Paul White, USA TODAY Sports
DETROIT - Two World Series championships in three years? That's unheard of.
Not since the Yankees rolled through three of three in 1998-2000 has anyone produced what qualifies as dominance these days.
These San Francisco Giants are relative newcomers to the revolving door of recent World Series winners but they certainly have a handle on how it's done these days.
Pitching and defense won this World Series, even more emphatically than in 2010, when the Giants were making their first postseason appearance since 2003.
St. Louis can make a case for more prolonged excellence in the past decade - and the Cardinals also have two trophies to show off.
But the Giants rule now. They have a ballpark they fill every night, a revenue stream that allows them to continue competing and - hey, how's this for a refreshing concept in the midst of all that business talk? - they've certainly embraced the team concept.
When they won two years ago, Tim Lincecum was a two-time Cy Young Award winner who had led the NL in strikeouts three consecutive seasons.
Now, though, he's had to reinvent himself on the fly as a postseason reliever just to contribute.
And he has - both reinvent and contribute.
The closest thing to a household name on the team now - especially with the eclectic and effective Brian Wilson on hiatus from closing thanks to surgery - is catcher Buster Posey.
Posey hasn't solidified superstar status yet and didn't have a particularly huge postseason. However, his grand slam triggered the Game 5 Division Series victory at Cincinnati and his two-run homer Sunday erased the only lead Detroit had in the entire World Series.
But the Giants' two championships came with Posey in the middle of the order and everything else. He received the NL Hank Aaron Award for his offensive prowess before Game 3 and he's a favorite to add the MVP next month.
And the missing year for the Giants in between? It was Posey's missing year, too. When he went down for the season May 25, San Francisco was leading the NL West. They finished eight games back.
This championship was won, among numerous other names and reasons:
- Because the "other guy" they picked up in a mid-season trade - we're talking Marco Scutaro and not Hunter Pence - was the NLCS MVP and drove in the World Series-winning run.
- Because shortstop Brandon Crawford handled just about anything hit in an area pretty much the size of McCovey Cove.
- Because a little guy named Sergio Romo took off his knit long enough on three of the four nights these Series games were played to do everything Wilson was able to do in ninth innings two years ago - and Romo even has a replica beard.
- Because Gregor Blanco became the regular left fielder in the wake of Melky Cabrera's substance-abuse suspension. Even general manager Brian Sabean admits he didn't know what he was getting with Blanco. A fourth outfielder maybe?
How about the guy with key hits in two of the three Giants' scoring innings over Games 2 and 3?
"He went off in spring training and distinguished himself early in the year," Sabean says. "He's a nice story, a nice young man."
And that's in direct contrast to the feeling around the team about Cabrera, who's been eligible to return since the NLCS, but who the Giants clearly stated they wanted no part of.
And finally, because manager Bruce Bochy had patience with Crawford and first baseman Brandon Belt and numerous others because he knew the Giants would need all of them to win, because he knew this fewest-homers-in-the-majors team could only win with outstanding pitching and defense.
It's a formula that works. Let's see for how long.