Is it too early to use the “D-word”?
A Giants dynasty?
Three World Series in five years — with at least two championships — puts a team firmly in the conversation.
But as you can imagine — on the eve of a World Series meeting with the Kansas City Royals — the Giants are shying away from that kind of highfalutin talk.
“I don’t think about that,” Bruce Bochy said. “There’s another series ahead of us. I think it’s too soon.”
“Uh, I would prefer to see what happens after this series,” said Jeremy Affeldt, a stalwart on all three postseason teams (and possibly the best postseason relief pitcher in Giants history, given the significance of the outs he’s nailed down in October).
Buster Posey, asked about the D-word, said, “I don’t think it’s really fair for me to say.”
But if the Giants beat Kansas City, then the dynast question is answered with an emphatic yes. Three championships in a short amount of time would qualify in almost anyone’s eyes.
The last true dynasty in baseball was the New York Yankees, who won four World Series and appeared in five between 1996 and 2001. The most dynastic team prior to that? The Oakland A’s with their three straight championships in 1972, 1973 and 1974. The late ’80s-early ’90s A’s don’t count because, though they made it to three consecutive World Series, they only won one.
Many baseball observers thought the days of dynasties would be over by now. Factors working against year-in, year-out success are the wild card, free agency and the difficulty of constantly restocking the prospect pipeline.
But the Giants are turning that theory on its head. They’re creating a different kind of dynasty, not like the Yankees or the A’s where the lineups were predictably the same over the championship years. Call the Giants a Jenga Dynasty, where key pieces are removed and yet the structure doesn’t crumble.
On Saturday morning, MLB Network was showing the Giants’ 2010 and 2012 postseason runs. It was fascinating to watch. There was footage of some guy I had trouble instantly identifying. Oh, hello, Edgar Renteria, only the MVP of the 2010 World Series.
Who’s that guy hitting a home run against Cincinnati in 2012? Who was the MVP of the ’12 N.L. Championship Series? The now absent Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro.
In the Giants three postseason runs there has been a different second baseman, a different left fielder and a different center fielder for each one. Two different first basemen, two different shortstops, two different third basemen and two different right fielders. Three different closers.
Three different starting rotations, with only Madison Bumgarner the common denominator in each October run.
The only starting position player to be in all three postseason runs is cornerstone Buster Posey, behind the plate for every game, except two in 2012, when he played first base and Hector Sanchez caught.
So many changes, yet there are common threads running through all three postseason runs.
Obviously, the main source of continuity is Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff, who instill the winning attitude and focus in their teams.
“This team is similar to those teams,” general manager Brian Sabean said. “They love to compete. They concentrate so hard and that puts them in a position to win.”
That’s why the “torture” theme has been consistent as well: the Giants play tight, taut games and frequently win when the other team makes a mistake. Bochy’s unmatched skill at managing postseason games pushes the opposition to the breaking point, time and again.
Sabean says other things are consistent.
“The ballpark, starting in ’10, has been sold out,” he said. “Playing in front of a full house is a tough thing to stand up to. You have to represent yourself and your team every night.”
Also, a tip of the black and orange cap to the Dodgers.
“Before we ever play a playoff game, we play the Dodgers 19 times, and — home or road — those games are like playoff games,” Sabean said. “Our guys have developed the poise to compete at a high-level under pressure.”
In 2010, there was little World Series experience in the Giants clubhouse: Pat Burrell had won with Philadelphia and Javier Lopez had won in Boston.
But now there’s a wealth of experience. There’s a legacy of winning.
“It rubs off from every guy who was in uniform before,” Sabean said. “It gets passed down.”
And now the Giants are in another World Series. On the verge of the D-word.
“You look at what we’ve done, it’s special and impressive,” said Sergio Romo. “Some guys spend their whole career not even making it to the playoffs and here we are dancing again.
“Dynasty? I leave that up to others to decide. It’s just fun to be a part of this cool ride.”
Ann Killion is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. To reach her, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.