Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dynasty

AP Photo

The San Francisco Giants are 2014 World Series champions. It's their 3rd title in 5 years.

I just had to write that before anything else was on the page. This post is my first thoughts now that I have finally realized I'm awake.

I've never been more proud to be a Giants fan. There was something different this time. After 2010 I felt sweet relief as they finally won one. In 2012, it was thrilling, but it was also Game 4. That team was rolling after beating the elimination odds. There was no stopping that freight train. Plus I was a blubbering mess because that was the year my father passed.

But 2014 is different. It's all about love, pride, and the results that come from hard work and a commitment to the right people.

A Dynasty has been built by CEO Larry Baer, Senior VP &GM Brian Sabean, and soon to be Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy.


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Madison Bumgarner

He's not made of the same stuff as the rest of us. His DNA is different. He's a throwback that gets results in the middle of a specialized age. When Alcides Escobar gave away an out, he allowed Bumgarner to get in to his rhythm and create World Series history.

It was the work of a man who would strap a plow to his back and go out in the fields if that's what needed to be done.

Madison Bumgarner.

I haven't done much reading yet. I really have just tried to let it all sink in. Of course I celebrated and watched interviews all night. It was just too surreal for me to focus and read anything. So far today I have read 2 pieces and I encourage you to check them out as well.

Here's Grant Brisbee on McCovey Chronicles after Game 7 ended. Like all of his stuff it is fantastic but this one was special. To think he got it up so quickly after the game is amazing. I couldn't say more than "blibbity gibbity goo" after the game ended.

Loved the strike zone shots that he showed. Brilliant idea, Bumgarner never gave in and it showed.

The other piece I managed to read was from Michael Powell of the New York Times. I'm so glad he went to North Carolina. As someone that had a strong connection with his father through baseball, that was a great story to read. I totally understand Kevin Bumgarner not wanting the company for Game 7. I couldn't imagine how nervous, yet faithful he must have felt.

Make sure you read the end. The text message that Kevin Bumgarner sent his son had me in tears.

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I was super nervous leading up to that Game 7. I wrote about it here and did not hide how freaked out a game 7 made me feel. Toss in the fact that the Giants had never won a World Series Game 7 and I was bouncing off the walls. That's what I am still used to. It's so hard to shake as a fan. For so many years the Giants would come up short and it became the norm. I found out before Game 7 that there's a little part of me that still holds on to that.

Then I read this Facebook post from Giants 3rd base coach Tim Flannery on his Lunatic Fringe page. I saw it about 20 minutes before first pitch and it snapped me right in to game mode. Love harder and celebrate everything.

From there on out my anxiety was gone and I was just trying to put positive things out there. This team doesn't just crawl inside your heart, they become a part of your soul.





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- Joe Panik was just amazing in the 3rd inning. That play, just holy wow. Off the bat I was sure it was going to be 1st & 3rd. Then he somehow stopped it AND got it to Brandon Crawford in time for a double play. 

- The catch Juan Perez made on Nori Aoki's fly ball down the left field line cannot be overlooked. That was a perfect confluence of scouting, coaching, and talent.

- Fox showed a moment right before the game in which Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval were huddled together talking. I don't know about you but I was reassured when I saw that. Like they knew they had to be the soul of this team out there in Game 7. Then they did just that. Both were in the middle of all the action and Sandoval scored the clinching run. Plus, that wink. (h/t @carmenkiew)

- Michael Morse, thank you.

- I wrote about Bruce Bochy as a Hall of Fame manager over on Hall of Very Good before the World Series started. I'm certain that will be reworked and posted here now that the Giants have won 3 titles in 5 years.

I'll have much more in the next week or so as I find time to write. There's so many things that happened over the last day, week, month. I can't wait to keep writing and talking about all of them. So look forward to much more and thank you so much for reading again.

I also encourage you to head on over to the SFGiants Reddit page. The people there find some great stuff and it's so much fun to share the experience. I tip my cap to those redditors that keep coming over. Thank you.

The Giants are the Champs again and as my buddy Wade Black (@EveryFifthDay) tweeted to me last night, "Flags fly forever".

They sure do. 

Eric Nathanson
@2outhits on Twitter



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Game 7: Are you ready?



Game 7.

I hate those words.

Well, I hate those words right now. If it was any other team and not the San Francisco Giants, I would be over the moon for a World Series Game 7.

It's not that the Giants can't win Game 7. They absolutely can. It's just all the angst, pressure, anxiety, and general barfiness are ratcheted up a notch.

I was a mess in the time leading up to the Wild Card game. Winner-take-all games do not sit well with me. It doesn't matter who the better team is, anything can happen.

It's not like knowing ahead of time that things would be OK on days Madison Bumgarner started.

Anything can happen.

The Giants are a confident bunch. We already knew that. They have experience and from everything they said after Game 6 they are not worried. Here's a couple quotes from Alex Pavlovic's game story for the San Jose Mercury News. First from manager Bruce Bochy the second from Jake Peavy.

"They're going against the odds -- we've done that before," Bochy said. "You go back to 2012 and look at this postseason. I think a lot of people had us getting beat in the first and second round. This club is so resilient. They're so tough. They'll put this behind them."
 "Listen, this bunch doesn't care," Peavy said. "We'll show up tomorrow and find any which way to win."

That's all well and good now. But it's Game 7 and I think you know where I am going with this.

Anything can happen.

I mentioned the Wild Card coinflip game earlier. Here we are again, but now it's the same, but totally different. Kinda like this is the Pittsburgh game on steroids. This time they are one win away from taking down the whole damn thing, not just trying to get a seat at the table.

I didn't think the Giants would be here. You may have thought that way too. So there's a sense that they are playing with house money and that everything is gravy. Fuck that noise, they made it this far and a championship has always been the goal.

I may reflect back if they lose and appreciate it, but right now all I want is to see them hoist the trophy.

So go do whatever it is you need to do to try and calm the nerves before 5:07 PT tomorrow night. There are plenty of us out here doing our thing too. I'll be wearing a hole in my carpet and drinking too much coffee until then.

Boy, I sure picked a bad day to quit drinking.

Eric Nathanson
@2outhits on Twitter


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Game 7: Tim Hudson or Madison Bumgarner?

Edit: I guess we have the answer.




The Giants were just drubbed in Kansas City 10-0 in Game 6 of the World Seires. I've seen some talk crop up on Twitter on the question of how many innings Bumgarner is available for tomorrow night.

It's a good question that brings about another question. If Bumgarner can go say 4 or 5 innings, should he just start the game?

I'm so glad I don't have to make the decision.

On the one hand if Bumgarner starts the game he gives the Giants a chance to take an early lead against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie. On the other hand, the prospect of Bumgarner looming in the bullpen can hang over the Royals hitters much like "HDH" is supposed to hang over Giants hitters.

Tim Hudson did a nice job in Game 3 as the starter and that's who I would start. Much like tonight, Bruce Bochy will not hesitate to yank a pitcher if needed. We'll see how this plays out after tonight's game, but it's an interesting question to ponder.

Of course none of it means a thing if the Giants don't score runs.

What do you think? Do you want to see Bumgarner start a Game 7, or would you rather he come in to diffuse a possible bad situation? Feel free to comment below with your thoughts!

Eric Nathanson
@2outhits