In 2012 it was proven yet again-- World Championships are won not by the team with the most talented roster and the biggest contracts, but by the team that values friendship over all else.
"They may have had Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, and Justin Verlander," began Angel Pagan, one of the many fun-loving batsmen from the Giants' 2012 World Series squad, "but we had something far greater than talent. We had each other."
One look at recent history and it is apparent that the friendship factor is by far the strongest indicator of success in October. The San Francisco Giants of 2010 and 2012, along with the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals vanquished their unsavory American League counterpart with feel-good stories like David Freese and lovable characters like Pablo Sandoval. Even the 2009 Yankees spent the entire season throwing shaving cream pies in each other's faces, taking turns hugging Melky Cabrera, and running from Nick Swisher's wet towel in the locker room. And where did the Tigers go wrong last season? They didn't nickname Prince Fielder "the Kung Fu Panda."
"While they were off pleading 'no contest' to DUI charges and estranging themselves from their fathers, we were in the clubhouse playing Yahtzee and helping Brian Wilson shop for denim jean pants on the Internet," said the Giants' catcher known affectionately as "Buster."
Slowly but surely, the rest of the Majors is beginning to take notice. While the Los Angeles Angels of The Disney Channel of Anaheim stockpile freakish amounts of talent, the Rays are on a teamwide-fishing trip, the Red Sox are in group therapy, and even though the Oakland A's are still stuck in a ropes course somewhere in Northern California, you can be sure that they will be ready for their usual late-season push.
"That's the key," said Buster, while threading together a commemorative 2012 friendship bracelet, "it was never about the final score, it was about the journey.