This site will not turn into McDuffy Chronicles. If we could get over Matt Williams, we’ll make it through this Duffless apocalypse just fine. This will be the last Matt Duffy post until the next one, I promise.
But it doesn’t feel right to shoo Duffy out the door with a hodge-podge of “Here’s why the trade did/didn’t make sense” articles, all focusing on WAR or what have you. There needs to be a celebratory post that he existed and was on the Giants in the first place. Don’t worry. I’m not going to get all sentimental and focus on things that will make you sad, like this:
Just the good plays, folks. The best plays. The best plays of Matt Duffy’s career as a Giant. Starting with ...
There are too many great plays to include — dives to his left, dives to his right, and a surprising number of over-the-shoulder catches — so this one will serve as a proxy for all the rest. There’s nothing worse than another pitcher trying to out-Bumgarner Bumgarner at the plate, especially against Bumgarner. Duffy saved all that, even if the Giants lost the game.
Oh, okay, one more play:
Some of this ...
That’s what I’ll miss the most. The glove. It was absolutely remarkable to watch a left side of the infield like that.
4. This triple you probably forgot about
While this is Duffy’s biggest game-changing hit, as defined by Win Probability Added, it’s also here to stand as a proxy for all of the game-tying and lead-changing hits in his too-brief Giants career. He did it 34 times, and those were all times you pumped your fist and shrieked something about Matt Duffy being a gift.
3. Walkoff #1
This was one of the last times the Giants rallied from behind in the ninth inning against a closer — turns out it’s kind of rare. Maybe that’s why the Giants are so generous when it comes to giving other teams a chance to do it. They’re hoping for some karma.
Also, Matt Duffy hits walkoff hits on Mother’s Day because he loves his mother. You should call your mother right now and tell her that Duffy told you to.
2. Walkoff #2
Even if Gerardo Parra bumble-twisted his way around on this play (think about him the next time you’re mad at Denard Span, and remember it could be worse), it still counts as one of the greatest Duffy moments. He smoked the ball, which led to Parra’s confusion, and it led to an extra-innings win the Giants were desperate for. There’s nothing worse than an extra-innings loss at home, what with all the chances to come up and end the game with one swing. Duffy spared us the misery.
1. The Mad Dash
The Giants lost the game, and that used to bug me. Just like the famous J.T. Snow home run, it seemed like a smaller footnote to a larger, sadder story.
But the Giants won the series, so we can reclaim this. Also, it’s just an incredibly awesome play that’s worth watching over and over again. If you listen carefully, you can hear Cardinals fans being really, really sad. The different angles are perfect to notice how Duffy never took the play for granted. There would have been a lot of players who would have jogged into third, only to speed up and retreat once they figured out that Tony Cruz couldn’t find the ball.
Instead, it was one of the most exciting plays in Giants postseason history. If you think that’s hyperbolic, you’re overestimating just how much postseason history one team can have, even with the Golden Age. The Giants were down to their final strike, and then the pinch-running rookie zipped around to score from second on a wild pitch.
That’s just how he did it.
Right. And I’m just glad we got to watch it for as long as we did. We’ll get over it. That’s the nature of baseball. Players get old, players go away. This was one of the more abrupt endings to a favored player’s career that I can remember, though, and that gives it an entirely different feel. It’ll sting for a good long while.
We’ll have videos like the above, though. We’ll always have the mad dash and the triples into the gap. Thanks to Matt Duffy, and best of luck.