As you probably already know, the TYIB Awards are coming up soon. You can (and should) vote for Bochy, Burrell, Posey, Wilson, and Sabean here. If your appetite for voting in random categories isn’t satisfied after perusing the nominees for best hitter/rookie/starter/setup/defense/blah/blah/blah, you’ve come to the right place. As a less painstaking way of reviewing this incredible 2010 season, I’m hosting my own awards (I was toying with the idea of calling them the Fan[girl] Awards, but putting my username + “awards” just isn’t as catchy as I’d like). Check out the following nominations and put in your vote!
Most Embarrassing Loss.
Or, “Even World Champions Mess Up
A Lot Sometimes.”
Phillies, 6-7. In the first Philly-SF matchup of the season, the Giants almost had a sweep under their belts. Lincecum started the last game of the series, and he was on top of his game for 8 straight innings. When Brian Wilson was brought in to close out the game, he let a three-run double slip through his fingers for a tied score, one that boosted the Phillies’ spirits just long enough for them to win the game in the 11th inning. What started out as a flawless game melted into unnecessary defeat.
Diamondbacks, 1-13. Do I even need to go into this one? Arizona battered the Giants with 6 homers, making Panda’s paltry RBI single laughable by comparison. The Giants felt so defeated after this loss that they conceded the following four games, handing sweeps to both Arizona and Oakland. Pitiful.
Braves, 4-5. This year, the Giants had a knack of pulling out last-minute wins. It’s absolute torture for the fans, especially during postseason series. In the NLDS, San Francisco started out strong with a typical 1-0 win. Cain brought his A-game in Game 2, and for a while it looked like the Giants could pull off an easy sweep… until the 8th inning, when Atlanta’s offense stepped up the game with game-tying runs. Even the carousel of bearded relievers couldn’t fix this upset, and the Giants found themselves on the losing end by the end of the 11th inning. Lesson learned: what is excusable during the regular season cannot be tolerated in the playoffs.
Best Midseason Trade
Or, “When It Is Better to Give Than to Receive.”
Molina to Texas. There’s no doubt that Bengie is a great catcher. He was a good fit for SF, enjoyed the camaraderie of the team, and made some decent contributions during the season. But when he was traded to the Rangers at the beginning of July, his absence allowed rookie Buster Posey to step up to the plate–literally. Without Molina, Posey proved his worth, both as a catcher and hitter. Chances are, he wouldn’t be up for Rookie of the Year if Molina hadn’t left.
Ross to SF. Raise your hand if you knew that Cody Ross, our right-fielder and NLCS superstar, was acquired mid-August to block the Padres. Ross is obviously valuable in more than one way, and I’m just glad he wasn’t pounding those homers out of the park for San Diego instead!
Lopez from Pittsburgh. As July came to a close, the Giants sent Joe Martinez and John Bowker packing and welcomed left-handed pitcher Javier Lopez into the fold. A steady reliever, Lopez pitched 57.2 innings but only allowed 17 runs and 2 homers.
Fiercest Giants-Dodgers Series.
Or, “Just Beat L.A.”
April 16-18. The first SF-LA series of the year was not an easy one for either team. In Game 1, the Giants went down 8-10 after a 5-run rally in the 9th. In the safety of Dodger Stadium, LA pushed the envelope with 3 homers, including one grand slam from Andre Ethier. If this doesn’t prompt “Beat L.A.” and “Giants Suck” chants, I don’t know what does. Though the Giants retaliated in Game 2 with a 9-0 shutout, courtesy of Lincecum, the series slipped with a 2-1 loss in Game 3.
July 19-23. Fast forward to the middle of the season, a fruitful 31 days for the Giants, and equally dry spell for the Dodgers. If anything, this was a series fraught with drama. One day, Broxton was retired for his manager’s blunder on the mound–the next, the umpires were ready to withdraw their hasty ruling. Though none of the score differences exceeded 3 runs, and the Dodgers got their vengeance with a 2-0 shutout in Game 3, it wasn’t enough to help them win the series.
September 3-5. In keeping with the “Year of the Pitcher” theme this year, the Dodgers showcased a few power pitchers in this series. Billingsley opened Game 1 by allowing only 2 hits over 8 innings for a 4-2 win. The next night, Ted Lilly forced six shutout innings before the Giants offense (no, it isn’t a myth… it really does exist!) retaliated with four home runs. Finally, our bullpen rose to the challenge with a shutout of their own, thanks to Sanchez’s skills.
Most Powerful Opponent.
Or, “Teams That Almost Made It.”
Philadelphia Phillies. The top dogs of the National League, just about every fan and reporter had this team pegged for the World Series. One headline even read, “Phillies Ready to Humiliate All NL Opponents.” After slaughtering the Reds in the NLDS, I think Giants fans were expecting a good amount of torture. And with Halladay’s no-no preceding the NLCS pitching matchups, the talent packed in this team was more than intimidating.
ta Braves. Let’s not forget our first postseason rivals, a team that barely escaped the wrath of Philadelphia in the last few games of the season. After Friday night’s concession, I was almost positive we were going down in the first round. Sunday’s Game 3 of the NLDS was no better, with last-minute runs nearly causing me a heartattack as the Giants finally rallied to keep their heads above water. I think this is one team whose power and tenacity SF may have misjudged going into the playoffs!
San Diego Padres. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Padres played their hearts out this season. For much of 2010, they were the team to beat in the NL West, rising above the Giants and Rockies for three solid months. Though they fell apart in September, the Giants were always on pins and needles around this team–down to the very last game. I fully respect the Padres for their hard work and impeccable skills this season!
Or, “Wait, Are You Kidding Me?”
Wilson and the orange shoes. Brian Wilson loved his All-Star neon orange cleats so much that he decided to wear them during a Marlins game. Thanks to MLB’s insanely detailed rule book, the closer was fined for the unorthodox colored footwear… you know, just in case the shoes were actually magic and somehow allowed the Giants to win the game 6-4. Wilson overcame this minor setback by Sharpie-ing his shoes half black, but the Marlins didn’t win another game in the series. Coincidence? You decide.
Stay on the mound, Mattingly! During a pivotal point in the 9th inning of a Dodgers-Giants duel, Don Mattingly made a few trips to the mound to consult with his players. Thanks to the keen eye and vast knowledge of Bruce Bochy, the manager was forced to retire Jonathan Broxton after stepping off the mound in between visits. The step or two Mattingly made outside the mound counted as two visits, Bochy insisted, a no-no in MLB rules. Broxton was pulled, and the Giants helped themselves to a nice 7-5 win.
Fair balls are not for the fans. In the last Rockies-Giants series of the year, Cain flirted with a no-hitter and Colorado did its fair share of limiting San Francisco’s hits. This was one of those games where every run felt like a hard-earned accomplishment. It came as something of a surprise, then, when the ball boy picked up a fair ball and handed it to a fan in the crowd–completely unaware that the ball wasn’t foul! In fact, it had landed about two feet fair before crossing the foul line. What might’ve been a triple for SF became a double, and while we eventually won the game 4-2, at the time it just frustrated fans and players further!
Okay, you know what to do now… Make your selections in the comments below! Don’t let your team down–pick a side and vote!