Welcome to our friends who love the San Francisco Giants, and to the last Czar’s blog of 2014 – the Halloween (my birthday present) Parade edition!
There isn’t anyone on the planet that doesn’t feel in awe of Madison Bumgarner after his MVP performance in the NLCS and in the World Series. However the G-Men are a team and, as it turns out, a team of destiny. Was there anyone in SF not watching that game last night? I’m still speechless.
Warriors or Cockroaches – or both?
Brian Sabean said that this is a team of cockroaches – they will not die! And they did not die. Bruce Bochy, a manager that is destined for the Hall of Fame with Miller Huggins, Casey Stengel, Joe McCarthy and in the modern era, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre, said it best: “These guys are warriors.”
The first team since the “We are Family” Lumber Company (the 1979 Pirates with Willie Stargell) to win a WS game 7 on the road, and the first Giants team since the 1905 Giant with Christy Matheson to have a pitcher that essentially won 3 WS games, the last one on two day’s rest. Clayton Kershaw might get the Cy Young and has been designated as the “Best Pitcher on the planet” but, if so, MadBum is the best pitcher in the Universe.
Move over Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson, MadBum is now your teammate!
I was there for the Bumgarner shutout at home in Game 5, the Ishikawa walk-off in Game 5 of the NLCS over the Cardinals, the Juan Perez double off the top of the wall that sealed Game 5 and we all saw the Crawford Grand Slam in the Wild card game but nothing beats the look on Hunter Pence’s face (batting almost .500 in the WS – are you kidding?) when he comes to the plate with the swing that looks like he is trying to destroy the ball with the bat.
YES! YES! YES!
This incredible post-season was the ride of a lifetime. Every player contributed. No one was selfish and no one pouted about not playing as Bochy masterfully shuffled the players like chess pieces across the board of the game.
The Panda was clutch (the best third baseman in the game – will he return? We hope so!), Joe Panik found his groove (especially on that double play in the 3rd last night!) and may be the best 2nd baseman to play for the Giants since Joe Morgan and Jeff Kent (although Marco Scutero and Robbie Thompson are up there also), Brandon Crawford’s arm and range was the difference in the defense (we can watch him all day long – so smooth), Gregor Blanco played a center field for the ages (up until that 9th inning error last night that MadBum had to work through), Michael Morse came through with the big hits when needed (“May the Morse be with you”), Brandon Belt’s defense and bat were key and, most important, Buster Posey was nails even though he is clearly exhausted.
Buster – take the next two months off and savor what you just did in directing this pitching staff! If Pence is the heart of the team, you are the brains and the will.
Think about it: 18 innings over the Pirates in the Wild Card game; which the G-Men were in only because of a great April, May and September that overcame a swoon for the ages in June, July and into August (including being swept by KC in KC). Then the NLDS against the Nationals (probably the most talented team in baseball this side of that LA team that won’t be named), then beating the Cardinals in the NLCS on a walk-off home run in the ninth inning of Game 5 by the most unlikely of hero’s – a 1st baseman cut in May, put on waivers, picked up by the Giants and sent to AAA and then converted to LF. Travis Ishikawa lived the dream for all of us.
Hats off to the starters and the bullpen! Hudson playing at 39, Peavy who came in from the Red Sox to replace Cain when he went down, Vogelsong (who has the best game face since Will Clark), LInceum who pitched a no-hitter and then made himself available for relief, Romo, Affeldt, Casilla and, of course, Yusmiero Petit. We would not be there without Petit. Kudos to the bench - Arias had key hits, Duffy and Susac were nails for rookies, Perez literally saved Game 7 with an awesome catch.
The point is that everyone contributed (including Strickland - who appears to be a special Bochy project). Finally don’t forget the coaches (underrated all, especially Wotus and Flan) and the front office, Baer, Sabean, Bobby Evans, the scouts (like Pat Burrell, still contributing after all he did in 2010) and all the wonderful people who are part of the Giants family – as are every one of us.
We are told that both Bochy and Pence gave a speech to the team before Game 7. Bochy said to remember the tough teams they defeated on the road over the last five years (and make no mistake the G-Men are a GREAT road team) and that they have won (now) 9 consecutive post season series. Pence got up and simply said to remember what he told the team in spring training – they were playing for a parade in October.
Well, it’s October and it’s parade time. We will all be at our office on California street on Friday and will be walking over to Market Street about 11 am to get our place to greet the 2014 World Championship San Francisco Giants as the floats come down Market Street.
Join us at the Parade, and then mark your calendars for the Black and Orange Big Bottle Party on December 4th at 4 pm at the University Club. This year will be truly special and we have a 12 liter Balthazar of a specially bottled zin (made with love by the Michael David Winery) from the 2012 WS as a feature.
The next Czar’s blog will be during Spring training before the 2015 season. The G-Men will have a major target on their back and the title of dynasty in the making. It will be a great year and we will all be part of it. There is nothing more special than baseball.
I can’t wait!
Let me leave 2014 with this thought, and with the picture below:
“…They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.” - Field of Dreams