The morning after the Giants lost the first game of the deciding three game weekend series with the San Diego Padres, the Giants clubhouse was anything but quiet or uptight. Reports were that Aubrey Huff was touring the locker room in his signature red thong to the driving sounds of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin Alive”. This team is loose and this team is having some fun.
Prior to Friday’s 6-4 loss, emotions ran high on the field as the San Francisco Giants conducted the 30th annual Willie Mac Awards. Named for Giants icon Willie McCovey, this “most inspirational” award is in a sense the most prestigious award a player can receive because the votes are caste by fellow Giant teammates. It was not surprising that Giants center fielder Andres Torres took the 2010 Willie Mac; Torres fought through personal health problems and years in the minor leagues just to make the Giants team as a back-up outfielder last year. That Torres further emerged as the Giants’ 2010 dominant lead-off batter and center fielder is miraculous (16 home runs, 84 runs scored, 63 RBIs).
Most amazing, Andres Torres was knocked down by a September emergency removal of his appendix and somehow returned to the field 13 days later (one day earlier than doctors normally allow the start of minimal activity). The award was presented by the seventy-two year old Willie McCovey from a wheelchair, himself recovering from serious back surgery weeks ago. There was a run on Kleenex in the stands as the whole tableau became the emotional moment of the season for many Giants fans.
After starter Matt Cain’s 3-0/2.19 September mojo went up in smoke Friday night, the Giants are looking at a variety of scenarios depending on what happens Saturday and Sunday. If the Pads sweep the Giants, a one game playoff is scheduled for Monday October 4th to determine the NL West victor. If Atlanta also sweeps the Phillies, the loser of the Giants-Pads Monday playoff will play Atlanta in a one game playoff Tuesday October 5th to determine the NL Wildcard winner. Of course, should the Giants win either their Saturday or Sunday game, there will be no one game playoff for anyone.
This is the edge of baseball history for the 2010 Giants; after seven years of not making the National League playoffs, after finally distancing themselves from the Bonds era once and for all, these last two games are everything.