Buster Posey watches his dramatic grand slam as Reds catcher and future #ForeverGiant Ryan Hanigan turns away in disgust, 10-11-12 in Cincinnati.
On Friday night, after our usual Zoom happy hour call with my mom and siblings and their partners, we ate burgers and watched the exciting ending of the Rays-Yankees series and then the VERY exciting end of the Heat-Lakers game. I felt this incredible sense of satisfaction and just so thankful to be watching compelling sports events after a long work week. I took it all for granted, I missed it so much during the months it went dark, and I’m so happy to have it back. I felt the same way yesterday, spending part of a lazy Saturday watching college football. (Did anyone see the end of that Texas-Oklahoma overtime battle? Yowza!) Today I have a busy schedule of watching the 49ers and then flipping between the first ALCS game and the NBA Finals game.
A few months ago, I was actually fixing Polish sausages and Buffalo wings just to watch NFL and MLB draft coverage, and yeah, I even tried to make everyone get excited about Orange Friday Sim Giants games, but–this is better.
Orange October Memories of 2010 and 2012
Since this is the ten-year anniversary of the first SF Giants championship, one Twitter account has spent the whole year recapping what happened in Giants baseball ten years ago today. Yesterday was a particularly fun one, 10-10-10, the “Brooks Conrad” game in Atlanta. On 10-10-12, the Giants kept their season alive by winning game 4 of the NLDS in Cincinnati behind stellar relief pitching from Tim Lincecum, who got the win after Barry Zito flamed out early.
10-11-10 was a good game. The Giants, having gotten a reprieve from Brooks Conrad the night before, finished off a series victory in Atlanta, notable because it was rookie Madison Bumgarner’s first postseason start (he got the win) and Bobby Cox’s final game as a manager.
But the anniversary game I want to focus on now was eight years ago today: 10-11-12. Game 5 in Cincinnati, Matt Cain vs. Mat Latos. The game started at 10 a.m. in California on a Thursday–the same time as my class. I had my brother in San Francisco and ClutchUp texting me updates as I tried without much success to focus on teaching.
Four scoreless innings crawled by, but then the texts came in the top of the fifth.
Single by Blanco.
Crawford triples home Blanco.
Pagan safe on an error by future #ForeverGiant Zack Cozart, scoring Crawford.
Sandoval singles to load the bases.
[Up comes NL batting champion, Comeback Player of the Year, Willie Mac Award winner, and soon-to-be crowned NL MVP Buster Posey.]
Text from ClutchUp: POSEY GRAND SLAM
Me in my classroom: trying not to scream
Here’s a GIF you can just play over and over to make you happy.
— David Gomez (@Dmez25) October 11, 2020
Of course, the game wasn’t over yet. I finished class, canceled my office hour and a meeting, and headed home to watch the rest. The Reds chipped away at the Giants’ six-run lead, and in the bottom of the ninth, it was 6-4 with two runners on and one out, and scary lefty slugger Jay Bruce facing closer Sergio Romo. He could so, so easily end the Giants’ season with one swing in that bandbox of a ballpark, maybe into the Ohio River where Sandoval had hit one the day before.
It was an epic battle, and I was such a mess that I turned all the sound off. I muted the TV. I turned off the KNBR feed on my phone. I just watched the at-bat in silence. The last time I was that nervous, it was Brian Wilson facing Ryan Howard in Philadelphia…no, it was Robb Nen facing Chipper Jones in Atlanta with the bases loaded and the Giants clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth.
Duane Kuiper on the postgame wrap: “I barfed.”
Here’s a link to the whole game if you really have the stomach for it–it was an agonizing classic!
Tonight the ALCS starts off. I don’t know why I’m surprised that it’s Tampa Bay and not the Yankees, given that the Rays had the best record in the AL, but somehow it seemed like 2020 was going to be a 2017 do-over, with the Yankees and Astros in the ALCS (which is also a 2019 do-over), and the Astros and the Dodgers in World Series.
Anyway, it’s NOT the Yankees, but rather it’s the Rays vs. the Astros. You have to like the Rays, who are clearly a very good team, but the Astros have all the battle scars and just knocked out a very good A’s team with relatively little trouble. As for the Dodgers, well, the Braves have something to say about another World Series for the Bums, and the Braves are good, too. Obviously we’ll be rooting for all those ex-Giants now in Atlanta jerseys (Adam Duvall, Will Smith, Mark Melancon, and Pablo Sandoval). As for the ALCS, MrLefty is rooting for Dusty Baker and I’m rooting for justice and righteousness (i.e., I’m rooting for the Rays).
Since it’s Sunday and I’m in gratitude mode, I’ll take us out with one of my favorites from British worship leader Matt Redman. This song works if things are going well and it also works “when the darkness closes in.”
Hope you all have a great day on 10-11-20. Lefty out.