SAN FRANCISCO -- One of Larry Baer's first baseball memories is listening to the Tigers and Cardinals in the 1968 World Series, a transistor radio hooked up to broadcast out to the schoolyard, so it's with special reverence that he and the Giants welcome the Tigers to town for the 2012 World Series.
As the Giants' president and CEO stood on the field at AT&T Park before Wednesday's Game 1, he recognized the Tigers as a franchise with layers of history behind this trip to the Fall Classic -- along with the Giants, and for that matter the other LCS competitors, the Cardinals and Yankees.
"To me, the Tigers are the World Series, and day baseball, that's how I think of them," Baer said. "I think it's kind of cool that the four final teams were four of the most venerable teams in the sport. What goes with that is brands and generational following."
A fourth-generation San Franciscan, Baer has enjoyed the wild ride this Giants team has taken on the way to the franchise's second World Series appearance in three years and fifth since moving to San Francisco in 1958.
What wasn't looking so likely earlier in the season and was less than certain in each of the first two playoff series has become reality: The Giants are back in the game's greatest showcase.
"We were a low-probability team, perhaps, because we had a lot people that were counted on that didn't play this year and we'd gotten behind early and the Dodgers spending a lot of money and all that," Baer said. "But I think one reason this team has been so attractive to our fans is that there's this hunger. ... You can knock them down, but you can't beat them."