We had Freddie Sanchez, who had never even sniffed the playoffs. The guy lost one hundred games almost every year of his career in Pittsburgh. We had Cody Ross, whose team just let him go and we got him off waivers for basically nothing. We had Pat Burrell, who had won the World Series before and his team basically just gave up on him. We had Aubrey Huff, who played ten years of his career with teams that never even had a winning record. We had so many guys like that.
We also had guys like Juan Uribe and Edgar Rentería, and Javier López and myself, and Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell, that had been to a World Series, and/or had won a World Series.
I think we won because we genuinely wanted to win for each other. I really truly feel that every one of us wanted to win for the other guy. That’s what made us — the misfits — into a family. For me, it was a “love your neighbor as yourself” scenario.
I remember one time during the division series, I looked at Aubrey Huff, and I said, “Man, I hope we win today, because I want this guy to win a playoff game.”
And then we were in the NLCS, and we were like, “I want to win this National League Championship game, because I want Aubrey Huff, Freddie Sanchez, and Cody Ross to feel what it’s like to be in the World Series.”
Then we were in the World Series. And we wanted to win for Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, who had never been in a situation like that. They’re young kids, phenoms. They’ve just come up, and they’re in a World Series. That’s why we wanted to win, so they could experience this. We didn’t want them to have to wait ten years, or spend their careers like Ken Griffey, Jr. who never played in a World Series in twenty-one years. We were too close to getting there.
And guys were sacrificing their playing time. Cody Ross, an everyday center fielder, didn’t get to play every day at first. Mike Fontenot came over from the Cubs and basically took on the role of a guy coming in every now and then. But then Freddie Sanchez wasn’t feeling very good so Fontenot played a lot at second. And when Freddie felt better, Edgar Rentería was hurt, so Fontenot had to play third while Uribe was at short. And when Rentería was feeling better, Uribe went to third and Rentería went to short. Guys were moving around and literally saying, “We don’t care. At this point in time, it’s all about winning a World Series for each other, whatever we’ve got to do.”
And you know, there was probably some frustration. Selfishly for me there was frustration. But I prayed against it a lot, and I recognized why I was there. I wanted to win the World Series. I’ve been to one and lost, and I was like, “Man, that could be my only chance and I lost! And now I get to go again, and I want to win!” But it was so much more than that. Truly, our team’s literal feeling was, “I want to win, because I want these guys to feel what it’s like to win a World Series.”
So everyone was unselfish. It was amazing! Edgar Rentería has played fourteen years in the big leagues, and for awhile there, he wasn’t even playing. And he never said anything. He led when he had to lead, he was ready to play, and he never complained. And now look at him. World Series MVP! Are you kidding me? That’s unbelievable! It’s so inspiring.
This is truly why people saw that we were a family.
Did God play a role in helping us win? My answer might surprise you! See you Friday.