With a victory last night, the San Francisco Giants became 2014 World Series Champions and claimed their third title in five seasons. Here’s what crossed my mind as it happened.
A few things went through my mind as the San Francisco Giants raced into the infield to embrace one another in celebration last night after Pablo Sandoval1 caught game seven’s final out. Here are the ones I could remember:
1. JESUS CHRIST, MADISON BUMGARNER IS A BEAST:
I mean a beast. Stud starters coming into the game late in a series in a relief appearance isn’t exactly new, but there’s still a novelty there. Bumgarner coming in for five2 shutout innings in relief in game seven, on two days of rest was an historic feat— no pitcher had done it since Sandy Koufax. Bumgarner picked up two wins and a save during the series making his MVP win a lock. In 21 World Series innings logged, Bumgarner’s ERA was a ridiculous 0.43.
2. WOW, MADISON BUMGARNER, EH?:
If I asked just about any baseball fan on the planet who the best pitcher is baseball was back on October 1, just about anyone would have said Clayton Kershaw. A few might have been a little cheeky and said Felix Hernandez. We all knew how good Bumgarner is when it matters, he’s pitched well for the Giants in the postseason before, but the argument could have been made that the injured Matt Cain was still the Giants’ ace. Anyone even want to argue Kershaw vs. Bumgarner at this point?
3. I’M GLAD THE GIANTS WON, BUT THIS SUCKS FOR THE ROYALS’ FANS:
It does, right? The Royals had no business making it this far and yet they just kept plugging away. People had made the unflattering comparison between them and the 2007 Colorado Rockies as the little team that got hot at the right time but would be found out in the World Series. The Royals put that talk to bed with their performance in the series, especially in the back-to-the-wall game six at home where they battered the Giants. This was no fluke. But … that doesn’t mean they’ll be back any time soon, and that’s what hurts. Royals fans have endured a lot of terrible, terrible teams since the George Brett days; no one would have begrudged them a victory in the series.
4. PABLO SANDOVAL IS A FREE AGENT:
I’m torn here, I really am. I love Pablo Sandoval. I love the New York Yankees. Our third base situation is not good. I would love to see Pablo in pinstripes, but the Giants hold a little soft spot in my heart and part of that is because of Sandoval. I think deep-down inside, I hope he stays, but did I mention our third base situation is really not good?
5. IS JOE PANIK THE NEXT— NO, HE CAN’T BE. CAN HE?
Is Joe Panik the next Derek Jeter?
There, I said it. It crossed my mind, okay? Throughout the playoffs, but especially the World Series, I couldn’t help but feel like the last time I saw a rookie come into the playoffs so ready to be in the playoffs was when I was a young lad and Derek Jeter was leading the Yankees to their first championship in my lifetime. Panik wasn’t exactly leading the Giants statistically, but he was unquestionably composed and he was definitely doing Jeter-y things:
It would obviously be ridiculous for me to say Joe Panik will be a hall of famer and go down as the greatest of his generation, but it would have been ridiculous for me to say it of Jeter in 1996 too. It happens.
Regardless, Grantland‘s Jonah Keri pointed out on twitter last night that the Giants control Panik’s contract until 2020, so I think they’re set at second base.
6. THIS GIANTS TEAM SURE SEEMS LIKE A GREAT GROUP:
Watching the post-game interviews, what struck me most about each of the players was the fact that they all seemed like well-spoken, composed and humble human beings. It’s a breath of fresh air, especially after a Red Sox World Series4. From manager Bruce Bochy, a future hall of famer, down to guys like Mike Morse and Joe Panik5 who haven’t been through this before. They all just sounded … I don’t know, alike. And not in the athlete’s platitudes way, either — they all spoke candidly, it just seemed to me a sign of how tight-knit this group is.
We’re beginning to see the dawn of the every-other-year dynasties in sports more than the 3-peat ones we used to. Part of it has to do with just how hard it is to repeat as champions, and part of it, I think, has to do with the effects of free agency and an organization’s ability to rebuild around a core. I don’t think the Giants or the Spurs or the Blackhawks/Kings should be discounted as dynasties, either, I think it’s just a reflection of how things work now.
7. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE PLAYOFF BASEBALL:
I love European Football, and the NBA and NHL Finals are great when one of my teams are involved, but there is absolutely nothing like a World Series between two good teams. Nothing. Playoff baseball is amazing.
If you know this to be true, first, congratulations on not being a moron6 and second, quickly run and find an eight-year-old and make sure they know it too. Baseball could use your help.