By Claire Reclosado-Baclay
They did it. Somehow the San Francisco Giants pulled off something that no National League team in history has done. They left their home field down 0-2 and needed to win three straight on the road to win the National League Division Series—and they did it by beating the Cincinnati Reds 6-4.
But how did this team faced with what seemed impossible to many make it happen? They wanted to win—not for the accolades, not for the fame—for each other.
Their chemistry came alive during the regular season and led them to the NL West pennant. During the NLDS, the team out of sync and lost in the first two games, but then the meeting in the dugout happened. That speech by outfielder Hunter Pence prior to Game 3 reignited the Giants and the fire never disappeared.
“Yeah, I don’t think that’s kind of what it’s about, that’s just us,” Pence said after they won the NLDS. “I don’t know where it came from. It just kind of happened and the guys liked it, felt good. So we kept doing it.”
After the first dugout hype session, they won. They did it again before Game 4, same result. Prior to Game 5, sure—and then they advanced to the NLCS.
Staring elimination in the face, it would be easier to just play hard knowing that, with the odds against them, it wouldn’t be a shock if they lost one of the next three games. The easy way out was not an option. It would require more than just playing hard.
It takes more than just talent. It takes will. It takes passion. It takes reasons beyond the superficial. They found it in each other.
San Francisco took it, as cliché as it sounds, “one game at a time,” but that’s what they needed to do. No need focusing on having to win every game when it takes one mistake to let a game slip away. So, one game at a time, one win at a time, one team with a united purpose.
“This is playoffs. We fight to get here,” Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo said earlier in the series. “This is what we push for this all season long. There is no time to step back and think of myself. It’s for everybody else, for everybody playing orange and black.”
There wasn’t just one hero on this team. Just as the Giants shared the common goal of winning for each other, they shared the responsibility. One game pitcher Tim Lincecum pitches masterfully, another game Pence inspires the team. One game catcher Buster Posey hits a grand slam and Romo closes out the game in dramatic fashion.
After Game 5, Romo sat in the clubhouse while his teammates celebrated. Overcome with emotion, he shed some tears. Telling reporters that during his battle with Jay Bruce he thought about his teammates and how he “couldn’t let them down.”
They didn’t let each other down and they doused each other in beer and champagne to celebrate that fact.
The Giants are successful because there is no “me” mentality. The mantra remained the same, do it for the guy next to you. Once they got going, the Reds couldn’t stop them and now they’re on their way to the National League Championship Series.
Claire Reclosado-Baclay is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco Giants. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.