After last night’s snooze-fest, Comcast Sports Net Bay Area Net Sports Cast aired this game from 2000, and danged if I didn’t get a little misty-eyed. The team had just started their ridiculous post-June run of ’27 Yankees-esque domination, and Armando Rios kept the magic going with a walk-off against John Wetteland. It all made me realize how much I loved that team. Examples:
- Even though Barry Bonds was 0-4 in the game that Comcast just aired, it was so comforting to watch him swing a bat. I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed that this season. Another thing I’ve missed: an actual lineup. It’ll be a long time until we see anything approach the production of the Bonds-Kent-Burks combo. The two biggest lineup problems were Marvin Benard (.342 OBP) and Bill Mueller (.333 OBP), both of whom would have been among the team leaders last year.
- The pitching staff was young and effective. There was reason to be excited for the present and reason to be giddy about the future. Russ Ortiz would continue to pitch like he did in the second half! Shawn Estes was maddening but good! Livan Hernandez was an innings-eating ace! Kirk Rueter was Kirk Rueter, which used to be a very nice thing! There weren’t any stars, but it was a solid rotation 1-5.
- Ye gods, what a bench. Everyone had a specific purpose, and they all filled their roles perfectly. Calvin Murray was a right-handed hitter who could cover center and steal a base. Armando Rios was the lefty with power who could spot Ellis Burks’s knees of scientific wonder and pinch-hit late in the game. Ramon Martinez was good enough to handle the middle infield, and, for that season at least, he was a hitter worthy of a starting job somewhere. Felipe Crespo was the greatest weapon of all: a switch-hitter with cove power and defensive versatility.
Of course, they were probably all roided up to the gills, but that’s a post for another time.
- The park was still brick-and-mortar euphoria for anyone who had ever been to Candlestick. It’s still one of the best ballparks ever, but there was something about that first season. Not only that, but the funky dimensions probably had something to do with the absurd home/road splits (55-26). The Giants figured out how to cover the outfield before the rest of the NL, and it wasn’t really fair.
- Barry Bonds’s homer in the 13th-inning of Game 3 against Rick White was a monster, and it was nice to watch the Giants slap 13 hits off of Bobby Jones in Game 4 to move to the NLCS. The sweep of the Cardinals was simple poetry, but the Derek Jeter lineout to Kent in Game 7 of the World Series was poetic justice. The parade down Market Street was like a dream. I made out with Cameron Diaz the whole time. Aquaman was there, too.
Just a few of the reasons why the 2000 team was my favorite of my lifetime. Open Favorite Giants Team of Your Lifetime Thread.