SAN FRANCISCO -- The dugout was full and energetic on Sunday afternoon as members of the 1989 Giants team got ready to file onto the field. A night earlier, they had gathered for a banquet that served as a joyous reunion for many.
There was just one thing missing. As some of that team's stars watched the current Giants warm up Sunday, they thought about how close they came to winning the title the franchise would wait 21 more years for.
"It was exciting watching (the 2010 team) but sad because I didn't get a ring," said Kevin Mitchell, the NL MVP in 1989. "Everything went right that year for me as far as winning MVP and the way I played, but that was the only thing that made it sour. It was like eating a lemon head. But it happens. They went on and did bigger and better things for the Giants organization."
The Giants won 92 games that year and rolled through the NLCS against the Cubs. But the World Series was a sweep for the rival A's, with the series famously getting interrupted by an earthquake. The Giants would finish third in the NL West the next year.
"You don't get to go to the dance too often," shortstop Chris Speier said. "For it to be the way it was, we left a lot of talent that didn't show up during that series. The Oakland team was a really, really good team, a really good team. But I don't think we put our best foot forward. There's a little bit of regret there, but I'm completely excited about the championships that the Giants did win."
A theme during the gathering was that many of the former players were particularly thrilled for Bruce Bochy, who finished his playing career two years before the Bay Bridge Series and played against some of the men who showed up Sunday. Bochy spent part of his time before the game greeting them and trading stories.
There was one player there who Bochy still sees plenty of, though. Will Clark is a special advisor for the organization and a regular around the ballpark. Asked what stood out as he watched the 2010, 2012 and 2014 teams, Clark pointed out that the Giants lost 100 games in 1985 but made the postseason two years later and the World Series two years after that. That team didn't win it all, but there's a lot of pride about what was accomplished.
"The organization had turned completely around," Clark said. "We set the standard for what winning is."