San Francisco treated its fans to the 2010 World Series Championship.
And just like that, the 2010 MLB season comes to a close. San Francisco's 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night lifted the Giants to the title, their first since 1954 when they were playing at the Polo Grounds in New York.
The win culminated a World Series between two unlikely participants. San Fran and Texas were listed with 16/1 and 20/1 futures respectively to win it all back in the spring. The Rangers beat the MLB odds in getting past the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS and the defending champion New York Yankees in the ALCS. Meanwhile the Giants overcame huge the underdog tag in stopping the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS.
San Francisco proved the old baseball adage that good pitching beats good hitting. The Giants also proved that timely hitting will beat good pitching. Tim Lincecum topped postseason pitching master Cliff Lee twice with Edgar Renteria's three-run homer in Game 5 the deciding blow. Renteria, named the Series MVP, now owns game-winning hits in two World Series clinching wins, the other in extra innings of Game 7 in the 1997 Series to lift the Florida Marlins over the Cleveland Indians.
While Giants hitters and pitchers were winning the title on the field, San Francisco GM Brian Sabean made the moves in the front office to help the franchise to its first championship since moving west in 1958. Bringing in Bruce Bochy in 2007 to head the dugout was the first move, and Bochy pushed all the right buttons during the playoffs.
Those 16/1 odds back in March were also calculated with a different bunch of position players on the Giants roster. San Francisco opened the season with Lincecum beating Roy Oswalt and the Astros on the road, and just half of the position players in that lineup were in the Game 5 lineup on Monday – Renteria, Aaron Rowand, Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe. A fifth Giants starter on Opening Day was also in the lineup in Game 5, albeit on the other side with Bengie Molina catching for the Rangers.
San Francisco started the season with six wins in its first seven games before settling in behind the surprising San Diego Padres in the NL West for much of the season. The Giants got some help with San Diego's swoon in September, clinching the division crown in Game 162.
Those backing the Giants all season, including the playoffs, wound up with over 22.5 units of profit. The Padres were next on the money list with 18.5 units.
The Rangers' bid for a first World Series title fell short, but there's no reason for Rangers fans to hang their heads. The Rangers were well on their way to the AL West title before they made the only significant change to their roster, left-hander Cliff Lee. Now comes the task of trying to convince Lee to re-sign with Texas instead of going elsewhere as a free agent.
Texas' biggest move was actually made change was actually made in February 2008 when the club named Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan president. Ryan added to that title this past season when he headed up a group of investors to buy the club, further deepening his imprint on the franchise that started in 1989 when he signed as a free agent to pitch for the Rangers.
The Rangers ended the season down a little more than three units at the baseball betting window. Most of that red ink was due directly to Lee's two 'chalky' losses in the World Series.
The 2010 season is 'under' review
Commissioner Bud Selig is mulling over several changes in the offseason, including the increased use of instant replay to aid the umpires. While he's thinking about that, we'll simply review the season as far as betting totals went.
Low-side bettors came out ahead in the end with 1,211 contests finishing 'under' compared to 1,134 on the high side. Of the 2,562 lined games, 117 ended with a 'push.'
Not surprisingly, the three teams with the best 'under' records finished among the lowest-scoring squads in the majors. Baltimore (92-63-7 'under') was the best bet during the regular season to finish below the scoreboard total, with the Orioles ranking 26th with 3.78 runs per game. Seattle (85-66-11 'under') followed the Orioles in the low-side standings and was dead last in the big leagues at 3.17 rpg. Houston (87-68-7) ranked third on the totals board and was third from the bottom at 3.77 rpg.
Pittsburgh scored the second-fewest runs in 2010, 3.62 per game, but finished 18th on the list of 'under' squads with an 87-81-9 mark. That was due to their pitching staff that finished last in the game with a 5.00 ERA, allowing 5.35 runs per game.
Pitchers and catchers report in 105 days
With the baseball playoffs dragging into November nowadays, the offseason just keeps getting shorter and shorter. While the Giants, their fans and their backers celebrate the World Series triumph, next season's work has already started for over 140 players who are free agents now with the official end of the 2010 season. Among the bigger names n the list are the aforementioned Cliff Lee, Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Carl Crawford and Victor Martinez.
That list will change as players file, club-controlled options are declined and arbitration is offered or not. Clubs have until Nov. 23 to offer arbitration, and players have until Nov. 30 to accept or decline.
There's also the Rule V draft which has been moved forward to Nov. 20.
Baseball's official Winter Meetings are scheduled for Dec. 6-9 this year in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. That will be preceded by the GMs and owners gathering for their meetings in Orlando on Nov. 17-18.