A different kind of Major League Baseball dynasty has emerged.
The San Francisco Giants are champions of a new age of parity, the best at juggling budget and talent, and managing the changing tides of a tumultuous 162-game regular season.
Despite missing key players due to injury in pitcher Matt Cain and center fielder Angel Pagan, the Giants squeaked into the playoffs and won a third World Series title in five years with Wednesday’s Game Seven win over the Kansas City Royals.
It took an historic postseason performance by 25-year-old pitcher Madison Bumgarner, but when his last pitch was thrown the resourceful Giants ruled again, following up their 2010 and 2012 Fall Classic triumphs.
The World Series pitted two wild card teams, neither of whom managed to reach the 90-win mark this season.
“Wild card teams are usually pretty good teams, too, and they’re usually fighting so hard to get there at the end,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before Game Seven.
“So good chance that they’re playing well. It just goes to show you, in baseball, anything can happen when you get to the playoffs.”
The Giants are by no means MLB paupers, ranking sixth with a $148 million payroll, but they spent nearly $100 million less than California rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kansas City made the playoffs for the first time in 29 years with the blossoming of young talent turning a $90 million payroll team into a force to be reckoned with.
Neither of the finalists resembled powerhouses of the past.
These are not the spend-at-all-costs New York Yankees, who dominated for a stretch during the 1990s. Or the power-hitting Oakland A’s or Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s.
In fact, oddsmakers rank the Giants the fifth pick to win the next World Series. Kansas City stood seventh.
Click here to read more.