2014 World Series has been Dynasty vs. Destiny, the clash of two franchises from completely different schools of success.

On the dynasty side sit the San Francisco Giants, winners of the Fall Classic in 2010 and 2012. Looked upon in smug fashion, they are supposed to represent the aristocracy of baseball, the guys who simply know how to win in October.

Then there’s the Kansas City Royals, the loveable losers of the American League for so long. Yet, here they are in the World Series, fresh off sweeps in the division and league championship rounds.

For the uninformed fan, the one who only tunes into baseball during the postseason, it would be easy to insert the Royals and Giants into the traditional David versus Goliath roles.

In truth, both of these teams could be David. Neither was supposed to go this far in the postseason, certainly not to the World Series.

Heading into game 5 Sunday night, either Kansas City or San Francisco is two wins away from hosting a World Series parade no one thought possible just a few weeks ago.

In 2010 and 2012, the Giants made similarly remarkable runs through the postseason. However, this one tops both.

Go ask a Dodger fan who the best team in the National League West was from April to September. They’ll surely say the one that had Clayton Kershaw as its ace, pitching behind a star-studded lineup.

Today, Kershaw is probably out golfing somewhere while his NL West counterpart, Madison Bumgarner, just finished tossing another World Series start.

Bumgarner leads a limping Giants rotation that lost its best pitcher, Matt Cain, in August due to a season-ending elbow injury. Other than Bumgarner, the Giants have relied on Tim Hudson, Jake Peavy and journeyman Ryan Vogelsong to pitch the team to another World Series title.

On offense, the Giants have relied on a mix of September call-ups and watered-down veterans, such as outfielder Travis Ishikawa, who hit the walk-off home run to send San Francisco into the World Series.

Behind the leadership of perennial All-Star catcher Buster Posey and the eccentric but effective antics of right fielder Hunter Pence, the Giants have guaranteed themselves a special place in the hearts of San Francisco fans for years to come, win or lose.

Then there are the fans who don’t have the taste of victory still lingering in their mouths.

Kansas City hadn’t made a World Series since 1985, and it looked like that streak was going to continue this year, even when the Royals barely eked into the second Wild Card spot.

Then something strange happened. The Royals kept winning and winning, all the way to the first game of the World Series.

Kansas City came back and shocked Oakland in the Wild Card play-in game, then swept the Angels and Orioles. Only one of the postseason wins was decided by more than three runs, and four games went extra-innings.

That’s just the way the Royals like it, with their gritty, small-ball style that values bunts and stolen bases over home runs.

After years of anguish, Kansas City built a foundation around home-grown talents like Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon, and now it could all pay off with two more victories.

This might not be the World Series the TV networks wanted. There’s nothing flashy about either team. They don’t have the superstars of the Dodgers or Angels. They don’t even fit into normal sports archetypes. Yet, either the Royals or Giants are about to walk away with a World Series trophy.


Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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