Many Matt’s Bats readers know that I visited San Francisco in mid-June and was lucky to see the Giants take on the Padres at AT&T Park. Now that the Giants are in town to play a series against the Nationals, I thought it would be a good time to tell you more about a good baseball book that I recently read about a family that roots for the Giants.
Shortly after I got back from my San Francisco trip, I was given the chance to read and review a book written by Joseph Sutton called “The Years The Giants Won The Series: A Fan’s Journal of the 2012 and 2010 World Series Seasons.” It is written from the journals Joe keeps every day, and he discusses the Giants 2010 and 2012 seasons and how it compares to what he wrote in his journal from the days when he was coaching his son, Ray, and his Little League Team.
The book is not only about the Giants winning two World Series titles in three years, it’s also about Joe’s baseball relationship with his son from the time he was a young boy to the age of 21. The main message is that many of the characteristics that a baseball team needs to succeed– talent, fortitude, determination, perseverance, and patience– are also necessary for parents to teach to their children.
Joe Sutton became a Giants fan in about 1975 when he moved to San Francisco. He went to see a game against the Dodgers. At the beginning of the game he was rooting for the Dodgers because he grew up in L.A. and had been a Dodger fan all his life. In the middle of the game, though, he started to transform into a Giants fan. He remembered, “If I’m going to live in San Francisco for the rest of my life, I might as well root, root, root for the home team.” He’s been rooting for the Giants ever since.
It was not always easy being a Giants fan. After leaving New York in 1958 for San Francisco, the Giants had never won a World Series. They made it to the World Series in 1962 (losing to the Yankees) and 1989 (losing to the cross-town A’s in the series that was interrupted by the earthquake). But everything changed in 2010, and again in 2012– 2 World Series trophies in 2 years, after 53 years without one. The 2010 Giants were one of the most exciting teams in baseball, with lots of characters like Tim “the Freak” Lincecum, Brian “the Weez” or “the Beard” Wilson, and Pablo “the Panda” Sandoval.
Joe’s book shows that “a team is more important than individual egos, agendas or statistics.” He thinks that is why the Giants had their magical season in 2010. Another important element to the Giants’ success, he writes, was their “never-say-die” attitude. Fans should act the same way. The main lesson that he wants fans to understand is that “you should always root for your team and players during strengths and struggles, and you’ll be rewarded.” This positive attitude is very similar to what I wrote about in my Definition of Mattitude post last week, after the Nationals were on a disappointing skid.
The book starts with the 2012 season and Joe is MAD. Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum wasn’t pitching very well. In mid-August, after an amazing first half capped off by an excellent All Star Game with 5 RBIs and being named the MVP, outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended for the remainder of the season. Things weren’t looking good for the Giants. (Meanwhile, the Nationals were on a tear all season. They had the best record in baseball and were looking like they could be Series Champions. They played strong against the Giants that season, winning 5 out of the 6 games they played that year). Things happen in baseball. The Giants won the NL West, and the Nats won the NL East. The Cardinals squeaked in by the Wild Card, and upset the Nats in Game 5 of the NLDS with a crushing loss with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 9th, down by 4. The Giants team was already on the plane to come to DC to play the Nats in the NLCS, but turned around and headed home to play the Cardinals after that game. The Giants took that series, and eventually swept the Tigers to be World Series champs in 2012. Joe was extremely happy. From what the Giants did in 2012 (and also in 2010), he saw the “never-say-die” attitude that was the main ingredient for his son’s baseball success.
While Joe was celebrating on the West Coast, Nats fans on the East Coast were upset with the Nationals’ disappointing loss. Joe sees a good teaching lesson from that: “Baseball can teach children that there are good days and bad, glorious times and bumps in the road, and that sometimes things don’t go the way you want. Baseball, to me, is such a great symbol of life itself.”
JS: It brought us closer than ever. We watched many games on TV and at the ballpark. The Giants, over the years, have played a huge part in bonding the two of us.
JS: Coaching my son brought both thrills and frustration. Thrills when he made winning hits, great plays in the field or when he stole a base. Frustration when he got down on himself or was mired in a bad slump. That’s when I learned that I had to be more patient with him. The memory of going through the hard times and good times together will always be with us. Even though my son is now 32, we still reminisce about those days.
About the Author:
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