About a week ago, Bryan wrote an article seeking to discover which Giants players would be which characters from Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. I’m copy and pasting it into a new article, and replacing the Marvel characters with players from the Golden State Warriors?
Why? Because the Giants are 16-15. Avengers: Infinity War is full of superheroes with superpowers who do super things. The Warriors are two wins away from their fourth consecutive Western Conference Finals, and have won two titles in the last three years.
Both of those things are very, very, very good, while the Giants currently spin the wheels of mediocrity. The hope is that by linking them with the superpowers of Black Panther, or the super duper uber powers of Steph Curry, that the Giants can siphon some of those abilities and emerge as something even more compelling than average.
There are a lot fewer players on the Warriors than on the Giants, so apologies to Evan Longoria, Nick Hundley, and the myriad other Giants who are excused from this silly exercise.
Giant: Buster Posey
This is . . . I mean . . . .come on. Duh.
There are 59 athletes employed by the Giants and Warriors. Two of them would cause a city-wide revolt if traded. We’re talking municipalities shutting down, workers refusing to do their jobs, and an overthrow of every mayor south of Santa Rosa and north of San Jose if Posey or Curry were dealt.
These players are the face of their respective franchise, and deservingly so. They’re elite players who have won MVPs, and dragged a team in an extreme championship drought to multiple titles.
They also represent their team very well off the field and court. It’s nearly impossible to imagine a scandal or PR disaster with Posey or Curry. They’re what every team dreams of for their franchise player: respectful and quiet when not playing, with a wife and adorable kids, and hilariously bland endorsements (we’re talking Toyota for Posey and Brita water filters for Curry. If I were a professional athlete I’d be sponsored by, like, Dom Perignon and Gucci or something).
I’ve also always thought that they kinda look similar, but no one seems to agree with me.
Giant: Andrew McCutchen
The parallels between McCutchen and Durant are strong. Both played nine seasons for the team that drafted them, won an MVP, and earned numerous All-Star nods, but ultimately fell short of winning it all. Then they headed to the Bay Area to play for their second team, where they were embraced by a fanbase that adored them.
Durant finally found what he was searching for - a ring - in his first season with the Warriors, so what I’m obviously saying here is that the Giants will win the World Series this year. The Golden State comparisons foretell it, and they are probably never wrong most of the time.
Giant: Madison Bumgarner
Green and Bumgarner are kind of like Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson in their respective Batman films. They both play the same role, they just go about it in very different ways.
Ultimately, these are the two emotional hearts of each team. Bumgarner is the (usually) stoic linchpin of the Giants; when the team is struggling, you can almost see them counting down the days until his next start. Green is the loud and fiery leader of the Warriors’ locker room, who keeps the engine running with his leadership and his willingness to call anyone out.
Their demeanors couldn’t be further from each other, but they both start and end at the same place. They’re also two of the baddest dudes in their respective sports, and are never afraid to mix it up and get in a scuffle. And they are two people who I emphatically wish to never mix it up and get in a scuffle with. You want them on your side.
They also are at their best when it matters most. We all know what Bumgarner did in the 2014 World Series, particularly in Game 7. But lost in the madness of Warriors’ heartbreak was what Green did in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals: 32 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists. These two live for the moment, and shine their brightest at times when I would undoubtedly pee my pants.
Giant: Johnny Cueto
If you could hang out with any Giant, who would it be? If you could hang out with any Warrior, who would it be? If your answers are not Cueto and Thompson, then you are probably a really boring person. No offense intended (a little offense intended. Seriously, live a little.).
These two are laid back, down to earth, easily entertained, and seem to keep their entire team from getting wound too tight. They represent every good Bay Area stereotype, while leaving out all of the bad ones. I mean, come on, just look at their Instagrams:
Giant: Brandon Belt
If you judge athletes based on counting stats, then you probably think Iguodala and Belt aren’t that good. Iguodala averaged 6.0 points this year, which, on the bright side, put him among the top 300 scorers in the league. Belt last year had 18 home runs and 51 RBI, relatively benign numbers for a first baseman.
But if you judge athletes based on counting stats you probably also put the milk in the bowl before the cereal. Shame on you.
Dig a little deeper into the stats (or just use some common sense for crying out loud), and it becomes clear that these are two very, very good players. Like, very, very, very good.
Giant: Jeff Samardzija
I’m fairly certain that, if West made it his life goal, he could be a Dothraki khal within five years. And Samardzija was a highly successful football player, meaning letting 250-pound dudes hit him as hard as they could was his idea of a fun Saturday.
Giant: Hunter Pence
If Cueto and Thompson keep their teams calm and happy with their laid back demeanor, McGee and Pence do the same thing through their exuberance and energy. Pence rides a scooter to games. McGee wears fanny packs to the arena. Both are experimenting with multimedia and entertainment careers, and both seem to absolutely adore life. They’re happy fellows, even as their roles on their teams dwindle.
Giant: Joe Panik
Both players are quiet and both players are injured, and that’s all I want to say on the matter.
Giant: Mac Williamson
Cook and Williamson both deserved to start the season on some team’s roster. Neither did. Williamson was the Giants’ best outfielder in Spring Training, but fell victim to the “you have options and these veterans are veterans” game, which was always rigged against him. He started the year in AAA.
Cook fell victim to NBA GMs refusing to acknowledge that players who can’t jump through walls and dunk over tall objects can still be valuable. He was cut by two teams in training camp, before signing a two-way deal with the Warriors, which put him in the G League for much of the year.
Injuries opened the door for both players, and both proved that they deserved full-time roles. And that is where the comparison ends, because Cook was forced out of the rotation when Curry returned and I am not willing to recognize the (likely) possibility that the Giants let Pence do the same to Williamson.
Giant: Derek Holland
Used to be pretty darn good? Check.
Not very good anymore? Check.
Still serves an important role that the team needs? Check.
Goofy as hell? Check.
Giant: Andrew Suarez
This is the rookie year for both Bell and Suarez. There are reasons to believe they are both a fair bit better than some of the people in front of them. Yet Bell is relegated to the back of the bench, and Suarez is only getting starts because the entire Giants rotation shared a bad burrito that had very prolonged effects.
Still, they’ll both be playing big roles as early as next season, so at least there’s that.
Giant: Tony Watson
They say the mark of a good waiter is that you don’t notice them. That is also the mark of a good setup man in baseball, and a good seventh or eighth man in basketball. You never really notice when Watson or Livingston is in the game, and that’s a good thing. They handle business effectively and reliably, and that’s that.
Giant: Brandon Crawford
Crawford is an everyday player, and Looney has suddenly become the Warriors’ most-played big man. And the reason for each is the same: defense. Looney is not quite the defensive wizard that Crawford is, but his contributions on that end of the court have been stellar as of late, and he has been a critical part of the Warriors jumping out to a 2-0 series lead against Anthony Davis, the best big man in basketball.
Both players struggle offensively, but Crawford has the past results, and Looney the potential, to give them both decent offensive ceilings.
Giant: Tyler Beede
For a while now, the Giants have been talking about how good Beede is, and how he’ll be a huge contributor for the team. We expected him to play last year, and maybe even the year before. Yet, to this point, he’s made two starts, both this year, and pitched only 7.2 innings at the big league level. He remains high on their radar, even though he’s back in Sacramento.
Jones, who was a first round pick last year, is held in high enough regard by the Warriors that they picked up his option for next season back in October. Yet here we are, two seasons in, and he’s played 174 minutes, nearly exclusively in garbage time.
Sooner or later, these two need to prove that they belong. And sooner or later, their teams need to give them the opportunity to prove that.
Giant: Pablo Sandoval
I’m going to end this with a story. A few years ago, when Young played for the Los Angeles Lakers, I found myself out of toothpaste as I was getting ready for bed. It was late, but CVS is only a block from my apartment, so I took the short walk.
When I got to CVS, there was a bright blue Ferrari outside, parked sideways across two handicapped parking spots. I thought to myself “Huh, I wonder what celebrity that is.”
I walked inside and there was Young, in the Hallmark card section, grinning as he looked through cards. I got my toothpaste and a bottle of wine for good measure, and left. The whole time, Young never stopped looking through cards, or smiling.
I wasn’t even remotely surprised.
So I ask you: if you saw a brightly colored exotic car parked sideways outside of a store in San Francisco, would you be all that surprised to enter and see Sandoval, entertained by punny birthday cards?
I doubt it.