I've made hundreds and hundreds of baseball GIFs in my day, the old-timey blogger mumbled. But I don't love any of them as much as I love this one:
I might have spent 10 hours on that, pedaling a crappy, almost-dead laptop uphill in the snow, but it was worth it. All of Marco Scutaro's 14 hits in the 2012 NLCS. Oh, sure, the new hotness is Travis Ishikawa HITS ONE INTO RIGHT, which is probably one of the greatest moments in the history of the franchise. But that doesn't mean we have to forget the magical journey that Marco Scutaro took us on two years prior.
Here's my second-favorite GIF ever:
You might remember this leading to the rainglobe idea that I came up with all on my own. That whole danged 2012 postseason, man. They were dead until they were alive, and Scutaro taught us how to never lose hope, even though I ignored his teachings and lost hope 483 different times between June 7th and October 29th of this year alone.
This all comes up now because Marco Scutaro is having spinal fusion surgery, and the Giants won't even know about his baseball prospects for six months. Which means that he's almost certainly done as a Giant, and almost certainly done as a baseball player.
Scutaro missed all but five games in 2014 with the back injury but told teammates he had no intention of retiring. He had hoped to rehabilitate his back and come to spring training ready to play. In spring training last year, Scutaro said he understood that such an operation probably would end his career.
It's too early to write a post mortem, but not too early to have a Appreciate Marco Scutaro Day.
The Giants have built a grand tradition of "OH NO OH NO HELP WE NEED A SECOND BASEMAN phew guess we just won the World Series", but Scutaro was the second baseman most directly responsible for a World Series win. Not only did he have the 14 hits in the NLCS, but he had the game-winning RBI in the World Series, too.
(An aside: Do you remember how awful he was outside of the NLCS? Seven hits in 36 at-bats between the Reds and Tigers series. No, you remember him getting 14 danged hits in the NLCS.)
Some players with more plate appearances as a Giant: Manny Trillo, Mark Carreon, Ramon Martinez. Willie McGee has almost twice as many. Those aren't exactly lifelong Giants. Most of them are blips who came and went before we could process it. Yet even though they were all around for longer, it's Scutaro who will forever be a part of Giants lore.
Forget the postseason stuff for a second, or at least pretend to. I like the guy. I really, really enjoyed watching him play baseball, but I also enjoyed his quiet, kid-in-the-back-of-the-class persona. Mind you, it's the kid in the back of the class who makes the most amazing snarky comments once a week. He's funny, charming, and cool. Just a delightful baseball player. If you doubt these words, watch this documentary:
And he could hit, even after Matt Holliday tried to murder him.
I don't know what's left for Scutaro, other than possibly solving mysteries with Freddy Sanchez on a USA Network comedy-drama. Maybe he'll get well enough to get a single pinch-hitting appearance in September, which will end with an opposite-field single to wild, uncontrollable applause from the home crowd. Or maybe he'll just disappear, returning as often as Sanchez does (that is, never).
If that's really the last we'll see of him in a Giants uniform, though, best of luck. Thanks for everything. No, seriously, thanks for everything. Charlie Culberson could hit 500 home runs in his career, and the Scutaro trade is still one of the greatest deals in franchise history. In this holiday season, don't forget that the Rockies already gave us one of the best gifts of all: Drafting Casey Weathers two picks before Madison Bumgarner. But also Marco Scutaro.
Happy holidays, everyone. Leave a plate of cookies and milk for Marco Scutaro, just in case he swings by, and wish him the best. If this is the end, he deserved a better one. But at least he gave us the gift of some of the best baseball memories a baseball player can give..