The 2012 season could not have gone any better for the San Francisco Giants. I suppose they could have won every single game they played and had every single player on the roster go to the All-Star game, but a World Series title, a homegrown catching savant returning from a horrific injury to claim MVP honors, and a perfect game from the vaunted pitching staff’s ace hurler will do just fine, I imagine. Buster Posey was one of the best players in the game. Matt Cain made history. Pablo Sandoval hit an inhuman three home runs in a single World Series game. The Giants won a second championship in three years. They even got two historic playoff starts out of Barry Zito! The contract was worth it after all! Yes, a rather remarkable season, indeed. Soak it in, Giants fans, take a lot of pictures and write down some notes in your diary, because there’s no way it will ever get any better than this.
You’re most likely aware of the events, they only happened a few weeks ago, but they’re worth recounting nonetheless, because they’re insane. The events leading up to the Giants World Series win were insane. The Giants were down 0-2 to the Reds, they then won three games in a row, on the road. I’m pretty sure Homer Bailey threw like a no-hitter in one of those games and the Giants still managed to dink home a run and win anyway. Then there were the deathless Cardinals, an unrelenting force of talent and veteran-grit-voodoo-playoff-shenanigans. They went up 3-1 in the NLCS before the Giants countered with another three games of torturous victory. By my count that’s six elimination games, six wins, zero losses. Not content with a winning streak of three, the Giants went ahead and made it a lucky seven, sweeping the mighty Tigers in four straight, all the while making it look sort of boring and easy. I guess that’s how once-in-a-lifetime seasons go.
We’re glossing over this, but it’s worth mentioning that the Giants were a really good baseball team during the regular season. This wasn’t the fluke or surprise that many made it out to be. Once the playoffs got underway, the journey was ridiculous and wild and almost unbelievable, but given the Giants talent and depth, the end result was hardly a shock. No really, I promise.
There was a lot of chaos, though, to be sure. There was Marco Scutaro hitting like Pete Rose, unwilling to swing the bat and miss contacting the baseball, usually with solid force. Barry Zito beat Justin Verlander in game one. I repeat: Barry Zito beat Justin Verlander in game one. Hunter Pence did whatever the hell Hunter Pence does—he gave some crazy speeches and grew a creepy beard and even managed a few timely hits in between bouts of artful awkwardness. There were those three home runs Pablo Sandoval hit, history, that. Tim Lincecum turned into Dennis Dennis Eckersley or whichever old-school salty mega-reliever you prefer, pitching borderline perfection in the middle of games and dominating like the Timmy of old. Some baseballs did some funny things, like hitting bases and refusing to go foul and whatnot, and the Giants glovework the rest of the time was nothing short of elite. Angel Pagan ran down balls in centerfield and did a lot of saluting. As a bonus, he also stole a base and gave America free IBS, I mean pet food tacos wrapped in cheese flavored tortilla chips from Taco Bell. Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford saved multiple runs multiple times with multiple spectacular plays. It turns out preventing runs all over the place is a good strategy for winning baseball games. Defense is one way, top-notch starting pitching and a bullpen anchored by Sergio Romo‘s unhittable slider is another.
And now, decisions loom. What to do with Tim Lincecum? He thrived in some throw-back middle relief but it’s hard to pay a reliever 20 million dollars and feel happy about it. Postseason heroes Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro are free agents. Both seem primed to get overpaid, will the Giants bite? (Spoiler: Yes, yes they will. This is Brian Sabean we’re talking about. Aw man, the Sabean jokes are getting a lot less fun now that he just wins World Series and is successful all the time.) I think we all know that Melky Cabrera won’t be returning. Ryan Theriot could very well go find some other team to try and win his third-straight championship with. Aubrey Huff‘s thong will be gone, but never forgotten.
But really, do you think Giants fans care about any of that right now? The parade was yesterday. The winning is still fresh. Perfect Game. MVP. World Series. I’d say they have a while to celebrate yet.