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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Time is right for San Francisco
The Giants can call on much more than just the power of Barry Bonds, reports BBC Sport Online's Kevin Asseo.

"The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"

The most famous phrase in baseball history holds true again, for just the second time in the last 40 years.

The San Francisco Giants are in the World Series, seeking their first championship since moving west from New York City in 1958.

Jeff Kent, second baseman for the Giants
Kent has been his reliable self for the Giants

They were not the best team in the National League for all of 2002, but they certainly were when it mattered the most.

The Giants caught fire in late August and came into the post-season with confidence and momentum on their side.

They came back from a two-games-to-one deficit to defeat the favoured Atlanta Braves in the first round, before quickly dispatching the St Louis Cardinals.

If the people of San Francisco have been waiting a long time for a World Series title, Barry Bonds knows how they feel.

Bonds, one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, is making his first trip to the Series in 17 Major League seasons.

Disappointed in the play-offs many times before, Bonds has exorcised his post-season demons with superb performances against Atlanta and St Louis.

Benito Santiago
Santiago is back to his best

His worth to the Giants is immeasurable.

But it has been the productivity of the players surrounding him that transformed San Francisco from a one-man show to a World Series contender.

Jeff Kent has been his usual dependable self while batting .313 and driving in 108 runs and Rich Aurilia - while not displaying the All-Star form he has shown in the past - has been steady at shortstop.

The Giants have also received offensive contributions from an unlikely trio of veteran players.

Benito Santiago, the 37-year-old catcher whose career looked finished four years ago, had one of his best seasons, culminating with his winning the NL Championship Series MVP trophy.

Third baseman David Bell, who came to San Francisco with little expected of him, went on to play in more games than any other Giant, finishing fourth in home runs and fifth in RBIs on the team.

Jason Schmidt
Schmidt: Pitching well

And Kenny Lofton, acquired in a mid-season trade to fill the gaping hole in center-field, has become a terrific lead-off hitter, providing a big spark in the post-season.

The Giants' pitching staff was supposed to be a weakness going into the post-season, and compared to the celebrated pitchers in Atlanta and Arizona, it is easy to see why.

Starters Kirk Rueter, Russ Ortiz, Jason Schmidt and Livan Hernandez were average in the regular season but must have been saving their best for last.

They have been brilliant in the play-offs and should give the Angels' hitters plenty of trouble.

Long wait

In the Series' first game, San Francisco manager Dusty Baker has chosen to start Jason Schmidt, who pitched his best game of the season against the Cardinals in the NLCS.

Baker's Giants and the people of San Francisco have waited a long time for the chance to bring a championship to "City by the Bay".

For this team and this city, the time may be now.

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BBC Sport's Pam Poole
"This won't be a contest for the purist"
All the news ahead of the 2002 baseball World Series

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