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Ranking the brain locks in Giants history

No series preview. Maybe there will be a belated one tomorrow, but this couldn't wait. This is the most important academic exercise in this site's history-- an imperative baseball debate as the great Jon Bois would put it. Where does Eli Whiteside's brain lock rank in recent Giants' lore?

The Giants are the all-time brain-lock leaders throughout baseball history. The most famous brain lock in baseball history has to be Merkle's Boner, probably because it has such a catchy name. My theory is that this name is catchy because it features the word "boner." This is a heavily researched theory. And there's a sick part of me that would want to see what this site would look like if that kind of base running screw-up cost the 2011 Giants the NLCS. Defenestration sensation all across SB Nation.

In recent history, there's Ruben Rivera. He wins, of course. He had 17 different brain locks in one play, and it really was the worst base running in the history of the game. The biggest brain lock in recent Giants history is like the best Herman Melville book with a whale in it. Just accept that "Moby Dick" is the answer, and then you can start cycling through the other possibilities, like "Whales, Whales, Whales," "Redburn II: The Whale Cometh," and "Billy Budd (10th Anniversary Edition, Now With Whales)." This is a battle for second place.

The contenders:

Dustan Mohr's catch and fall
Everyone remembers Cody Ransom's boot and Wayne Franklin's waynefranklining, but a couple of days earlier, Mohr dove to catch a fly ball in foul territory with the winning run at third with one out. There was no way his decision to catch the ball would have led to anything but a loss, and it was a late-season loss that went a long way towards eliminating the Giants from contention.

But to be fair to Mohr, if he had let the ball drop, the bases would still have been loaded with one out and Dustin Hermanson on the mound. The game was going to end anyways, probably on a five-run homer.

Tim Lincecum's Whatever
If the Rangers had won Game One after breaking open the game in the first inning, maybe the Giants don't win the World Series. And if the Giants don't win the World Series, this moment isn't so cute. Months and months later, we've still never received a good answer for what Lincecum was thinking. He described it as a "brain fart," which is swell, but it was of such a magnitude that Lincecum forgot the rules of baseball. That's not a brain fart; that's brain cholera.

But the Giants won the game and the Series, so it's kind of an adorable screw-up now. Kind of.

Eli Whiteside's non-throw
I think this one is my favorite, which is to say, my least favorite at the time. It was amazing. It was hot, and Eli Whiteside just didn't want to throw a baseball. To get out of throwing a baseball, he argued with the umpire. Even though umpires never change their minds, and even though all Whiteside had to do was throw the ball to first, he said, "Hold on. I got this. I'll use my eerie grey powers of persuasion to fix everything." And the ump said, "No. That hit the dirt. That hit the dirt," which ruined everything. The ump was supposed to just admit he was wrong.

The best part, which is to say the worst part, is that Whiteside was wrong. There was a cloud of dust that kicked up on the play. But it didn't matter if Whiteside were right or wrong. If the batter had thrown his bat at a pitchout and missed the ball by six feet, you still throw the damned ball when the ump says it hit the ground. Throw it. If you wing it down the line, argue with the ump then.

Considering the situation, I'm tempted to say Lincecum's was worse. But that also has the built-in excuse of the getting caught up in the adrenaline of the World Series. Whiteside's made absolutely no sense. It was awesome. It didn't cost the Giants a win, so it's something we can laugh about now.

If you have another contender, please state your case in the comments section. This is important stuff, and that can't be an exhaustive list up there.