While everybody's talking, bitching, moaning, cheering, jeering, analyzing, prognosticating, writing, blogging, and tweeting surrounding this morning's release of the Giants' 25-man NLDS roster, let's take a minute to look back and recognize the heroes who brought us to this nerve-wracking and yet somewhat satisfying moment...
Most Valuable Offensive Player: Aubrey Huff
Yes, yes, I know. Some guy named Buster. Look, I hate the argument made by ROY voters that Jason Heyward put up strong numbers over a longer period of time — despite the fact that Buster's projected numbers blow Heyward's out of the park — but I have to give this to the guy who's been our most consistent contributor all season long. Dude led the team in ABs, home runs, and rally thongs, and his discerning eye at the plate yielded a higher OBP than our rookie backstop. That's not to mention he carried this offense in April and May. For a cast-off player making $3M on a team that made him their second or third choice, you cant deny the impact Huff Daddy has had on your 2010 Giants.
Most Valuable Defensive Player: Andres Torres
Not much internal debate on this one, though Buster should receive honorable mention for his stellar work behind the plate from July 1st on. Andres the Giant has been the gazelle of the Giants outfield, the perfect counterpoint to water buffaloes in the corners like Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. Even on an average, can-of-corn fly ball, he sprints to the spot where he thinks the ball will land and calmly puts it away with two hands. No showboating and unnecessary dives, no misjudged routes to balls, just pure, old fashioned, error-free play up the middle. On a team supposedly built around pitching and defense, the 2010 Willie Mac Award winner was the cornerstone of the latter.
Most Valuable Starting Pitcher: Matt Cain
You can't argue with this. Shotgun was quite simply the most consistent — and consistently dominant — of the Giants incomparable starters. He led the staff in IP as well as WHIP (beating out Dirty Sanchez), threw four complete games and two shutouts, and posted a 3.14 ERA doing it. While Big Time Timmy Jim was floundering with his mechanics over the Summer, Cain was the Giants' horse, regularly pitching deep into games, often with very little run support, and holding his own against some of the league's best starters. Yes, when the chips were down in the final series with the Fathers, he wet the bed and Dirty shined. But over 162 games, there's nobody I'd rather have next to me in the fox hole than Matty Cain.
Most Valuable Relief Pitcher: Brian Wilson
Weezy's the heart of the 'Pen, and he served as its anchor in a year of turmoil, turnover, and triumph, eventually tying Shooter's club record with his 48th save in an instant-classic Game 162. Whether sporting a faux hawk, a real hawk, or a jet black beard that could never — should never — grow on the face of a blonde surfer dude, Wilson is the epitome of what a closer should be: fearless, fearsome, and — at least from an outside perspective — totally bats**t insane. That's why we love him, and that's why he's the rock of the relief corps. Everyone down there had their doldrums this year, but Weezy held it down from start to finish. He can pitch my ninth inning any day, and I'll buy him a shot and a beer after.
Most Valuable Mid-Season Addition: (tie) Buster Posey & Pat Burrell
Okay, fine, I made this one up. But some credit for the success of the 2010 Giants must go to these two very different individuals. By now, we all know about Buster, and so much will be written about him in the weeks and months and years ahead that it seems redundant for me to write another word. Suffice it to say that this club and our chances this season would be nowhere near what they are were it not for Brian Sabean making a fortuitous call to Fresno on May 29th. As for "The Bat", there are no words to describe the emotions coursing through my veins while I watched Pat nearly choke up during Sunday's postgame locker room insanity. How would it feel to go from sitting on your couch, seemingly unwanted despite the talent you know still lurks in your body and soul, to hitting seven lead-changing home runs for your childhood team in its most successful season in seven years? I don't know about you, but that would make me cry too. The fact that we went to high school together has no bearing on this award. Pat earned this on the strength of his performance, and no matter how far the club goes this October, his heroic deeds will not soon be forgotten. (And he plays a pretty mean left field when the chips are down!)
Enjoy the game tonight everybody, from wherever you may be watching. As always, I'll be that obnoxious guy at the top of Section 104, tooting my kazoo and hoping Derek Lowe's sinker stays flat enough for Aaron Rowand to square it up. I don't plan to "enjoy" much of anything until this is all over, but I'll do my best to keep smilin'... even if I'm faking it.