On the first pitch of the game, Brandon Crawford ranged far to his right to spear a sharp ground ball. The on-screen graphic had just faded from the screen, and there he was, throwing a fastball from deep in the hole, across his body, and beating a fast runner by 10 feet. It wasn't the best play of Crawford's career, not even close. It was the most Crawford play of his career, though. It was the kind of play that you expect him to make, even though you're completely flabbergasted that he can make it. Call it Brandon's Paradox. You expect him to make the plays that no one should make.
On the 89th pitch of the game, Buster Posey hit an awful changeup into the land where awful changeups go to die. The ball came tumbling inside, forcing Posey to bring his arms in just a bit, but the swing was pure and powerful. It was one of the best kinds of dingers -- the kind that you know is gone before the camera cuts away to a shot of the field.
People ask me why I still watch Giants games. I tell them because I have to, and when they laugh, I just keep staring at them, silent and motionless, until they get uncomfortable and walk away. But even if I didn't have to watch these games, I would. I know just how baseball-sick I really am, and I know just how much I'll miss this stupid game when it gets dark shortly after lunch.
When I was a kid, I'd come in from playing outside and ask my mom two questions: 1. what's the score, and 2. any home runs? She always had an answer, whether it was 1985 or 1989. She was watching if the Giants were contending, and she was watching if the Giants were the worst team in franchise history. Most of the time, the Giants were somewhere in the middle, ranging from simply bad to not good enough. The default Giants game of my youth was meaningless. Somehow it still hooked me.
After watching the 49ers game, most of it on fast-forward because I guessed the plot twist (that the Niners were going to lose by 577 points) right away, I felt sleepy, almost concussed. It's almost 100º over here, and I'm tired, hungover, and lazy. A little hungry, too. The last thing I wanted to do was watch another dreary Giants loss, the slow suffocation of another scoreless game. After that Crawford play, though, I got really, really excited to baseball the hell out of my Sunday. One pitch, and it was like someone waved smelling salts under my nose. The smelling salts smelled like baseballs. My word, what a play.
Then the Giants didn't score for five innings, and I fell asleep on the couch for a bit.
But! Alejandro De Aza hit a double to end the longest scoreless streak in the history of North American sports, give or take, and Posey followed with a dinger. The Giants won, and Crawford and Posey reminded you that this team was supposed to be good this year, and that this should be good next year. That's about all you can ask for, other than a championship every year. This Sunday turned out to be a fine day to baseball.
Tim Hudson isn't going to be with the team next year, so it's a little trickier divining meaning out of his outing, other than that it was enjoyable to watch. One of my secret baseball thrills is thinking, "Just needs a grounder here for the double play" right before a sinkerballer gets exactly that, and Hudson accommodated me twice on that front. It was a fine tuneup for what should be an emotional start against the A's next week.
It's a shame that the Giants are so far out of it, it's not even fun to scoreboard-watch anymore. It's a shame that the upcoming Dodgers series isn't going to mean anything, other than as a tuneup for them before the postseason. And it's a shame that injuries and poor timing ruined what could have been a fine season.
But Brandon Crawford made a brilliant play and Buster Posey hit a long dinger. Some baseball days are better than others. Cherish the good baseball days. Mentally skipping over Chip Hale's dumb, tedious pitching changes and getting right to the dingers will help with that. We're all going to miss these bozos so much in about two weeks.