By my count, I watched the Giants play baseball for 20 days out of the last 365. As in, 20 full days, night and day, for 24 straight hours. If you break them up into 16-hour shifts, it's a full month of watching Giants baseball and sleeping for six hours before getting up and watching it again.
That's a lot of baseball, alright, and the odds are fair that you have a similarly impressive tally. It's the winter, so you've forgotten just how long the baseball season is. It's long. As such, it's completely unfair to dismiss the entire season because the Giants didn't make the postseason. In the middle of those hours and hours, there were beautiful moments, stunning moments, sad moments, and baseball moments. You'll remember this season for something.
Let's figure out what that something is. To help figure this out, let's go back 10 years and recall what each of those seasons was remembered for.
I do not remember a thing from this season, and we are off to a bad start.
Okay, fine, let's see ... Matt Cain's first full season. Brian Wilson's debut. The Shea Hillenbrand Era. Two different 41-year-old starting outfielders. The best season of Ray Durham's career. But you can see how all of these things are a stretch.
Barry Bonds breaking the career home run record, then playing in his final game, is a pretty freaking substantial franchise moment.
Also, this was the All-Star Game season, and I'm pretty bummed that we have to wait another 22 years or so before the next one.
Tim Lincecum's first Cy Young and the emergence of Pablo Sandoval. As much as I like to pick on the 2008 season, those two things are more than most awful teams can claim every year.
Jonathan Sanchez breaks the no-hitter drought, and Lincecum wins his second Cy Young.
Let's see ... Mark DeRosa's injury was pretty disappointing and John Bowker was traded. Other than that, I can't remember much.
Ryan Vogelsong's renaissance and Buster Posey's injury. The Carlos Beltran trade probably deserves to be up here, but when I think of '11, I think Vogelsong and Posey, over and over again.
Possibly the best season in franchise history, from the perfect game to the MVP season to the postseason comebacks to the World Series win.
Tim Lincecum's no-hitter was almost certainly the highlight, considering that I remember almost less of this season than I do of the 2006 season. Maybe that's not fair to Kensuke Tanaka.
Eric Chavez ruined part of this season, of course. I'll never forgive him for that.
You know, some years are easier to label and remember than others.
Okay, so you get what we're going for. It doesn't have to be a game, player, accomplishment, or milestone, but it's probably one of those. What will you remember the 2015 season for?
Chris Heston's no-hitter, for one. It was a dazzling game to watch, and it came from a hilariously unexpected source. It made you feel like the Giants were going to kick that every-other-year business.
Madison Bumgarner's dingers. His pitching was superlative, too, of course. But the dingers were truly special. You can include the other Giants pitchers here, too, if you want. Mike Leake, Ryan Vogelsong, and Jake Peavy all hit beautiful home runs, and the idea of the DH looked progressively dumber with each one.
Brandon Crawford's Gold Glove season. Saying goodbye to Jeremy Affeldt and Tim Hudson. Jarrett Parker's absurd three-homer game. These will all have a place in the lore of 2015.
For me, though, the season will be defined as The Year We Figured Out that Joe Panik and Matt Duffy Were Really, Really Good. If the Giants come back with the even-year nonsense this year, or if they make the postseason at all, we can point back to 2015 as when it all started. Not just because Panik and Duffy are (hopefully) helping the Giants get back, but because their presence allowed the Giants to spend hundreds of millions on pitchers and extend their All-Star shortstop at the same time.
If the Giants are good for the next few years, their infield should be a huge reason why. This is the year that we realized, my word, the Giants' window doesn't necessarily have to be closing at all. A couple of first-year players might be propping it wide open.
Also, 2015 was the year when Madison Bumgarner rode a horse on the field.
Happy New Year, everyone! May the next year of your life be an even year.