Giants Win Again!

post-season 2014
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, winners of the 2014 World Series! This is the eighth win overall and their third win on consecutive even-numbered years (2010, 2012 & 2014). On the flip side, until 2010 they hadn’t won since 1954 when they were the New York Giants — that’s a 56-year drought!

They did get to the ball in 1962 (lost to the Yankees) and 1989 (swept by their neighbors, the Athletics) and 2002 (lost to the Angels). Given them credit for taking the 1962 and 2002 Series to seven games.

I’ll be honest. I was a lot more thrilled last year when the Boston Red Sox won.

WS 2014 This year I was rooting Kansas City Royals all the way. Of course there’s an element of rooting for the American League; I would have been rooting for them in any event.

But their story is special this year — first team to ever win the first eight games straight in post-season. There’s a minor caveat there. Before 1995, when there was no Division Series, winning eight straight meant sweeping the entire table, which would be a record in itself.

They’re also tied with the Red Sox for eight straight games at any point in post-season. Regardless, it was amazing to watch them zip through the Wild Card Series, the Division Series and the Championship series. In a way, winning the World Series would have almost been just icing on the cake (or gravy on the steak).

Fall ClassicThe added bonus was the World Series itself. Getting all seven games is always best. Seeing it tied after two, tied after four and tied after six was pretty cool. The only complaint is that there was only one close game (#3) among the six. The others were decisive and often decided early in the game.

But the final game was the other nail-biter to the last out. The Royals really had a chance in the bottom ninth, so it was a pretty exciting game.

Almost. Sort of.

Having Madison Bumgarner pitch five innings in relief made it a lot less suspenseful. The Royals’ three-way punch, Herrera, Davis & Holland, did their job in keeping San Francisco from scoring, but at the same time, no one could do anything against “MadBum” on the mound.

MadBum

MadBum on the Mound!

It almost seems unfair bringing in a starting pitcher to throw five innings of relief.

I’ll bet you that, had Kansas City been able to somehow get to Bumgarner, the conversation today would have the scent of, “Serves them right for bringing in Bumgarner to pitch relief.” That thought acknowledging the vague unfairness of it.

It would have been a lot more interesting of a game had the Giants stuck to their usual bullpen. It almost can be read as an admission their bullpen wasn’t up to the task.

So in an alternate dimension where the Giants decided to play it more fairly and squarely, the Royals — as I believe the gods of baseball intended — did win.

Meanwhile, in this reality: The Giants Win!

Again.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

19 responses to “Giants Win Again!

  • Doobster418

    I so wish I could have watched the game last night, but, alas, I was on a flight from Atlanta and missed the whole damn thing. Of course, I’ve read all about it. Quite honestly, I thought it was a pretty gutsy call by Giants’ manager Bochy to put in Bumgarner. The guy had pitched a full game just three nights earlier. Could he handle another five innings so soon? But you’re right, had the Royals gotten to Bumgarner, and the Giants lost the game, Bochy would have been the goat. But you know, when there’s no tomorrow, you do what you gotta do, and Bumgarner had the Royals’ number, so you go with what you believe will get the job done.

    And as a heavy-duty Red Sox fan, I, too, was thrilled with last year’s World Series. So I feel as if I’ve won two in a row! I hope, before I die, I’ll see a Red Sox/Giants World Series. Hey, it could happen.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Definitely a bummer you had to miss it. You learned it all in parallel, as an accomplished fact. You didn’t have to live through the tension or uncertainty, but you also missed the excitement.

      Anyway, yeah, you’re right, putting out any pitcher is one of those dice-throw decisions. Pretty good odds for Bochy, though. Bumgarner has shown no signs of decline throughout post-season, and his numbers are amazing. It would have been surprising for him to implode. (I’m sure you’ve heard old-time pitchers sneer at modern pitch count limits. Those are mainly to insure pitcher longevity — not so much an issue in the last game of the season.)

      I’m not saying Bochy did anything wrong. Or even unsporting. Winning is definitely the point. It’s just that it was a little on the tricky side. And even then, it was on the legal tricky side. There is a whole range of “tricky” plays from subtle to extreme — outfielders pretending to catch a fly ball that’s nowhere near and various “who’s got the ball” fakes. Tricky is just part of the game.

      But when it stands out it gets a ghostly asterisk that it was a tricky move that won, not a “straight up” game.

      The thing about a straight game is that it leaves no room for criticism, deserved or not. It’s a win, “fair and square.” If there’s any trickery, there’s always some — the losers, usually — who’ll go, “Yeah, sure, but if you hadn’t done that, it might have been different.”

      • Doobster418

        I don’t think it was tricky, as much as cagey. What’s tricky about using the best you got when there’s no tomorrow? The Giants won it straight up and there will be no asterisks — ghostly or not — going in the record book. But, yeah, maybe if I were a Royals fan, “tricky” would be the way I would see it, too.

      • Doobster418

        cagey = shrewd; tricky = deceitful. Bochy was shrewd, not deceitful!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I can see why you object. I don’t equate tricky with deceitful. For me, tricky includes anything you wouldn’t normally do. Kind of as in the phrase, “Nice trick there!”

        A shrewd, cagey person can be tricky without being deceitful. There’s nothing shameful implied.

  • Hariod Brawn

    I do not know what you are talking about sir.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      USAnian Major League Baseball. 30 teams divided into two Leagues, National and American, 15 teams each. Each League has three Divisions — West, Central, East — making six “silos” of five teams each. A season consists of each team playing 162 games, mostly within their League and specially playing within their Division.

      At the end of the six-month season (April-September) there are six Division winners — teams with the most wins within their Division. They’ll play in the post-season. Among the remaining teams in each League, two runners up (four in all), called Wild Card teams, also go to post-season.

      First the two Wild Card teams in each League play each other, one game in each League, resulting in a single Wild Card team for the League. That Wild Card team plays the Division “top seed” — the Division winner (of three in the League) with the most wins. The other two winners (2nd and 3rd seeds) play each other.

      Thus, there are four Division Series, two in each League. Each Series is a best-of-five. The result is four Division Champs, two in each League. The two American League champs play each other, and the two National League champs play each other.

      That’s a best-of-seven series, one in each League, and the result is a League Champion for each League. Those two teams go to the World Series, which is also best-of-seven. The winner is the World Series Champions. Of the World.

      That’s what we’re talking about. 🙂

      And part of what’s cool is that Wild Card teams, underdogs, in both Leagues, went all the way. The chart at the top of the post shows the teams in post-season.

      • Hariod Brawn

        So this is an outdoors activity is it?

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Traditionally, but there are indoor stadiums for some of the Major League teams. There are maybe a couple hundred Minor League teams — adult, professional baseball. Lots of college and high school teams. Even little league and office teams.

        All of them play outside. Major League teams in cities more prone to bad weather can afford to build indoor facilities. Baseball, like Cricket, requires a large field.

        It’s been around since the mid-1800s, and it’s one of those things (with mom and apple pie) that you can be “as American as.” And while, being somewhat sedate, it’s declined in popularity, some folks still consider almost Holy.

      • Hariod Brawn

        Do the chaps do this sort of thing when they play their game?

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’m getting the feeling my leg is being pulled.

      • Hariod Brawn

        Sorry W.S. I didn’t mean to lead you on. By way of an apology, may I make you this offering?

      • Wyrd Smythe

        That’s my (hapless) Twins! Much as I’ve been cheering on the Royals in post-season, they’re a team we’ll have to face next year.

    • Hariod Brawn

      Yeah, I know it’s your boys, I do my research you know W.S. 😉

      By the way, I was concerned that you were pissed off with me (I think you American chaps abbreviate to ‘were pissed with me’?) I really did not mean to lead you up the garden path. My first terse comment was placed just to let you know I had read your piece but had nothing of interest to add as the subject is alien to me. Then, when you responded with all that detail, I didn’t know if you had understood my intent and were just laying things out for the hell of it. So, I came back with another terse comment in a (failed) bid to demonstrate this time ironic ignorance. And then, when that didn’t work, I thought I’d better show my hand by means of the Zizou video. It just goes to show how easy it is to get misunderstood in these kinds of exchanges. Then again, perhaps you did not misunderstand? o_O

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Nah, no worries mate. The only ‘pissed’ would be one of the two senses involving beer. Although, with regard to one of them, I’ve always thought the operative word should be “leaving” rather than “taking.” I have no quibbles with the “being” one, though — in the beer sense.

        In my logorrheic defense, the first comment does sound like a request for info… It was the second one that, unfortunately only after I’d already replied, lit a light bulb, “Hey, wait a minute…” :\

        The video clip pretty much cinched it. 😀

      • Hariod Brawn

        ‘Although, with regard to one of them, I’ve always thought the operative word should be “leaving” rather than “taking.”’

        Spoken like a true dog lover. 😉

        I heard once that the expression was something to do with ‘taking away’ so-called ‘false erections’ (the other’s pride?) and which themselves are caused by an overnight denial of one’s need to micturate. Hence ‘taking the Mic(key)’.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I learned about the British usage much later — does create some confusion. Important to focus on “taking a” versus “taking the.” XD

  • John Hayden

    Reblogged this on EVERY DAY and commented:
    Here on the East Coast, it was hard to follow the final two games of this awesome World Series. Games were over too late to make my edition of the Washington Post. So for all my friends and baseball fans, here’s an excellent, and somewhat comprehensive post on the World Series.

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