Experience

I am going to make this one a quickie: lots of analysts have pointed to the Giants’ “experience’ to explain their World Series triumph.

As a general rule, discussions of experience in sports are little more than exercises in tail-chasing. Experience matters when it matters, and doesn’t when it doesn’t. The Yankees lost the 2001 and 2003 World Series to less experienced teams for a pretty simple reason – they ran into some dominant starting pitching. I think it’s fair to say that Russell Wilson had less experience heading into last year’s Super Bowl than did Peyton Manning. Other recent Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, including Eli in 2007, Brees in 2009, Rodgers in 2010 and Flacco in 2012 faced off against teams/and or quarterbacks who’d logged more miles in the playoffs than they had. Similar stories could be told in every sport.

This year, a young team few of whose players had previously appeared in the postseason played a team that had won two of the previous four World Series titles, breaking a recent tendency in which teams with similar postseason mileage had played one another.

To say that the Giants won this year because of that recent success is, I am sorry to say, just silly. They won a seventh and deciding game by one run. Overall, they outscored the Royals 30-27. The two teams played 63 innings across the seven games. In the 21 innings in which Bumgarner pitched, the Giants outscored the Royals 12-1. In the other 42 innings, the Royals outscored the Giants 26-18. Bumgarner pitched in three games. The Giants were 3-0 in those contests. In the four games in which he did not appear, the experienced Giants went 1-3 against the inexperienced Royals. Each team won one close game – 3-2 in both cases.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. There is a very simple explanation for why the Giants won this year. It’s not veteran savvy, or “knowing how to win” or any of that nonsense. They had Madison Bumgarner. The other guys didn’t.

Harrumph.

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