Photo credit: Associate Press
I’m sorry for being a day late with this one. As I mentioned, we flew to Vegas on Friday to see the Eagles’ Hotel California show. Standing in line at the MGM Grand to get into the arena for the concert, we saw this poster at a sports memorabilia shop, and…sorry-not-sorry that we missed the event. We did have a great view of the Eiffel Tower from our room.
I was planning to drop a “Ten Years of MadBum” post yesterday morning and even had it about one-third written. But then the Eagles played until 11:45 p.m. on Friday night, and I slept too late to finish the post before we had to move on to the rest of our day and trip home from Vegas. In the meantime, the Giants announced that Bumgarner won’t pitch today after all, so my concept seemed untimely and irrelevant. I’ll keep the draft in case there’s another moment for it, though. Instead, with some partial Eagles riffing, I’ll touch on a few key themes as we head into this final game of the Giants’ 2019 season and Bruce Bochy’s career as their manager. I’ll keep it shorter because we are headed to SF for the game (and it’s a 12:05 start). I’ve also offered to do an extra post, probably tomorrow morning, reporting on the game.
Desperado: Kevin Pillar wins the 2019 Willie Mac Award
“You better let somebody love you before it’s too late”
We were in a cab between dinner and the concert when the award was announced, so I missed the ceremony and the chatter. Did anyone mention whether Pillar is the first WMA winner to have started the season on a different team?
I loved these quotes from Mike Yastrzemski about Pillar in Andrew Baggarly’s piece the other day.
“That’s a guy everyone in this locker room should aspire to be like — knowing how to prepare for a season and knowing what it takes to withstand 162-plus,” Yastrzemski said. “That’s one of the biggest things I’ve taken from this year: seeing the process of guys who have lasted as long as they have. He hasn’t just done it this year. He’s played that amount of games throughout his career. He never takes a day off, never asks for one, never wants one.”
Pillar won in a field of candidates that was surprisingly strong for a team that’s going to finish in third place and well under .500. Congrats to him on being a very deserving winner.
Baggarly (and other beat writers) have been opining that there’s a good chance Pillar might be non-tendered in the offseason rather than being offered a contract in his final arbitration year. That didn’t make sense to me before Friday, and it makes even less now. Farhan Zaidi may still be new to the Giants, but he’s a bright guy, and he’ll understand what the WMA means and how awful it would look to cut the WMA winner loose just a couple months after winning it. So Pillar “let somebody love” him (with the award) “before it’s too late,” get it?
Congratulations to 2019 San Francisco Giants Willie Mac Award Winner, center fielder/iron man Kevin Pillar. pic.twitter.com/VVsfNXzDCs
— Lani Chin (@lchin2) September 28, 2019
Lyin’ Eyes: Dereck Rodriguez Begins & Ends the Giants’ 2019 Home Schedule
“There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes”
We were at the Giants’ home opener on April 5. It was a very emotional experience, what with tributes to the recently passed Willie McCovey and Peter Magowan, the unveiling of the new scoreboard, and the lengthy ovation when Bochy was announced. (You can read the post I wrote about it here.) The starting pitcher for the Giants that day was Dereck Rodriguez, who was still in good standing at the time as part of the Giants’ rotation. In fact, he’d been the winning pitcher in his previous start, the Giants’ first win of the season in San Diego. And he “started off so well, so carefully,” getting the first two outs quickly…and then giving up four runs before the Giants even got to hit, and the way things were going with the Giants’ offense* at that point, the game was basically over ten minutes after it started.
The rest of D-Rod’s year has gone…like that. Though he’s had his moments, there ain’t no way to hide…well, you know. Today, despite all of that, he will take the ball for the Giants’ last game.
*Things with the Giants’ offense are pretty much still the same now.
Facebook Memories reminded me that, exactly six years ago today, I also attended Game 162 at AT & T Park with my brother (who will be joining us today as well, along with my sister and her husband). I hadn’t been planning to go, but a few days earlier, a former student dropped by my office and handed me two tickets as a gift. That was “Goodbye Barry Zito Day.” Hunter Pence capped off a huge weekend, which began with him winning the Willie Mac Award and continued with him signing a five-year contract extension, by hitting the walk-off single for a comeback victory. Our seats were not the greatest (upper corner of right field), but I always really liked this photo. It was a great day and a happy way to end what had been a trying year for the Giants.
Already Gone(?): Two World Series MVPs Take (Perhaps) Their Final Bow at Oracle Park
“I got some news for you/and you’ll soon find out it’s true/then you’ll have to eat your lunch all by yourself”
The end of Bruce Bochy’s 25-year managerial career (13 of them as Giants manager) is the big story, of course. For me as a Giants fan, though, I’m thinking not just of Bochy but of what today may signify. As this post’s title suggests, it’s the end of an era, not just for Bochy himself, but for this championship decade that we’ve so enjoyed (despite its ending with a thud).
Here are the players still with the Giants from the 2010 championship team:
- Pablo Sandoval
- Buster Posey
- Madison Bumgarner
After today, we could be down to just Posey. In addition to Bochy, there are two coaches left from that team–Ron Wotus and Hensley Meulens. All of them could be gone, too. Imagine poor Buster, having to host all the “ten-year reunion” festivities all by himself next year. Well, I guess he could have some help from Murph and maybe Dave Groeschner (if he survives the coming purge, which is no sure thing).
Sandoval, of course, was the 2012 World Series MVP. His Prodigal Son story of leaving the Giants and returning is one of the better feel-good narratives in a decade chock full of them. If this is it for him with the Giants, thanks for everything, Pablo.
Bumgarner was the 2014 MVEverything. It seems like if Zaidi wanted to re-sign Bum, he’d be signed already. We shall see. I can’t do justice to how I feel about him in just a couple of sentences in a longer post. Please don’t let this be goodbye. SIGN MADBUM.
Take It Easy: Happy Retirement to Bruce Bochy
“We may lose, and we may win, but we will never be here again”
Greek Giant is going to do a more fulsome post on Bochy’s retirement, so I’ll just wish him health, happiness, fish that are always biting, and wine that is never corked. To me the hiring of Bochy’s replacement is by far the most interesting storyline of the upcoming offseason for the Giants. My heart just wants Bumgarner back. My head is fascinated by the direction Zaidi will take the team next. Will it be a veteran manager? A newbie? An internal candidate? Can’t wait to find out.
Take It to the Limit: Heading for the Park
“…when there’s nothin’ to believe in, still you’re coming back, you’re running back for more…”
The year started out rough and it’s ending kind of rough, though thankfully not with the 5-21 nightmare we endured last September. But they’re still our Giants, they still get “the best of my love,” and I’ll be coming back for more in 2020, Lord willing. We’re all day-to-day, after all. Looking forward to seeing some of you at the park today. Lefty out.
(You’re lucky I’m running out of time because my next subheading was going to be something like “Dubi come lately…the new kid in town…” I guess that one could have worked for Pillar, too!)