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Remembering all the walk-offs

Hooray for exciting finishes to fun games.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed Tuesday night’s Giants game, have no fear. The important parts of the 12-inning affair live on, through the magic of recorded television.

San Francisco did, perhaps, the most boring thing in baseball: they played a four-hour game, with zero implications or ramifications, against the San Diego Padres. And yet, despite these humdrum parameters, the Giants were able to do the most exciting thing in baseball: win via a walk-off.

Not only that, but they took it a significant step further, by presenting their walk-off courtesy of a pitcher’s lumber.

Cast aside the troubling season, and the steep ascent that awaits the team on their upcoming quest towards relevance. That moment was awesome.

Walk-offs are the great equalizer; with a snap of their imaginary fingers, they make the most mundane games lively, turn a poor series into an exciting one, and not only allow us, but force us to the remember and celebrate the joy in baseball, regardless of prior events and present standings.

The Giants have had 10 walk-off wins this year - that’s one for every 4.2 home wins! And while it is Neruda-levels of poetry to imagine them having three more this weekend, as they slam the postseason door on the fingers of the Dodgers, the odds tell us that this is all until 2019. So let’s look back at them.

September 25 vs the Padres - Madison Bumgarner singles in the 12th

The Giants were out of position players on the bench, so up came Bumgarner, seemingly always ready for the task at hand. The rifled single made him 4-10 pinch-hitting for his career, and allowed him an offensive highlight in a year that is one start away from being dingerless for him.

August 28 vs the Diamondbacks - Gorkys Hernandez singles in the 9th

Even though they are best in big fly mode, walk-offs in 1-0 games are truly special. You, gentle viewer, enter the bottom of the ninth, fully cognizant of the fact that the teams have tried to score 17 times, and 17 times they have failed (or more, if the game is in extras). How much longer will this last, you wonder. How many innings can I watch before I decide that sleep is a preferable use of my time, you ponder.

And then, just like that, the game is over, and you wonder how you ever contemplated leaving it.

July 11 vs the Cubs - Buster Posey singles in the 13th

Kind of cheap that Posey got credited with a single here, since he surely would have had extra bases had the game not ended. But Posey heroics are good. Beating the Cubs is good. And, unlike the two videos above, this one actually mattered (at the time) in the standings!

July 9 vs the Cubs - Pablo Sandoval singles in the 11th

The Giants book-ended a series against the Cubs with extra-inning walk-offs. Plus, Panda walk-offs are extra special since, unlike some players (cough cough MadBum cough cough) he really wants to be part of a celebration.

June 27 vs the Rockies - Brandon Crawford homers in the 9th

As aforementioned, the most sublime walk-off is the 1-0 home run. Please enjoy this example.

June 24 vs the Padres - Hunter Pence doubles in the 11th

If you’re the adrenaline junkie fan who doesn’t find the clamor of a traditional walk-off to be titillating enough, this type of walk-off is for you. While the standard walk-off breaks a tie, the walk-offs equipped with the Sport Package starts with the home team trailing, and manage to both tie and end the game in one swing of the bat. It costs more, but it’s well worth it.

This particular example also featured Hunter Pence, mired in a horrendous slump, in an 0-2 count, swinging at a pitch way outside of the strike zone, and doing vintage Pencian things with it. It was beautiful tomfoolery.

June 6 vs the Diamondbacks - Brandon Crawford singles in the 10th

It’s like I always say: if you’re going to play in the monstrosity of a Facebook game, at least have a dramatic game-tying home run in the ninth (courtesy of Alen Hanson), followed by a walk-off hit in the tenth.

May 30 vs the Padres - Nick Hundley singles in the 9th

Just as with Pence’s double less than a month later (against the same team, no less), Hundley’s single not only gave the Giants the game-ending lead, but tied the game as well. And it came with two outs. And it featured a truly remarkable call by Duane Kuiper, who gave us something new with this one.

April 10 vs the Diamondbacks - Andrew McCutchen singles in the 9th

This was Cutch’s second walk off in four days. It came with the bases loaded, which always adds excitement, even if you only need one run to score. It was quite lovely indeed.

April 7 vs the Dodgers - Andrew McCutchen homers in the 14th

I really don’t feel like I need to explain this one, at all, but let’s just hit some of the crucial points:

1. It was against the Dodgers
2. It happened in the 14th inning
3. It was against the Dodgers
4. The Giants were trailing, against an elite closer
5. It was against the Dodgers
6. It was McCuthen’s seventh game with the Giants
7. It was against the Dodgers
8. It occurred on the 12th pitch of the at-bat
9. It was against the Dodgers
10. It was the third time in the first seven games that the Giants broke the Dodgers’ hearts
11. It was against the Dodgers
12. It was Cutch’s sixth hit of the game
13. It was against the Dodgers
14. Cutch celebrated with equal parts happiness and determination as he left the box
15. It was against the Dodgers

Yeah, that just about covers it.

Walk-offs are fun, and ten times this year the Giants have given their fans the most fun possible ending to a game. And in all ten of those occurrences, they did it with an honest-to-goodness hit, none of that half-assed sacrifice walk-off crap. And just for good measure, eight of the ten walk-offs came against teams within the division.

Thanks for these, Giants. These were fun.