SAN FRANCISCO — Hosting his third World Series since 2002 in one of baseball's most picturesque ballparks, CEO Larry Baer has lots of mementoes of the success the Giants have enjoyed.
And he has one large reminder on his office wall of how close none of it came to happening: The San Francisco Examiner front page — headlined "Bye Bye, Baby" — announcing the 1992 deal to sell the team to Vince Naimoli's group and move it to St. Petersburg. "That was our 'Dewey beats Truman' moment," Baer said. "I gain inspiration from that in the form of 'hey, anything is possible.' ''
Though the group that eventually bought the team and saved it for San Francisco has been in place for 20 years, Baer said the 20-year anniversary has made the issue topical again.
"There's been a fair amount of flashing back," Baer said. "This was an amazingly tough task to step in and turn this thing around. A lot of people said, 'You'll buy the team, but you're going to give up like the last owner gave up' and that the Giants will be somewhere else, maybe back to Tampa."
Instead, with committed local investors, tremendous fan support and success on the field, the Giants have turned into one of the game's biggest success stories.
"What we were fortunate to have happen was just a confluence of events," Baer said.
HEY, KID: Tigers OF Avisail Garcia started his season with Class A Lakeland (going 3-for-5 vs. Tampa in the opener), and he's finishing it in the World Series.
The 21-year-old's impressive rise — a product of his success and the Tigers' needs — got even better with Wednesday's start, an extra right-handed bat to face Giants LHP Barry Zito.
"It's crazy," Garcia said. "I never imagined this."
PITCHING IN: Tigers RHP Doug Fister shared a little secret going into tonight's Game 2 start. "Growing up — don't tell anybody — I was a Giants fan," the Merced, Calif., native said. "Being able to come to a couple games when I was little, it's always been a dream and a goal for me, and now it's happening." … Giants Game 2 starter Madison Bumgarner said his mechanical flaws are fixed.
POMP: Giants Hall of Famers Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry gathered on the field for the first pitch. … American Idol winner Phillip Phillips performed the anthem. … Actor Kevin Pollak, a San Francisco native, was on the field pregame in a Giants jersey. … In the crowd: QB great Joe Montana and rapper M.C. Hammer.
MISCELLANY: Both teams kept their rosters the same from the league championship series rounds. … The Giants played in their 105th Series game, third most behind the Yankees and Cardinals. … Prince and Cecil Fielder are the 22nd father-son combo to appear in the Series.