It’s World Series time, and this year the participants are the Texas Rangers and our local team, the San Francisco Giants. And the good news is this: the Giants have fielded what is unquestionably the most likeable team in baseball—a far cry from Barry Bonds sulking, dodging steroid accusations and fighting with Jeff Kent, A.J. Pierzynski kneeing trainer Stan Conti in the groin or the generally old and grizzled atmosphere that had dominated the culture until recently.
And because it’s never too late to get into the swing of things, here’s an introduction to the 25 guys that have carried the Giants to the World Series.
Catcher, Buster “Everything That’s Right With America” Posey
Gerald Demps Posey III, also known as Buster is a 23-year-old who looks sixteen, and is the frontrunner for the National League Rookie of the Year.
Fun fact: Buster Posey is the most American person ever. He plays catcher. He says “Oh gosh” in interviews. After the Giants won their first playoff game, a local reporter asked, “Is there a merit badge for winning a postseason game? Because I think that’s the only one Buster needed to fill out his Boy Scout sash.” Obviously he is married to his high school sweetheart. Rumor has it he’s only drank alcohol three times, and it was by accident during the Giants’ postgame champagne celebrations this year.
First Base, Aubrey Huff “Daddy”
Aubrey Huff was arguably the worst player in all of baseball in 2009, registering a -14 VORP (value over replacement player), which basically means that if you called up some generic minor leaguer, your team would score 14 more runs than it did with Aubrey Huff. But this year, he has been great, leading the Giants in home runs, filling in ably defensively at first base (what an UZR!) and at other times in the outfield. Huff is making his first playoff appearance in a ten-year career spent with the likes of the Devil Rays and Orioles.
Fun fact: Huff is personally responsible for popularizing the “rally thong” and fulfilling the thong prophecy. So there’s that.
Second Base, Freddy Sanchez (the one who plays second base)
Fun fact: Sanchez was once voted one of Pittsburgh’s most beautiful people and is making his first postseason appearance.
Third Base, Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval
Along with Juan Uribe, the Giants field what is likely the fattest left side of an infield in major league history. Sandoval, who is generously listed at 5’11” 231 pounds in some places, hit .330 as a rookie before dropping his average to .268 this year and struggling to the point where he is no longer an everyday starter, though he had a few big hits in the NLCS, particularly a 2-run double (which came right after he hit what should have been a 2-run double) in game 4.
Fun fact: Sandoval is responsible for the many panda hats that you will see around the ballpark.
Shortstop, Juan Uribe
Those aren’t boos, they are Uuuuu’s. Possibly the most exciting hitter on the team, Uribe comes up and tries to hit bombs every time, no matter what. And when he does: Jazz Hands. Uribe hit the decisive homerun to clinch the series in game six, and called his shot, saying, “POWW!”
Fun fact: After winning game 4 of the NLCS, Uribe declared, “I go home now, be with my family. And be a lot of happy.”
Leftfield, Pat “The Bat” Burrell
The Bat is a Bay Area native who signed year with the Rays who promptly cut him, at which point his hometown Giants picked him up and installed him as their regular leftfielder. He also has a reputation for taking care of business.
Fun fact: Burrell used to square off against Tom Brady in football and baseball, and was college teammates with Aubrey Huff at The U where Huff’s mom saw him naked once.
Centerfield, Andres Torres
Torres is the winner of the Willie Mac Award for the team’s most inspirational player who at age 32 has moved from being a career minor leaguer to the Giants’ leadoff hitter, and finished 11th in the league in doubles.
Fun fact: Torres spent a dozen seasons in the minor leagues, and in part has credited his turnaround to his decision to start treating his ADHD.
Rightfield, Cody “The Boss” Ross
The NLCS MVP who belted three remarkably similar-looking home runs in the first two games and had a big hit in pretty much every game, Ross was picked up only because they wanted to keep the rival Padres from getting him—the Giants preferred Jose Guillen (whereabouts currently unknown), whose poor performance and neck pain kept him off the postseason roster. A young Cody Ross dreamed of becoming a rodeo clown.
Fun fact: Haddaway’s “What is Love” plays whenever Ross comes to the plate in a home game.
Starting Pitcher, Tim “The Freak” Lincecum
Slight of build (5’10” 165 lbs.), Lincecum is freakish in his ability to get the most out of his body. Timmy is the winner of two Cy Young Awards (given to the best pitcher in the league) in his first two seasons. Timmy also has shown a propensity for dropping F-bombs on live TV, which has been honored in t-shirt form and with a song.
This offseason, Timmy was cited for marijuana possession in Washington, of course leading to a smattering of t-shirts honoring the occasion. Lincecum went through a rough patch in September, going 0-5 with a 7.82 ERA, had this to say about how he rebounded for a successful September, “I went through more of a hectic period in my career. Obviously that rough month made me want to turn things around, just do something different. Just changing my between-starts routine, going a little bit harder and doing a little bit more conditioning.” And anytime you can root for a team whose ace maybe turned his season around by giving up weed, that’s a good thing, right?
Fun fact: Lincecum has a pet bulldog named Cy.
Starting Pitcher, Matt “Big Daddy” Cain
Coming into last season, Cain, the longest-tenured Giant at age 26, consistently had posted a low ERA and a puzzlingly bad win-loss record, leading people to scratch their heads and try to investigate why that would be the case (answer: anomalously poor run support and lots of failures from the bullpen). But these past two years, Cain has been effective in every possible way and emerged as a solid No. 2 starter.
Fun fact: this hair.
Starting Pitcher, Jonathan Sanchez (the one who pitches)
Sanchez had the lowest batting average against and fewest hits per nine innings of any pitcher in baseball this year, which he combined with the highest walks per nine innings of any pitcher. So, it’s kind of a mixed bag with him, but he can be excellent at times, most notably when he threw a no-hitter in 2009 in the first game his father had ever seen him start at the major league level.
Fun fact: Sanchez attended a school called Ohio Dominican, and according to ESPN, his middle name is the letter O.
Starting Pitcher, Madison Bumgarner
Taking the place of the ineffective Barry “The $126 Million Man” Zito in the playoff rotation, MadBum is a 21-year-old rookie, and sometimes wears matching Waffle House hats with reliever Jeremy Affeldt.
Fun fact: In a bizarre North Carolina mating ritual, Bumgarner gave his wife a bull calf as a wedding present.
Closer, Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson has so much personality that his dyed-black beard has its own twitter. Wilson, the league-leader in saves has been known to bring out The Machine (in reference to that Nicolas Cage classic film, 8mm) and field phone calls on his brick of a cell phone during interviews. His interactions with the media have been so bizarre that the USA Today felt obligated to give its profile of him the headline, “Giants’ closer Brian Wilson not as crazy as he looks, acts.”
Fun fact: In that USA Today profile we learned Wilson has a baseball from every time he’s warmed up this year and that he determines which is which by smell, he once left a truck on the side of the road because he was done with it, he reconnected with Christianity in his minor league career and Barry Zito recalled the time he challenged Wilson in trivia this way: “”I played him once. That was enough. I never want to go through that again.”
Relief pitcher, Jeremy Affeldt
Fun fact: sometimes wears a hat that says “Douchefeldt.”
Relief pitcher, Sergio Romo
Fun fact: sometimes wears a shirt that says “Made in the USA with Mexican Parts.”
Relief pitcher, Santiago Casilla
Fun fact: went by the name Jairo Garcia until he revealed that he had forged documents to appear to be younger than he actually was.
Relief pitcher, Ramon Ramirez
Fun fact: once played for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan.
Relief pitcher, Javier Lopez
Fun fact: after failing at throwing the ball like a normal person, Lopez adopted a low sidearm style that has allowed him to be very effective against left-handed hitters (not that fun of a fact, but that’s all there is here).
Catcher, Eli Whiteside
Fun fact: Has a son named Whittington and has completely gray hair.
Infielder, Edgar Renteria
Fun fact: Has already been the last hitter in two World Series, once getting out, and once getting a series clinching hit.
Infielder, Mike Fontenot
Fun fact: His facial hair won him the nickname “Wolverine.”
First Base, Travis Ishikawa
Fun fact: Here’s the first two sentences of the Personal Life section of his Wikipedia page: “Ishikawa met his wife, Rochelle, a dental assistant, when he was hit by a pitch in the face in his first game with the San Jose Giants. She also introduced him to Christianity, which he believes helped him out of his slump in 2006–07.”
Outfielder, Aaron Rowand
Fun fact: looks like Johnny Drama, earns $12 million per year to be the fifth outfielder.
Outfielder, Nate Schierholtz
Fun fact: he is hated in China for deliberately running over their catcher in an Olympic game with seven hit batsmen.