Jason O. Watson
So I'm clearly going to miss something, and you're going to call me an idiot for missing it. That's okay. That's the way of things, the natural order. I can take it.
But with the magic of embeddable video -- and by the time you've started to read this, the embeddable video might be on the fritz because the IT department at MLB Advanced Media is still run by gibbons -- here are the top 10 Giants defensive plays of 2012. Well, there are more than 10 because I cheated. But there are 10 headings, at least. Does Gregor Blanco's catch make the cut??? YOU'LL HAVE TO READ THE LIST.
To the list:
10. Buster Posey's throw in the NLDS
This is one of those chaos-theory things where you wonder what would have happened if Posey didn't do this. It was a perfect flat-footed throw to nail a runner at third in the first inning of Game 3, and if he doesn't make it, maybe the Reds would have scored more than a run off a shaky Ryan Vogelsong.
I still have no idea how the Giants won that game.
9. Hector Sanchez dives
I think it's easy to take for granted just how tough of a play this is. It has to be disorienting to go from a crouch to turning around 180 degrees and diving through the air. I get dizzy when I stand up after being on the toilet for too long. That's probably why I'm not a professional athlete.
8. Melky's throw
Sigh. Those feelings of betrayal didn't go away completely after the World Series. Okay, they kind of did. Aw, heck, Melky. We can't stay mad at you. And this was the first throw that made me think, "Whoa. This guy has a hose." He really does have a tremendous arm, and my favorite part was that he was totally cocky about it.
7. Posey's double play(s)
The Delmon Young one isn't the best catch or throw, per se, but it's a smart play. Very Buster. And the Juan Uribe one isn't the best catch or throw either, but it's almost certainly the funniest one on the list. Oh, man, is that guy ever useless for the Dodgers. It would be unbelievably funny even if he didn't help the Giants win a World Series the season before he became useless for the Dodgers.
But all of that happened. Hee hee.
I'll be honest with you: These plays scare the ever-loving crap out of me every time. I don't like them at all. One of these days, something bad is going to happen to a baseball player because of this. Until it does, they're fun to watch when everything turns out well.
5. Brandon Crawford left his oven on
Really, you can make a top-10 for Crawford alone. So smooth. So, so smooth. But these plays ended their respective games, and one of them made Shane Victorino unhappy.
The first one has a little bit of everything that makes Crawford good: excellent range, a quick transfer, and a strong arm. It's hard to believe that players can do that regularly after watching Miguel Tejada for a season.
4. The perfect double play
The best part about this one is that everyone involved is doing something awesome. The grab and spin is fantastic, as is the throw and the jump, and a very large man doing splits is probably the only way it could have ended.
It's probably not the best play in the world when you consider that Sandoval overran the ball. But it was still tricky to get back there and be in position to flip it in the air. And then came the magic. The reaction time Crawford has is freaky, which I guess is the point of Brandon Crawford.
2. ANGEL IN THE OUTFIELD
In a different situation, this would have been as famous as any catch since The Catch. If this happened in the World Series or NLCS, it would have been a national thing. As is, it saved a tie game against the Padres that the Giants would eventually win, reminding people that the Padres are not a made-up figment of their imaginations.
If Pagan could get a jump like that every time, his new deal would have been nine figures.
1. Gregor Blanco
Surprise! The last blurb talked about situations. Well, this had it. The actual Pagan catch was better, I'd wager. Or at least it was a tick more difficult for that particular player. Pagan makes his catch one out of the four times he tries it, whereas Blanco probably does his every other time. But this is the second-most famous catch in Giants history, and it will be for a long, long time. Every perfect game should have a catch like this, something that adds to the legend of an already magical night.
Blanco had a booming home run and three RBI that night, too. Reminder: at this time last year, we were busy ignoring the existence of Gregor Blanco.
All in all, I'd say that was a very nice season the Giants had.