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Lucky or Good?

The story of the 2010 World Series is far from finished yet. However, it is pretty clear that the Giants are getting cast as a crew of rejects and misfits that have somehow come together and beat the odds to be within a few games of a world championship. That's stretching the truth a little bit with the homegrown studs on their pitching staff, but not stretching it much.

I have a friend who is a huge Giants fan, and articles like this one have given me chances to poke fun at his team, particularly the offense. Seriously, who wouldn't poke fun at a quote like this?
[Speed] is precisely what the Giants will need from their bench in 2010 as they field one of the slower lineups in the majors. In fact, one of the biggest drawbacks to the way they were built is their inability to run while, at the same time, they must manufacture runs because they lack power.
 Giants baseball! That's how the 2010 NL Champions get the job done!

In fairness to the article, it is from spring training, well before San Francisco added NLCS MVP Cody Ross. Everybody knew the Giants offense would be a juggernaut once they claimed him on waivers.

I can't help but watch this World Series and wonder what kind of trip the Mariners will take to their first World Series.

What if Jose Lopez homered to the opposite field to win the clinching game six in the ALCS, kind of like what Juan Uribe did for the Giants in this year's NLCS? It would be amazing, on many levels. How awesome would it be? That's a serious question, given how easy it is to be driven nuts by Lopez.

What if Brandon League gets the final out of the clinching game? He is erratic but hard to hit, sort of like Brian Wilson (though Wilson is noticeably better).

What if a trade deadline pick-up from years ago, like Al Martin or Rey Sanchez, had come up with Cody Ross-like performance to propel the M's into the World Series?

When I dream of the Mariners winning it all, I see King Felix fired up on the mound, perhaps giving way to Dan Cortes, or perhaps not. I see Dustin Ackley stroking the ball into the gaps. I see good (and hopefully good) players doing what good players do. I think that's what we all tend to see when we dream.

However, that hasn't been the script of the 2010 Giants, and it hasn't been the script for many championship teams. Remember who sunk the 2002 Giants with a critical home run in the 8th inning of game 6 of that World Series? Scott Spiezio. The guy that ceremonially started Boston's epic comeback against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS with a steal? Dave Roberts. How about this fun fact about the Marlins: they have two world championships, but still are yet to win a division title in franchise history.

The best players on the best teams don't always make the best plays. Seattle knows that from the hard end, and knows it some from the good end too (Refuse to Lose comes to mind). However, Seattle definitely has never tasted it to the degree that 2010 Giants fans are tasting it right now.

This all, for me, begs a bigger question: Would you rather the first Mariners championship be a "legitimate" one, or a "fluky" one?

Would you rather have a star-studded team that is clearly one of the best in baseball, and then rises to the occasion in the postseason; or one that isn't all that memorable, but then turns it on at just the right time, with random heros different nights?

Would you rather remember a big Felix punchout, or a Jose Lopez punch shot?

I would gladly take either version of a world championship, and until this run by the Giants, I definitely would have gone with the "legitimate" championship. However, as I watch San Francisco, I feel as if they are the anti-Seattle team. Things just seem to go their way, at times inexplicably. For the times the franchise has been so close but then had brutal luck, it seems that all that bad luck is equalling out in one magical postseason.

To a city that seems cursed when it comes to sports, just as Seattle is, there would be something incredibly satisfying about a fluky championship. It would have something that a more dominant, legitimate one just wouldn't be able to deliver.

Now I almost want to hold on to Jose Lopez and Casey Kotchman. Almost.