Saturday, October 23, 2010
Giants' Cody Ross named NLCS MVP
PHILADELPHIA -- Cody Ross joked it was easy for San Francisco Giants fans to chant "Cody! Cody!" during his stellar postseason because his name was only two syllables.
After the National League championship series, they can shout three letters.
Ross went from baseball's scrap heap to the top of the heap, landing there as one of the Giants' most unlikely postseason stars. He was Cody in the Clutch in the NLCS and was selected MVP after the Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 Saturday night to advance to their first World Series since 2002.
Acquired Aug. 22 from the Marlins on a waiver claim, Ross was unsure of his role in a crowded outfield rotation. He found his way into the lineup, hit .350 with six extra-base hits and will take his spot in right field for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night in San Francisco.
"I could never imagine being in a situation like this," Ross said. "I'm just going to cherish it. This is a special time for me."
Ross was a surprising power source for the Giants, hitting their first three home runs in the series. He went deep twice off Phillies ace Roy Halladay in Game 1 and added a solo shot off Roy Oswalt in Game 2. He hit an RBI single in Game 3 to break a scoreless tie.
In the series clincher, he doubled off Oswalt to extend a sizzling extra-base hit stretch.
"I felt like a 10-year-old kid," Ross said. "I was screaming, running and jumping as high as I could."
Ross once dreamed of a dangerous career as a rodeo clown, the person who lures the bulls away from fallen riders to protect them from the bucking animals. Ross said he might one day get in the rodeo business and buy some bulls of his own.
He's got to help rope in the Texas Rangers if he wants to lead the Giants to their first World Series title since 1954, when they were the New York Giants.
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"Nobody gave us a shot except ourselves and our fans," Ross said.
Unwanted by the Marlins, Ross hit three homers in 33 games with the Giants. Giants manager Bruce Bochy named him the starting right fielder in the NL division series anyway against Atlanta in place of the injured Jose Guillen.
He started strong in the NL division series against Atlanta, going 4 for 14 with a homer and three RBIs in the four games against the Braves.
Ross kept it going in the NLCS. He was steady at the plate against Philadelphia's Big 3 of Halladay-Oswalt-Cole Hamels and leads all players in this year's postseason with five go-ahead RBIs. His six extra-base hits (three home runs, three doubles) put him second in NLCS history behind Atlanta's Javier Lopez, who had seven in 1996. San Francisco's Will Clark in 1989 and Los Angeles' Steve Garvey in 1978 also had six.
He also had the highest slugging percentage (.950) in a six-game series in NLCS history.
"I can't thank the Giants enough for bringing me over and giving me a chance to be a part of this," Ross said.
Without him, the Giants might have faced a Game 7. After Ross hit three homers in the first two games in Philadelphia to almost the same spot in the left-field seats, Oswalt quipped: "Don't throw it down and in."
It's Texas' turn to listen to that advice.