In five years, I'll think about Pablo Sandoval falling on his butt. In 10 years, I'll think about Madison Bumgarner cutting an outline of the strike zone, like he was making a boring, square jack-o'-lantern for five serene innings. There are things to remember from this postseason. Have you watched the Travis Ishikawa homer lately? Seems like that's a good thing to watch once a week. Or daily.
Oh, what could have been. We like to talk tough about our scars. Candy. Jose Cruz, Jr. Felix Rodriguez. But there's nothing in that legacy that would compare to a pair of misplays in the outfield with two outs leading to a tie game in the Game Freaking 7 of the World Series. Terrance Gore would have stolen two bases and scored on a fielder's choice in the 15th. That was our legacy. That was our pain. The Giants have a century-old history of awesome screw-ups. There's Snodgrass's Muff, and there's Merkle's Boner. This would be Blanco's Buttglove. Or something equally as eighth-grade-giggle-worthy. Blanco's Dinglebrain and Perez's Pooterhands.
It would have been the Bill Buckner of our times. All he had to do was dive. All he had to do was keep it in front of him. Pick one. It doesn't matter. Just don't get caught in betwNONONONONO. Think about a Salvador Perez homer after that. Think about a passed ball or a wild pitch. Think about a blooooooooooooooooooop single that came from the bowels of David Eckstein. You know Terrance Gore would have stolen three bases in the 14th, you just know it.
So let's talk about that play. Let's face our fears. Let's revisit a time when it wasn't a sure thing that the 2014 Giants were going to win the World Series.
When this ball left the bat, I was sure the Giants were going to win the 2014 World Series.
Just me, E-40, Marlins Man, and a bunch of sad people celebrating a ... oh, no, it's going to fall. Oh, no. AAUGH.
Man, there are some weird looking dudes on that team. I know the Giants have Hunter Pence and all, but ...
Anyway, there's at least a chance that Blanco was trying to set up the double play with TWO OUTS.
Someone surmised that he really meant "have to keep it from being a double," and I'm willing to believe that. But, cripes, what if he was actually worried about keep the double play in order with two outs and the Giants about to win the World Series? That would have been like Buckner playing Threes on his phone instead of watching the game.
It was going to be a runner in scoring position. It was going to be a runner at third, even, where a wild pitch or passed ball could mean a tie game. And then, this happened:
I want to posit something goofy: The moment between him going for the ball, kicking it, and picking it up again was the scariest moment in San Francisco Giants history. I can't pretend to know what was going on in 1971, what kind of moments there might have been in the NLCS. Can't pretend to know what went on in 1962. But since I've been paying attention, there are only two moments that come close: Scott Spiezio vs. Felix Rodriguez and Troy Glaus v. Robb Nen. They both ended with hits that you knew were devastating before the camera cut away to a different angle.
I think the Perez kick was worse. Before the camera picked Gordon back up, I was assuming he was already around third when Perez finally picked the ball up. One out away from a World Series win. One lousy out. One lousy grounder, pop up, fly ball, strike out, check swing, I would have also accepted a blown call that was reviewed improperly. Anything but that sinking liner of just-wrong porridge.
In those two-and-a-half seconds, the Giants lost the World Series. The entire movie played out and then reset, like the end of The Devil's Advocate, and even though I was pleased that Gordon didn't score, I was afeared. So afeared.
The Giants won the World Series. They did it after letting the tying run get to third base on a dunderheaded play. They did it after the winning run came to the plate in the form of the only player to hit a home run off Bumgarner in three World Series. For a few seconds, though, it was clear the World Series was tied and, therefore, over.
Take a moment to discuss your feelings about that on this, a day with a parade.
(If you're wondering about Hosmer scoring, Jeff Sullivan nails it. This is the only set of pictures I need to know Gordon would have been done for, and it came from an Indians game earlier in the year.
Baseballs move fast, everyone.)