I remember this from 2012: The offseason starts too damned soon. I don't want to think about free agents and trades for another month. Did you read that the Yankees are probably out on Pablo Sandoval? Yeah, I'll probably write that up later today. Begrudgingly, mind you. So bitterly begrudgingly. We're still supposed to be making out with the postseason right now. Get away from me.
Let's fight the cruel march of time for as long as we can, then. There were 12 Giants wins this postseason. They are all our children, beautiful and unique, and we love them all equally. We love some equally more than others, but they're all special. Here, then, is one video for each of the wins. This is going to be a tough pick in a lot of cases, as there are going to be very deserving videos left off, and I don't just want to go with the game-winning hit in each one.
(I'll probably go with the game-winning hit in each one, because those things are rad.)
Starting with ...
Win #1 - NL Wild Card Game
It could have been video of Bumgarner deconstructing the Pirates atom by atom, as if to note that the Giants could have scored one unearned run and still won. That dinger, though. It was the grandest of them all. At this point, the Giants were still a novelty. Maybe they could make it past the Pirates and have some fun, you thought, before remembering that the Giants had exactly one trustworthy starting pitcher. What can they do with that?
After that grand slam, it became a little less crazy to dream. (Note: It was still crazy to dream.)
Win #2 - NLDS Game 1
Of all the postseason games, this is the least memorable for me. Aw, don't look so sad, NLDS Game 1. It's just a game without an iconic moment, unless you count the surprise that came with someone actually hitting Hunter Strickland's fastball. Boy, that'll never ...
This is the only game of the postseason that makes me check and recheck the box score to remember exactly what happened. I remember the Giants were pesky and annoying against Stephen Strasburg. I remember Joe Panik getting an RBI and the TBS broadcasters giving him the laudatory Eckstein treatment.
That moment, though, with Jake Peavy freaking out in his polite, special way. That's the video I'll remember. "ATTA BOY, PANIK. GREAT JOB, JOSH." At least, that's what it looks like. The odds are pretty good that Peavy knew Panik's name. I still want to believe he called him Josh, though.
Win #3 - NLDS Game 2
Belt hit the dinger and, lo, it was a majestic dinger. But there's no 18th inning without the majesty of Yusmeiro Petit. There were a couple of close calls and turns of good fortune, as there are in most scoreless multi-inning relief outings. For the most part, though, Petit dominated, and he used a high fastball on the outside to do it. The Nationals had a book on him, most likely, and the first chapter was about offspeed stuff. Petit skipped ahead.
Win #4 - NLDS Game 4
Hunter Pence scared a child.
I would start at that painting for hours if it were hanging at the Louvre. How is this about the fallibility of man? How isn't this about the fallibility of man, I would respond.
If Jayson Werth leads the inning off with a triple, things are different. By definition! Not sure if the Nationals come back without this catch, but I wouldn't want to find out.
Win #5 - NLCS Game 1
In which Madison Bumgarner is a bully who is stronger than the other players and doesn't allow any runs, while the other team gets really frustrated. This might be the most iconic video of the postseason, when you put it like that.
Win #6 - NLCS Game 3
The Cardinals floated to San Francisco after the dingerfest in Game 2. Skipped the airport entirely and just floated the entire way. Then in the first inning, Travis Ishikawa hit a two-out, bases-clearing double that made everyone feel a lot better about the Giants' chances in the series. That's not the video, though.
The Giants walked off in a postseason game for the first time since 2002. While that play was both exciting and hilarious, that can't be the video. It has to be this:
Nothing says "2014 Giants" like the way Juan Perez fell up the stairs in the 10th inning of Game 3. You know what it takes to win a World Series? Juan Perez screwing up and having that help.
Win #7 - NLCS Game 4
One part skill, one part I dunno, one part the other team screwing up. People are quick to slap the luck label down as a kind of insult, but also note that the Giants didn't screw up that bad in those situations. Not at the wrong times, at least. The 2014 Giants avoided screwing up at the wrong time. That's not an insult. That's a feature, not a bug.
I like this video because it shows both of the Matt Adams blunders. He's really not that bad. For two consecutive plays, though, he sure was. Makes me glad Salvador Perez didn't loop one into center in Game 7, you know.
Win #8 - NLCS Game 5
It's reasonable to pick another favorite 2014 postseason moment. I'm sticking with this one. Literally Travis Ishikawa. Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus asked me where this homer ranked on a list of Giants all-time moments before suggesting the Giants were almost certainly going to win the series, regardless. I agreed, then started defending the home run's honor.
I disagree with that idea now, though. If Ishikawa grounded into a double play there, would you have been surprised? Would it have seemed out of place? I would guess the odds of the Cardinals coming back in the series after the winning run was in scoring position with no outs were probably close to two percent or so. That's about the odds of a triple in any given at-bat. But after you watch a triple, you don't marvel at the unlikeliness of what you just saw. It's a part of a possible set of outcomes, and it makes sense in context.
That's how it would have felt if the Cardinals took Game 5 and then won two more games at home. Just a part of a possible set of outcomes. Instead, we opened the box and found Schrödinger's cat playing a badass guitar solo on a Flying V. Ishikawa's homer was sublime and thrilling, and almost certainly one of the greatest Giants moments of my lifetime.
Win #9 - World Series Game 1
The Royals hadn't lost a game to this point. The Giants were 12-5 this postseason. The Royals were 11-4, which is a better winning percentage, you know. It felt like the Giants losing Game 1 would have been a huge deal, especially considering it was Bumgarner's turn in the rotation.
Instead, the Giants hit a rare dinger in the first inning, and even though Bumgarner was shelled harder than he ever had been in a World Series game (7 IP, 1 ER), the Giants would take this homer and hold on. It was a classic Pence homer, too, where you weren't sure if the ball was hit hard enough to go out, and you study the outfielder's body language for a hint, before the ball flies 700 feet over the fence as if Giancarlo Stanton hit it from second base.
Win #10 - World Series Game 4
The Giants were about to fall to a 3-1 deficit. They were down. The Royals were yukkin' it up.
That's ... tied for the iconic video of the game. Oh, how the Giants were going to lose. Oh, how they might have lost if the umpire were a little stingier with the next pitch. Instead, the Giants stormed back, and Pablo Sandoval had the two-out hit that eluded everyone in June and July.
Dig that Buster Posey war cry after he crosses the plate.
While we're playing the "show something to a person from the past" game, here's a screenshot:
You: The Giants are going to win the World Series in 2014!
You from 2010: Hooray!
You: Here's a picture of a post-game press conference.
You from 2010: ... is ... why did Buster Posey need plastic surgery? Is that a Muppet next to him? Like, an actual Muppet turned into a real boy by a fairy godmother?
Win #11 - World Series Game 5
What a start. What a postseason performance. It's a shame that it had to end here, but hopefully one of the Giants starters will help them win one of the next two ...
After Game 5, Ned Yost bumped into Madison Bumgarner, congratulated him and told him he was glad the Royals wouldn't face him again. Oops.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) October 30, 2014
Win #12 - World Series Game 7
Honorable mention to Bumgarner's reaction when a reporter asked him about the error in the ninth.
The last two videos are compilations of Bumgarner's final two appearances in the 2014 postseason. Really, this entire post could have been Bumgarner videos. Or just a 25MB GIF of a snot rocket knocking an asteroid off its collision course with Earth. The odds are good that Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla could have pitched the final two innings without incident. You know those two pitchers were whom the Royals were hoping to see, though, and if that's what the Royals wanted ...
Coming up soon: An in-depth profile of Alex Rios and the open spot in left field. Coming up first: You, scrolling back to the top and playing your favorite videos again. The 2014 Giants, who went roughly two months without winning a series against an over-.500 team, won the World Series. Here is video evidence. I'm still skeptical.