The Absent Past

One of the interesting subplots in the Giants-Phillies series is the subplot that isn’t: the teams’ historic rivalry. They don’t have one, not even some dusty forgotten past to resurrect. They’ve been in different divisions since 1969 and never faced each other in October, narrowly missing in 1993 when the 103-win Giants lost the last true pennant race to the Braves. And before that, despite being in the same league since 1883, they never managed to stage a memorable pennant chase. 2010 is only the third time they’ve both won 90 games in the same season, the others being 1993 and 1964. Between 1883 and 1968, they finished 1-2 in the league only twice, in 1913 (Giants 101 wins, Phillies 88) and 1917 (Giants 98 wins, Phillies 87), neither of which was a close race. Granted, the Giants in 1950 and 1964 were the third wheel in classic Phillies pennant races, but what’s remembered is the Phils beating the Dodgers and Cardinals. For a really memorable rivalry, the best you can do is the Phillies’ Harry Coveleski playing spoiler against McGraw’s Giants in the legendary 1908 pennant race against the Cubs.
So, this one’s been a long, long time coming.

3 thoughts on “The Absent Past”

  1. While truly savoring last night’s victory, I fully admit I am in unvarnished shock that the Giants will compete in the World Series.
    Obviously they have a great pitching staff, but take it from a local fan, Bochy’s doing this with mirrors. Virtually no speed, defense that looks good on paper only because most fielders lack the range to get near anything tough, terrible situational hitting (with runners in scoring position and less than 2 outs, the most likely outcome is a double play). Jonathan Sanchez is Jekyll and Hyde in every appearance. The only pitcher I truly trust is Matt Cain.
    Brian Wilson’s outings are the source of the now popular tee-shirt “Giants Baseball-Torture”. Despite the overall record, this guy is not going remind you of Mariano Rivera. It’s almost as if he cannot get a save without putting the tying and winning runs on base.
    I will root hard and hope for the best, but from what I’ve seen from the Rangers, they’ve got to be the advance favorite.
    To paraphrase Bill Veeck, the Giants staff will have to pitch a shutout to get a tie. They actually could do that. Maybe Edgar Renteria will channel his inner Mazeroski, or Aubrey Huff will get hot, but I cannot believe that the mere presence of Cody Ross insures anything but the chance of one or more solo homers.
    Cliff Lee must be licking his chops.

  2. Well they have a better chance of winning the WS than the Phillies…
    A short series in baseball is always a crap shoot. In 2008, the Phillies were very much a long shot team going into the playoffs, but everything went right and they won. The Giants didn’t win 92 games without real talent – pitching talent mainly, but still talent. The offense may lack much in the way of stars but it also lacks any real weaknesses. As long as the pitching keeps games close, they have a chance to win – they barely beat 3 rpg in the NLCS but it was enough.

  3. Crank, what’s remembered about 1964 is the Phils blowing a 6 & 1/2 game lead with 12 to play.

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