New-fashioned Giants built on winning formula

Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:43pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco Giants fans, once in love with home runs and Barry Bonds, will be cheering a selfless, grinding club chasing their third title in five years when the World Series resumes at AT&T Park on Friday.

The Giants and Royals split the first two games of the best-of-seven championship series in Kansas City with the next three to be played in a rocking stadium that the host team says has been sold out for the last 330 games.

Bonds, signed as a free agent in 1993, helped turn the Giants into a winning team and led them into the 2002 World Series as a record-breaking home run hitter but his retirement after 2007 set them on an even more successful course.

"We've built a non-traditional, against the star-system type of team," Giants General Manager Brian Sabean told Reuters about life after Bonds during a batting practice. "We need links in a chain and everybody buys into being a link in the chain."

That is not to say the Giants lack talent or personality. In Buster Posey they have one of the best catchers in the game, and one of baseball's most likeable players.

But these Giants pull together, unlike the muscled-up reign of home run king Bonds, who led a pampered life in the clubhouse with four lockers, an easy chair and preferential treatment.

Instead of being linked to infamous doping source BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative that contaminated so many sporting competitions, these Giants thrive on team work.

"I think we learned some things," Giants president Larry Baer told Reuters. "Barry was an aberration in a sense."   Continued...

Michelle Hedding wears a baseball cap with a rainbow-colored logo of the San Francisco Giants as she waits in line to marry her partner of 17 years, outside City Hall in San Francisco June 29, 2013.REUTERS/Stephen Lam