Here is my Saturday column.
Credit the Giants for winning their third World Series in five seasons. Good going, Giants.
Just don’t call them a dynasty.
The Yankees were a dynasty. They won four World Series in five years with the same group of core players: Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neil, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. We will remember that group the rest of our lives.
How are we supposed to remember these Giants? All three of their World Series teams were vastly different.
The ace went from Tim Lincecum in ’10 to Matt Cain in ’12 to Madison Bumgarner in ’14.
The closer went from Brian Wilson to Sergio Romo to Santiago Casilla.
The center fielder went from Andres Torres to Angel Pagan to Gregor Blanco.
The second baseman went from Freddy Sanchez to Marco Scutaro to Joe Panik.
Only two starters – Bumgarner and Buster Posey – were major contributors for all three World Series teams. Not enough.
Call what I just gave you the anti-dynasty argument. It’s been floating around lately. It’s trumped up and it doesn’t hold water. If it held water, Bill Walsh’s 49ers wouldn’t have been a dynasty, either.
Everyone calls Walsh’s 49ers a dynasty. No one ever disputes that. I’m asserting — shouting — that Bruce Bochy’s Giants are no less a dynasty than Walsh’s Niners.
Walsh and Bochy each won three championships. Walsh won three in an eight-year span — the seasons of ’81, ’84 and ’88 (I know the Niners won two more Super Bowls under George Seifert). Bochy won three championships in a five-year span. For the sake of comparison, let’s focus on Walsh’s three championships and Bochy’s three championships.
The Giants and 49ers won championships in exactly the same way, remaking themselves on the run season after each season. This what the Niners did — totally Giant-like.
Only four players started in all three of Walsh’s Super Bowls — Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Randy Cross and Keena Turner.
The 49ers’ key receiver went from Dwight Clark to Jerry Rice. The key running back went from no one to Wendell Tyler to Roger Craig. The key tight end went from Charle Young to Earl Cooper and Russ Francis, and then to Ron Heller and Brent Jones.
Who says a dynasty has to be the same big group of players? Look up the definition of the word. A dynasty is “a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics or another field.”
A succession of people. Not the same people. King Louis I wasn’t a dynasty. There had to be more than one Louie. You need lots of Louies for a dynasty.
It does not take skill to keep a group of great players on one team for five years to 10 years. It takes wealth. We’re talking Yankees. They could afford to keep their best players every year. Most teams can’t.
The Giants may not be able re-sign Pablo Sandoval this offseason. Teams much richer than the Giants, like the Red Sox and Dodgers, need third basemen and may want to sign the Kung Fu Panda. Whatever the Giants offer him, those two teams can blow the offer out of the water.
If the Giants lose Sandoval in free agency and miss the playoffs next season, would they be any less of a dynasty?
Sandoval did not contribute in the first World Series. He had zero hits in three plate appearances against the Rangers in 2010. The Giants have won without him before and can win without him again. No team replaces key players as well at the Giants. This is their brilliance. This is how they built their dynasty in the first place. If the Giants miss the playoffs next season, they could be in position to win the World Series the very next season after. That’s the precedent.
But what if, for some reason, the Giants fail to replace Sandoval? What if Bruce Bochy never wins another World Series? Then would the Giants be any less of a dynasty?
Nothing can take away from what the Giants just accomplished — three championships in five seasons. As great as the 49ers were when San Francisco was the center of the football world, they never won three championships in five seasons.
San Francisco is the center of the baseball world now.
Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.