I like to keep notes when I watch the Giants. I’ll make a note here about something interesting, I’ll make a note there. It’s a good way for me to keep track of the game and to recap things that I’d like to talk about later. I’ve got a whole bunch of notes scrawled down from tonight’s game and I’m still not sure what to say.
The Giants won the World Series — and, really, what more is there to say? I should probably just hit “post” on this and walk away.
Because the Giants won the World Series.
Baseball’s a game that will continue to impress upon you its ability to make you A) nervous B) happy C) really nervous D) stupidly excited E) really, really sad at times, or E) all of the above. I, like many other fans tonight, ran the course of emotions, A through E. But maybe the best thing about baseball is the relationships that it helps grow. It’s a reason to talk to friends. It’s a reason to spend countless hours of your life blogging about a professional sports team that, in actuality, cares very little about you. It’s a reason to have your dad call you on the way to work in the morning, so that you can discuss what happened in last night’s game. It’s a reason that you can speak to strangers in strange acronyms — ERA, RBI, FIP, wOBA — that both of you can understand. It’s common ground.
And when everything goes right, what a splendid common ground it can be.
Baseball is a reason (fill in the blank) _____ and there you have it.
I’m not sure if I ever looked — at any time — at this year’s team and said to myself, “Yup. These guys are going all the way.” I didn’t do that because I’ve never done that, really. Even in 2010 — which most agree was pretty miraculous — I never really had the feeling of “This is happening. It’s just a matter of time.” And I never really had that feeling this year. Watching the final outs of tonight’s game, and pacing like a mad man, reminded me of that fact. Baseball is fickle. I understand this.
But what a year for Giants baseball. All teams that win battle adversity, but this year’s team had so many amazing storylines: Posey’s return to the team (and the MVP performance he gave), the injury to Brian Wilson, Melky’s rise and fall, Sandoval’s injury, Angel Pagan’s season, Marco Scutaro’s 2.5 months with the Giants … all of it was amazing.
My scribbled notes:
* Posey’s game-leading (at the time) two-run home run in the 6th inning off of Max Scherzer was perfect timing. Posey ends this World Series with a .267/.313/.467 batting line, and while that is a pretty decent line, Posey looked tired at times. He was getting jammed on a lot of pitches and he just didn’t look like the same player that we saw for most of the year. He’s 25 and he already has two rings. If you wanted to write a movie script for a player rising to success, you couldn’t do better than this.
* Ryan Theriot as your Designated Hitter in the World Series is really, really funny. And, of course, he scored the winning run. This is obviously how baseball rolls. You think you’ve got baseball all figured out and then, BAM, baseball shows you Ryan Theriot scoring the winning run in a World Series just because it can.
* Matt Cain, like Posey, looked tired at times. Cain’s arm has a lot of mileage on it and when I see an un-crisp Cain, I get a little worried. All night Cain had trouble locating his slider and breaking pitches. Yet, he still battled for seven innings, giving up just three earned runs. I didn’t care for Bochy running Cain back out for the 7th, but that seems utterly trivial right now.
* Belt had a very sound game. He made a great play on a bunt pop-up in the infield in the 5th off of Gerald Laird — who Tim McCarver assured me was very “fast” — and his RBI triple in the 2nd inning was absolutely smoked. Belt looks poised for a solid 2013.
* Jeremy Affeldt had 1.2 filthy innings of work — sitting down Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young in order in the 8th inning. After bitching about Affeldt’s contract in the earlier part of the year, I can safely say I was wrong. It’s a good reminder for myself and others that stability in your bullpen can sometimes be understated by certain folks — myself being included in that group. Great game — great year — from Affeldt.
Affeldt’s hook was doing this:
* Brandon Crawford’s defense was excellent. Watching Crawford turn into a viable major league shortstop this season was definitely one of the more fulfilling things about 2012.
* Scutaro’s RBI single in the 10th inning off a previously un-hittable Phil Coke was beautiful. Coke was throwing 95-97 all night with a very good breaking ball that the Giants’ hitters couldn’t touch. With Theriot on second base and two outs, Scutaro battled for five pitches against Coke. On the fifth pitch — a 93 mph fastball that was up — Scutaro squared the ball up enough to softly line it into CF. Scutaro was one of my keys heading into the Series and it’s fitting that he drove in the game-winning run.
* Sergio Romo. I’ve been a big fan of Romo for a long time now and I was really happy for him to get the final out the World Series. The stage for Romo was set with two outs and Miguel Cabrera at the plate. Romo’s pitch sequence went as follows: 78-mph slider (called strike), 80-mph slider (ball), 80-mph slider (swinging strike), 79-mph slider (ball), 79-mph slider (foul), 89-mph fastball (called strike three). Romo threw five sliders in a row until he froze Cabrera with an 89-mph fastball down the pipe. Stones, man. Stones.
I’ll end this post like I did in 2010: Thanks. Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts. Thanks for following along. Thanks for commenting. Thanks for letting my share my often inane baseball opinions with you. As someone who tries to write a lot, and is always trying to get better at writing, having anyone, really anyone, stop to give you five minutes of their attention is the biggest compliment imaginable. Believe me, it doesn’t go unnoticed. This blog hit its six-year anniversary today. I never thought I’d get this far. But here we are. Six years later. Hopefully you’ll continue to stick around for another year or two. And we can continue to watch baseball together.
Now, enough of that stuff. If you haven’t already done so, go call your dad or mom or sister or brother or wife or husband or anyone and share some of the special common ground that baseball affords us.
Because the Giants won the World Series tonight.