I haven't done any Best of 2014 posts around here because I don't know what the point would be. The best of 2014? If I had to narrow it down, I'd say 2014. The ups. The downs. The worse downs. The downs that made it seem like the Giants were never, ever going to win again. The ups. Then the biggest ups conceivable. The 2014 Giants actually won the World Series. No foolin', the World Series.
They couldn't have done it without Madison Bumgarner. As such, the left-hander was named the Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press. From Janie McCauley's article:
Bumgarner finished first in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors. He beat out Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw — who won the National League Cy Young and MVP. Retiring New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and golfer Rory McIlroy tied for third place. The award was announced Tuesday.
Kershaw won the battle, but Bumgarner won the war. Or, wait, maybe Kershaw won the war, but Bumgarner won a very specific battle at exactly the right time. Or, no, Kershaw won the WAR, but Bumgarner won the war. No, no, Kershaw lost in the postseason, and Bumgarner won in the postseason.
It's all so confusing.
Bumgarner also won Sports Illustrated's coveted Sportsman of the Year award, the NLCS MVP, the World Series MVP, a Silver Slugger, SB Nation's Pitching Performance of the Year award, the McCovey Chronicles Biennial Award For General Excellence and World Series Winning, and probably every Mario Kart 8 match he's ever played because he's good at everything.
It's cold. It's December. We're months from a meaningful baseball game. Here, indulge:
Thank you, Madison Bumgarner. Here's another award.
Hooray for 2014! You were a good friend, 2014.