The Only Ex-Giant in the World Series

When asked why he traded for A.J. Pierzynski rather than give Yorvit Torrealba the starting job in 2003, Giants GM Brian Sabean said, "He glues bats to his catcher masks. He is insane, and he's also against the rules of baseball."

There will be 50 players on a World Series roster this year. Only one of them has ever played for the Giants. That's hard to do. It's also a testament to just how crappy the team was before that skinny kid from Washington showed up.

The Rangers actually had three former Giants on the roster at one point this year. Strangely, though, Brett Tomko and Merkin Valdez didn't make it onto the postseason roster. Weird. They're probably injured or something.

The one player who did make it is one of the great Alternate Timeline Giants in franchise history. Maybe that will be a series for this offseason. What would have happened if the Giants kept George Foster? Would the Giants have won a championship in the '60s if they had anyone other than Hal Lanier? Hey, Candy, did you ever think about not diving?

For this era, though, there isn't a better Alternate Timeline Giant than Yorvit Torrealba.

In 2002, Torrealba was a 23-year-old catcher who hit .279/.355/.397 in 136 at-bats. That looks pretty good in retrospect, but his minor-league numbers never suggested he was that good. It was probably a sample-size fluke.

But the Giants loooooooove those small samples. Why, 136 at-bats is enough to get a definitive read on a player! Add in spring training stats, and you don't need any more stats for the player's career; they'd just be redundant. For whatever reason, though, the Giants weren't impressed with Torrealba holding his own. With Benito Santiago going elsewhere, the Giants never considered making Torrealba the starter. They traded for A.J. Pierzynski instead.

This is the big difference, then, about concocting an alternate timeline before 2010. Before the Giants won the World Series, here's how I assumed things would have gone:

  1. Yorvit Torrealba starts at catcher
  2. Joe Nathan stays
  3. The 2004 Giants aren't messing around with Dustin Hermanson as the closer
  4. The 2004 Giants make the playoffs because of Nathan
  5. Barry Bonds hits eleventy home runs in the playoffs
  6. The Giants win the World Series
  7. The Giants win the World Series
  8. The Giants win the World Series
  9. They're goin' crazy. They're goin' crazy

In the dark of 2005 through 2008, I would think about this often, actually. This is because I'm a sad, sad little man.

But 2010 happened. Changed our perspective of everything, it did. Here, then, is the alternate timeline as I see it now:

  1. Yorvit Torrealba starts at catcher
  2. The 2004 Giants make the playoffs because of Joe Nathan
  3. The Giants lose Game 7 of the NLCS because Nathan throws a pickoff throw into center field, and Tony Womack scores all the way from second
  4. No, wait. The Giants lose Game 7 of the World Series when Bill Mueller hits a walk-off home run off Nathan at Fenway Park
  5. Francisco Liriano makes the Giants an 80-81 team in 2006
  6. The Giants select Michael Main with the 17th pick in the 2007 draft, a few picks after the Marlins select Madison Bumgarner
  7. The Giants and Rangers can't agree on a prospect to make a Bengie Molina trade work in 2010. He remains the Giants' starting catcher. Not that it matters with Bumgarner on the Padres (traded by the Marlins for some goofball reliever like Cla Meredith)
  8. No World Series win
  9. Pain
  10. More pain

We're free from the shackles of Yorvit-related what-ifs! Free from complaining about Francisco Liriano! Free, I tell you!

I'm not a fan of Yorvit -- too chirpy, and too hits-well-against-the-Giantsy -- but I'm not depressed by him anymore. In fact, I'm grateful. Thanks for not being a little bit better, Yorvit. Thanks for the Pierzynski trade. Thanks for not sticking around long enough to think, gee, maybe we don't need to draft a college catcher.

Thanks for doin' that Yorvit thing the most Yorvit way you knew how, Yorvit. We owe you one. Also, we'll never pay that debt because it's not like the Pierzynski thing was pleasant at all.

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