If you believed in symmetry, in the Giants’ golden era ending the same way it started, or if you believed in the cosmos leaving clues that this wasn’t going to be another capital-letters Even Year, this game had everything. Put yourself in the place of someone looking for signs. This game had ...
- Madison Bumgarner, infallible postseason demigod, looked quite fallible. This is how it should end, with a reminder that no pitcher is perfect. No pitcher has October figured out, and shame on you for getting greedy.
- The opposing pitcher hit a home run, which is a song the Cubs didn’t have permission to cover. That was supposed to be the Giants’ new twist on this year’s nonsense! It was also a sign that the Giants needed to get out of the way.
- Conor Gillaspie was carefully selected to be the decoy, the example of hubris that could not go unpunished. Oh, you thought you deserved another Ishikawa, spoiled Giants fans? Well, here’s an Ishikawa that ends with a blown save on the other side. Suckers. And you couldn’t complain a lick. Because you’re spoiled.
- Also, it had a blown save, period. The Giants had played 50 postseason games before Monday night, and they had never blown a save in the ninth.
- The home run that blew the save bounced of the top of the wall. The Giants have seen that work in their favor, of course. So the symmetry on that one was freaking me out a little.
- It was shaping up to be a super, super long game with the road team using an indefatigable long reliever to absorb innings. After the home team’s heart was pulled through their nose in the ninth. It was the 2014 NLDS Game 2, just in reverse. And you couldn’t complain a lick. Because you’re spoiled.
This felt like the game that had been coming to the Giants for years. They were going to pay interest on all that bullshit. Compound interest! And we would have to sit here and take it.
Turns out the Giants really won that game. Jake Arrieta hit a three-run home run in a game started by Jake Arrieta, and the Giants won. Trailing by a run in the eighth inning, with Aroldis Chapman coming in for a six-inning save, the Giants won. After blowing their 165th save of the season, give or take, and letting the Cubs freak out in jubilation, with chance after chance getting wasted in extra innings, the Giants won.
The Giants won, and they’ll play tomorrow night. Tonight. Whatever.
We can’t pretend like we know what’s going to happen. If you think the good vibrations are flowing through the Giants right now, that’s swell, but the Cubs are still quite good, and they’ll still get two games to end the Giants’ season. The odds are still overwhelmingly in their favor.
And yet I don’t envy them. I don’t envy the weight of the monkey on their back. It’s 400 pounds, and it’s a chain smoker with a hacking cough. They have to look across the field and see a geyser of magical bullshit shooting up into the heavens. It stinks. It gets everywhere. It’s oddly speckled with glitter? But mostly it stinks and gets everywhere.
Conor Gillaspie got a huge two-run triple against Aroldis Chapman, you know. It was the third straight game that Eduardo Nuñez was on the roster but couldn’t quite go. He was batting at the bottom of the order, but then Angel Pagan’s back started spasming?
Let’s check in with Grant’s workplace:
Both of those "Giants win" came simultaneously, mind you. A pop-up window shot up for both replays because I have "Giants" as a ping word. It made me chuckle because, oh, look at the Mariners fan (who assumes the universe is against him) and the Red Sox fan (who is just as arrogant as the rest of us) assuming that the Giants were going to parlay some random injury into an unlikely win. How did the Giants get this unlikely reputation, ha ha. Imagine trying to explain this to someone the night that Ryan Spilborghs hit his homer.
And then it happened.
Maybe this is real.
It is the first week of the postseason, and I have already embedded two different game-winning Conor Gillaspie hits.
IT IS THE FIRST WEEK OF THE POSTSEASON, AND I HAVE ALREADY EMBEDDED TWO DIFFERENT GAME-WINNING CONOR GILLASPIE HITS.
(I know that, technically, Joe Panik had the game-winning hit, but if you can’t count that triple as an honorary game-winning hit, I don’t now what to tell you.)
(Wait, this is probably a good place to drop the game-winning hit.)
I won’t be happy if the Giants are eventually eliminated. I won’t be happy on Tuesday night. I won’t be happy on Thursday night. I won’t be happy in Game 7 of the World Series in an American League ballpark because Johnny Cueto messed the bed in the All-Star Game. But if/when it happens, I’ll think back to the game against the Mets and this game and think but we sure had a couple of moments, didn’t we? We sure had a couple of moments.
And how. The Giants are still alive, and they need to win their next two games to advance. So do the Dodgers. This feels different, though. The arrogance of house money can’t be underestimated, and I look forward to watching how it all unfolds. Kind of.
Baseball really is a hideous sport until it isn’t.
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I’ll donate all of my profits from any shirts sold over the next two days to W.O.M.A.N., Inc., which serves survivors of domestic abuse in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
So buy that shirt. Because literally Conor Gillaspie. Again.
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The Giants will play another baseball game. I don’t know how they’re here. I don’t know how they won. But they’ll play another baseball game.
They just played one of the very best baseball games of the last decade, you know. Maybe when we get the feeling back in our extremities, we’ll appreciate that a little bit more.