Since the Giants are back in the postseason (maybe? kinda? sorta?), at least for one game, it is time to resurrect the blog.
I hope to share a couple of thoughts on the season, the future, and if the Giants have any kind of chance to make it three titles in five years. Plus I will write about all the games (could be one! could be 20!) the Giants play this postseason.
But for now I want to say this: Could there possibly be a better one-game playoff matchup for MLB than the Giants and the Pirates?
At first glance, you might think, “well, yeah, there are several: Giants vs. Dodgers, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Cardinals vs. Cubs (chuckles).”
Ok, sure, those are natural rivalries and MLB would love those games.
But hang with me here.
1. Both the Giants and Pirates have cornerstone, face-of-the-franchise type players who are great and going to be on their respective teams for a while. Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey are as important to their teams as any other players in the game.
And, for two franchises whose most recent “face” was Barry Bonds, this is a good thing for the teams and for baseball. They may not be the biggest stars in the game, or even the best players, but in terms of franchise anchors you cannot get a better pairing than those two.
2. Both the Giants and Pirates play in beautiful parks. Whenever I see an article on “best ballpark” PNC and AT&T are always at the top of the list. I’ve never been to PNC but it does look great on TV. Whoever ends up hosting this game (I’m fully assuming the Cardinals will take care of business this weekend and win the Central), it is guaranteed that the game will look great on TV.
3. Both the Giants and Pirates will (probably) start terrific young aces. The Giants have all but said Madison Bumgarner is going to start this game (pretty much a no-brainer), and I would be shocked if the Pirates went with anyone other than Gerrit Cole. (Like MadBum he’s lined up to pitch the last game of the season. I suppose that if the Pirates could win the division on the last day they’d go with Cole there, but again, the Cards will take care of business.)
This is maybe the best part of the whole thing: barring catastrophic, heart breaking injury these two guys are going to be among the best pitchers in National League (any league) for the next 5-10 years. Bumgarner has already pitched in two world series (and done fairly well), and is only 25. Cole is 23 and he’s is/going to be a beast. This could be a moment baseball fans look back on in 20 years and say: “Remember that wild card game in 2014. Bumgarner. Cole. Epic.”
Of course, the Pirates could go with Francisco Liriano just because this is baseball. At least the Giants would have one last chance to exorcise the demons of the AJ Pierzynski trade.
As much as I hate the second wild card and the idea that a 162 game season comes down to 1 stupid baseball game, the reality is that without it the Giants would be hoping against hope this weekend to even make the postseason. And, the potential of this game, more than that of the other 5 play-in games to date, has the potential to be truly special, something we talk about for years.
All the elements are there.