I was in the house Friday for the flag-raising ceremony and the ballgame. All that, and the best moment actually might have been the long standing ovation for Bengie Molina, now a St. Louis coach (no, not the conditioning coach). The applause went on so long, MC Jon Miller, making pregame introductions, paused and let the cheers ring.
The day went on, the festivities stretched on. But something about it felt low-key. For one, no military fly-over, as many noted on the Twitter (with a suggestion that the sequester had its silver linings); and far more notable, no Train. No Train, no pain, I say.
The Giants chose a subset of the team, perhaps at random, I'm not sure, to take the championship banner relay the final steps, up through the bleachers, and to the flagpole. Pence, Lincecum, Cain, Pagan, Romo... what was the rhyme or reason? I'm not complaining, I'm just curious. Doing the team thing -- bringing the flag to the park by sea, on a fire department tugboat, then letting a small group of, um, veteran fans hoist it into the premises -- also made the 2011 decision to let Brian Wilson do the flag-raising solo look a little weird. Why did he get all the fun?
Still, the all-in-this-together motif of the ceremony could have used a wee bit more spice, or perhaps gravitas. I liked Andy Baggarly's pre-game speculation -- ultimately unfounded -- that this time the honor should have gone to Willie McCovey, Willie Mays, or Mike Murphy.
Again, I'm not complaining. I'm just noting that the day's ceremony seemed a bit more... thrown together. The fire department. Old people with Tim Lincecum "Freak 55" jerseys. The traveling cast of Jersey Boys singing the national anthem. Wait. What? I don't expect Tony Bennett to glide out of the shadows at every momentous Giant occasion, but wasn't there someone with a bit more local connection available? Then again, be careful what you ask for, because a few straggling leftovers from the Jefferson Starship ended up singing -- or is it "singing"? -- God Bless America and Take Me Out To the Ballgame later in the day.
There was a bit of loose-limbed community theater to the festivities, and I was half expecting Corky St. Clair from "Waiting for Guffman" to come out and lead an 8th inning sing-along of YMCA. Or, from another angle, it was a glorified gathering in the park with a bunch of friends... hey, wait a second, maybe that was the point.
I love World Series championships, but I really really never need to hear "We Are The Champions" again. Ever. Shoot it into outer space, where no one can hear you scream classic rock anthems, along with "Stairway to Heaven," "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Freebird." We can keep "Lights." We can also keep the two random guys who played drums on the field, first providing the drum roll (please!) as the flag approached on the fire boat, then adding a little extra oomph whenever they saw fit to the recorded music blasting on the PA. I liked those guys.
It was quirky, it was a bit aw-shucks, kind of like a certain first baseman. Then a flag went up and rolled and snapped in the breeze. It glowed even more orange because the sun came out and stayed out most of the day. And then there was baseball, which was basically Barry Zito pitching and Pablo Sandoval sprawling, catching and throwing. That was the game today, and it was over in a few blinks.