The 2014 World Series film was on MLB Network last night and darned if I didn’t get sucked into watching the whole thing. Besides being reminded of the deaths of Yordano Ventura and Oscar Taveras, the film highlighted a couple of other noteworthy things that have had a lasting impact on the game:
- Third time through the order penalty. Bruce Bochy’s almost nonchalant approach to letting Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong face batting orders for a third time really hurt him. The Giants’ rotation was pretty washed outside of Bumgarner but it made sense to not burn burn out the quirky bullpen — still, come on. The “third time through the order penalty” feels like it has become conventional wisdom at this point.
- Bumgarner revolutionized the game. Once someone won the World Series using a starter, everything became fair game. It took until this season for the specialization to really take hold, but let’s definitely look at how necessity became the mother of invention.
Less importantly, the Giants used to be a really good team at hitting pitches 95+ mph, and the only reason they’re not now is because the core of the lineup has gotten older. This, I am going to say, is the only reason why the Giants are no longer a competitive baseball team: they’re just old. Selfishly, I’d like to think that the game of baseball changed specifically to combat the orange and black menace, favoring high pitches, high velocities and the strikeout to combat a contact-hungry team.
Mainly, I think it’s pretty clear that the Giants’ time has passed. Let’s welcome what’s next.