The San Francisco Giants won the World Series on Sunday, sweeping the Detroit Tigers in four games. And, when the team stormed the field at Comerica Park, it was into the arms of former Brawley Wildcat Sergio Romo that they rushed. For the third time in the series, and the fourth time in the postseason, Romo had saved a win for the Giants. This time, it was on the biggest stage, and in the biggest game a baseball player can find himself in; and he had prospered.
When the Giants lost closer Brian Wilson at the beginning of the season, it seemed as if the team would have a giant hole in the most important part of their bullpen, but for the most part that was not the case. Santiago Casilla filled in admirably for the Giants for a good portion of the season in the closer role, and the team also got some big outs out of Javy Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt, but Romo slowly began to take control of the position as the season drew to its end. He ended up saving 14 games for San Francisco prior to his run in the playoffs, and in the process he made much of the baseball world sit up and take notice that he was capable of more than recording outs in the seventh or eighth innings.
His roll continued into the playoffs. He picked up the first win for the Giants in their series against Cincinnati, helping them dig out of a 2 games to none hole in the process. He was on the mound again in the deciding Game 5. He had a hiccup in that game, giving up a run, but still managed to record the final out, propelling the team into their series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Interestingly, Romo did not have save against St. Louis. The Giants earned each of their four wins, with a margin-of-victory bigger than the three runs required for a closer to get a save, but that did not mean he didn’t contribute to his team’s success. He threw three and 1/3 innings, striking out three men in the process, and was on the mound again to record the final out in the series. Not too bad for a guy who was considered a complimentary piece to Wilson when the year started.
There’s a lot more to Romo’s story, of course, than just this World Series. From the baseball field at Brawley High to college fields in Arizona, Alabama, and Colorado; then on to the minor leagues where he toiled for three years before finally getting his break in 2008, Romo continued to work hard. It all paid off Sunday night when he won his second World Series title in the past three years. His hard work paying off, just as hard work usually does – and if you think that’s cliché or that maybe I’m wrong, that’s fine, you don’t have to believe me. Just ask the local kid, the one with two World Series rings.