It’s Postseason Inside
The bearded closer stares intently towards the plate, looking in for the sign. The rookie catcher puts down one finger, and the closer comes set. He goes into his delivery as time slows down. Through all the disappointment marred by double plays, crippling defeat at the hands of the Padres, and the torture that is Giants baseball, it has all culminated in this one, final pitch of the regular season. The mohawked flamethrower rears back and delivers. One 98 mph fastball and a swing-through later, the Giants are the champions of the National League West.
The last time the Giants experienced postseason play, they went wire-to-wire. The torture we’ve become accustomed to this season wasn’t quite as prevalent, and things were peachy going into the first round against the eventual World Series Champion Florida Marlins. I was a mere 15 years-old, already jaded by defeat in 2002. I would of course once again taste disappointment after J.T. Snow couldn’t beat a throw to the plate by left fielder Jeff Conine.
Now it’s 2010 and things are different. The Giants are returning to the postseason with a flourish, on the collective backs of a lights-out pitching staff and a troupe of misfits. Buster Posey is, as a rookie, one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. Tim Lincecum quieted the doubters who thought his career was already in decline in August. Aubrey Huff, the man that nobody wanted during the offseason, became an integral part of a playoff baseball team. Minor League journeyman Andres Torres became one of the best outfielders in the National League. This is a year where enough has come together to make the average fan think that this team may be special.
I honestly cannot recall a team I’ve been more fond of than this 2010 group. It’s a bunch of guys who had no business being as good as they were. They defied the writers at the beginning of the season who thought the Dodgers and Rockies were going to be the toast of the NL West, and they’ve lit up a town that hasn’t had the pleasure of postseason baseball since 2003. Walk around San Francisco in a Giants cap at any point during this season and there’s a good chance you were stopped by someone who wanted to discuss Buster Posey’s game-calling ability.
Today’s game could be considered special for any number of innings. Jonathan Sanchez, a guy who was barely batting his waist-size this season, hit a no-doubter triple. Freddy Sanchez drove him in after a disappointing Andres Torres strikeout. Aubrey Huff followed with an RBI double, and suddenly the Giants had their first lead of the series. After a clutch strikeout by Ramon Ramirez with Adrian Gonzalez lurking on deck and a Buster Posey home run, it all came down to one pitch from Brian Wilson.
After striking out William Venable on three pitches, the usually stoic Buster Posey jumped up from his crouch behind the plate, threw his mask aside, and sprinted to the mound to embrace Brian Wilson. The Padres, a team that had completely owned the Giants all year, was sent backing, David Eckstein and all. Next up, the Braves come to town. In the meantime, I’ll be riding the high of my first postseason experience as a fan since I started blogging.