Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Real October Surprise

Conor Gillaspie. You heard of him? Me neither. But this is playoff baseball and this is how it works, especially if you're the San Francisco Giants. I've been watching these guys do this for ten years now it seems. In other years it was Cody Ross or Marco Scutaro. In still others it was Joe Panik or Brandon Crawford. None of these guys are hall of famers. They won't make anybody's all star team. But once the calander flips to October, they come out of the woodwork in the city by the bay.

Conor freaking Gillaspie, who earlier this year was anonymously toiling away in the Pacific Coast league, who was a former first round pick of these same Giants back in 2008 only to be unceremoniously traded away a few years later, walked up to the plate last night in the ninth inning of a scoreless tie with two on and one out and turned around a 96 mph fastball from one of the best closers in baseball. He did this with a million eyes on him, just him. He was no nickel back in a prevent defense that blends in with the furniture in football. Baseball is the ultimate team game, but the irony is, the game features a series of 27 one on one matchups. Just you and the pitcher. And in October with the game on the line, those matchups feature the white hot glare of millions of eyes.

Sometimes it's the big stars who are the heros. Madison Bumgarner is a big star and he was a hero last night. Tuesday night it was Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, big stars who basked in the glory of the limelight. But baseball always gives us a Conor Gillaspie.

God how I do love this game.