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Thanks, Dwight Gooden, we finally won the big one

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POSTED November 4, 2010 2:50 a.m.
I was likely the only person in Northern California who could not stop thinking about Dwight Eugene Gooden during the San Francisco Giants’ victory parade Wednesday in San Francisco. It was a young, gifted Gooden who escorted me towards my newfound greatest moment in sports.

I remember becoming fully committed to the Giants during the heart-breaking 1987 run to the World Series, which ended with Jeffery Leonard’s MVP league championship series. The previous year my New York Mets had won the Fall Classic, but not five months later Gooden was in rehab for cocaine abuse. Needless to say, the substance abuse pulled me out of my Mets loyalty, and by the time Gooden made his first start in June of ’87 I was a Giants fan.

Watching the parade (from home, because reality said the chances of getting to work post that parade would have been a no-go) forced feelings that have been submerged for years to resurface. Everything from throwing a 2-liter of Carlos Rossi on the field after a Shawon Dunston’s walk-off at Candlestick, to watching Pat Burrell’s 3-run jack flying over my head in Joe Torre’s final loss to the Giants a few days ago.

But why did it keep going back to Gooden?

The pain it etched on my baseball soul back when I was a Little Leaguer was horrific. What a blessing it was to have the Giants to turn to. I probably would have made my way out of the New York Mets phase after Strawberry’s coke-run, or Keith Hernandez’ WWF scene, but having the Giants 80-miles away made the escape possible.

The A’s were cool, but I thought that the Designated Hitter rule was a gimmick, and of course, my San Francisco 49ers allegiance played a part. Yet, it still took until November 2010 for it all to make sense. This is a team worth pulling for; the Giants are a club that made fans show up to the yard and do their part.

What Giants fans are getting to celebrate is only a surprise to the rest of baseball. Throughout the entire postseason Las Vegas would almost let you double your money if you thought the Giants could be MLB royalty.

After popping Doc Halladay and the potent Phillies’ lineup, Tim Lincecum had already outdueled Cliff Lee for a win, but he was the pitcher predicted to lose game five. Why? Who knows. Maybe he is just too little to respect as a two-time Cy Young Award winner and the best pitcher in baseball.

The pain one MLB pitcher brought me made way to the pleasure of pulling for another. Even with the exploits of Mr. Renteria, and the big-big postseason from Cody Ross, if Lince were named World Series MVP there would have been no argument.

Just like all the old-timers reminiscing about Willie Mays going from first-to-third, or how sad it was to watch the Giants leave New York, I couldn’t help but go back to the beginning. I was happy for Gooden when he tossed his walk-filled no-no for the Yankee’s, but today I understand the real reason why I’ll always love Doctor “K”.
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