The Giants could have lost 11-2, and the top story would have been the return of Hunter Pence. Forget the game, I would have written, pretending to believe it. Forget the game and focus on Hunter Pence coming back. It was glorious, it was magnificent, I had a tear in my eye the whole time.
You can run your fancy WAR lists and tell me that Pence is good, not great, but I'm talking about how fun he is to watch. Here, everyone, is a player who plays like Sonic the Hedgehog wearing uneven stilts, and he's ours. All ours. It's so much fun. And it's really, really fun when he's going right. According to Mike Krukow on the CSN broadcast, Pence texted Bruce Bochy something like, "I'M SWINGING THE BAT WELL. BRING ME UP," which prompted the move.
In his first at-bat, you could see what Pence was talking about. Watch the video. Enjoy the screenshot!
That's the swing that Pence uses when he's right. Short, direct, quick. When he's shooting balls into the opposite-field gap, he's right. A swing like that makes me think of one thing: Geico Geico Geico Reds.com Reds.com Reds.com.
Wait, no, I mean, it makes me think that Pence is ready to go on a freaky streak. If he does, great. I like when the San Francisco Giants win baseball games. If that's not what that means, well, at least we get to watch the guy. I wish one of us from the future could have written a guest column after the trade in 2012. He's so much fun.
You what I just thought of? Pence, a player with a beloved Giants legacy, showing up at the ballpark in 40 years. What is he going to be like as an old man??? The next time I worry about getting older, I'm going to stop myself and think, "Hold on, there. Every year that passes is another chance you get to see Hunter Pence as an old man."
That's a pretty fair trade, mortality. That's a pretty fair trade.
Brandon Crawford was already a mighty fine player. He's threatening to become something much more than that.
Brandon Crawford's going to start the All-Star Game.— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) April 8, 2015
Yes, thank you, tweet from the past, brought up to make me look smart in the future. I agree that things are pointing in that direction, considering that people give zero bothers about Zack Cozart or Jhonny Peralta. Also, Troy Tulowitzki left his last game with a quad injury -- not the muscle, he had four different injuries at the same time, suffered while putting a donut on his bat. Crawford is one of the more recognizable names on the ballot, and he plays for an inspired fanbase that loves to click click click in the odd years to remember the even years before the odd years get too odd. Also, his manager gets to choose the reserves. Soooooooo ...
Here's what Crawford's slash line looks like right now: .277/.372/.504. Let's be clear as to what that line represents. That's a Hall of Famer. Not an All-Star, not a nice player to have. A Hall of Famer. The caveat, of course, is that Crawford would need to do this for 10 years, at least, which isn't likely to happen. But that's what a Hall of Fame shortstop is. He's someone who hits like this and fields like that for a decade. Don't worry about Crawford's ability to play like this for a decade. Just appreciate that he's doing it right now. When he makes contact, he hits the ball hard.
Let's all remember back when the Giants called him up randomly in 2011, when it seemed like he was far, far too green for the majors. Someone smart saw something. Give that someone a raise.
I had an idea to rank grand slams in the AT&T Park era, with a special consolation ranking of all the home runs I had forgotten. Except there was a twist. I remember a ton of them.
That's not a boast or a way to claim superiority when it comes to Giants trivia. Just a way to point out that grand slams really are special. You're thinking about it every time the bases are loaded. Most of the time, it doesn't happen. About one to six times a year, though, the hitter gets his pitch and does that marvelous thing.
Here's a list of the grand slams from the past 15 seasons. How many memories does that list bring up? Edgar Renteria, down by three, then up by one?
Heck, yeah. I remember that. Brian Dallimore? One of the best ever. Crawford in his debut? Another legendary moment. Heck, I even remember Jose Guillen off of Chris Narveson, the surprise and thrill of it all. Grand slams are the best, the very best.
Right! That was another one. Crawford's fits into that proud legacy.
Ranking Crawford's career grand slams:
3. This thing that we just watched
4. This one that I vaguely remember, even though I just spent a lot of time explaining that I remember them all like they're all my precious children
Grand slams are neat, everyone. Brandon Crawford hits a lot of them, for some reason.
I had a note here to write about Brandon Belt being good again, but then he was overshadowed. Somehow, that's the Beltiest thing possible, so I'm okay with it. Keep belting, Belt.
The Giants have scored 35 runs in their last five games. They scored 19 during their eight-game losing streak earlier in the year. It's almost like baseball has a long season, filled with ups and downs and sidewayses. I'll have to remember that next year.
The last time the Giants scored 10 or more in back-to-back games was in 2012, and that was at Coors.
WE'RE GOING TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES, EVERYONE.