And then you watched the series finale of Tim Hudson: Major League Pitcher. Perhaps you felt some emotions. Perhaps you recalled fond memories. Perhaps you still found it difficult to forget what he looked like in a Braves uniform. In any case, Hudson's time as a Giant might've been short lived, but it was memorable in that it was exactly what everyone expected it to be from the moment he signed: mostly effective.
Like his previous start in Oakland, though, we caught only a glimpse of those expectations, that flash of Hudsonness, today. A double play grounder in the first inning off of a vintage Hudson sinker. That one final pitcher's best friend. And he struck out the hot rookie Corey Seager in the second inning for that one final punch out. And then the rest? The rest of the start was the merciless grip of age imposing its will for one final squeeze. One final reminder that there was no escape from... the end. But, really, what more did we expect and what more did we need?
Tim Hudson got to walk off the mound to cheers. He got to walk off the mound without an injury. He didn't get a win and his teammate (also retiring) might've cashed in some of his runs to unfairly pad that final ERA, *but*...
Tim Hudson threw 46,631 pitches and faced 13,005 batters in his career— Bill Arnold (@sfgwire) October 1, 2015
Tim Hudson, active leader in career wins (222), making his final start. Follow: https://t.co/ZuNaBqBRiU— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 1, 2015
... he had a helluva career. Adored by teammates, too. He somehow befriended Madison Bumgarner, which seems about as likely as Gambit befriending Wolverine (and if they actually were friends in the comics, then please know that I'm working off of very superficial knowledge of and zero interest in comic books). He seemed like a better option than Jake Peavy in the World Series. And the Giants' 2014 would've imploded for 3+ months instead of 2 had he not buoyed the rotation in the first half of the season. He supported to The Dynasty.
Tim Hudson was the Giants organization's Platonic ideal of a sinkerballer and there's something to be said about seeing a legend in action and having your faith rewarded. He was never more than claimed to be and he was never a disappointment.
Enjoy that ride into the sunset, Huddy.
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Tim Hudson's final game wasn't the day's only transaction, though. Jeremy Affeldt is winding down his final season. This is, in his enchilada-crazed mind, Ryan Vogelsong's final week with the team. And, Marlon Byrd will probably be back with the Giants next season or els file a grievance against the team.
This will give Byrd more time to acclimate himself to Triples' Alley some more. Andre Ethier's triple in the second inning wasn't Byrd's fault or anything silly like that, but the way he played the ball certainly showed a bit of unfamiliarity with the park's dimensions. A 39-year old running all that way before having to turn and catch his bearings to make a catch of an absolutely scorched ball is a difficult thing to do and it will only get more difficult as he gets even older, but Marlon Byrd in right field is a reminder that we will all be very thankful once Hunter Pence and Gregor Blanco can play baseball again.
And we all know that Jeremy Affeldt's place in San Francisco Giants history is secure. He's one of the best. Literally no one on the entire planet could've predicted that five years ago.
If this it for Ryan Vogelsong as a San Francisco Giant, then he slots in nicely with the Russ Ortizes of the world in terms of Good Giant-ness.
Brett Anderson's brutal efficiency and the quiet ground balls he induced all day really helped make a half-empty stadium (coupled with the day's news) feel like a funeral or a wake more than a baseball game and to that I say, kudos arch rivals. Way to really remind the Giants of how dead they are.
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One thing to keep in mind: the Giants have lost a lot of games this year. It's been really unpleasant to watch. The afternoon's 3-2 loss of a series finale with the Dodgers, therefore, doesn't warrant too much analysis. The Giants' bats were completely silenced against a groundball pitcher 100% on his game and the Dodgers defense made some great plays to help him out. Brett Anderson had a Tim Hudson game, which really stinks when you think about it, but then again, the Dodgers have been robbing the Giants of a lot of opportunities this season and all you can do is be like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Another thing to keep in mind: Adrian Gonzalez kills the Giants. He should never be pitched to again.
One more thing to keep in mind: Kelby Tomlinson's opposite field approach will be picked apart by opposing pitching staffs during the offseason and his adjustment to that adjustment will be what defines him as a major leaguer, because otherwise, Kelby Tomlinson has really looked like that scrappy utility guy the Giants think he can be. That's a pretty remarkable turn of events. Really. We should be obnoxious about it: the Giants have finally developed position players. Consistently. And the players are kinda who they project them to be. That's incredible. And, coming into even 2014, something that felt supremely unlikely.
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In a previous article, I failed to consider that the reason the Giants posted on the video board following the clinching loss to the Dodgers #RespecttheRivlary was to dull the potential for disasterous physical fights in the parking lot and surrounding areas after the game. Thankfully, our own Goofus had the good sense to point that out and for that I am appreciative. That is a great reason to post that on the video board.
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Life is hard enough to make go our own way, but baseball is impossible. It abhors planning and laughs at your efforts. Tim Hudson pitched for 17 seasons. He came back from a terrible injury to continue doing what he loved. He won a championship. He was an All-Star. He was beloved by three different (and extraordinarily distinct) fan bases. Maybe he couldn't have planned it all out because that's not how Baseball works, but how he imagined his career going versus how it actually went were surely not far apart, because most players would trade places with him in an instant.