Bruce Bochy called a team meeting on Thursday evening in the Giants’ clubhouse in San Francisco.
The Marlins had just finished a three-game sweep of the team that almost seemed to be in a state of mourning after the dramatic loss of one of their most prized possessions.
“We talked today about a few things—the loss of Buster and how important it is for us to move forward here,” Bochy said before Friday's game. “That’s what Buster would want. There will be questions about how good we will be without Buster. We have to answer that question.”
“You can’t always control what happens on the field. But you can control how you respond. We have to respond the right way, and that’s to keep fighting.”
Sounds to me like something from Angels in the Outfield. These words of wisdom may just further prove how talented of a manager Bochy is.
San Francisco was able to defeat a hot Milwaukee team on the road the next day.
All we know for sure is that his message got through to at least one player on the team.
Some fans called the end of Buster Posey in 2011 “The Day the Magic Died” at AT&T Park. A clever play on the Giants’ 2010 marketing campaign. One unlikely young player proved that “There’s (still) Magic Inside.”
And he did it on the first-pitch hanging curveball that he saw in the seventh inning with the Giants trailing 3–1.
Brandon Crawford’s first big league hit was what turned out to be a game-winning Grand Slam to right field.
The Giants know Crawford’s potential and were cultivating him well in their highly acclaimed farm system. Crawford was excelling at the minor league level before being called up. He pulled through and gave the team the spark that they could not find anywhere else.
Perhaps a new slogan for 2011 will be a combination of magic and torture. Regardless, I can tell you that many Giants fans will agree: “Magic never felt so good.”
Crawford was the story of the night, deservedly so. Only five other players in the history of the game have ever achieved such a feat. That gives you goosebumps, doesn’t it?
However, the fresh rookie was not the only unlikely character of the Giants’ story to make a difference. The Posey injury has been highlighted by the media as a tragedy for the team, which isn't a stretch.
But we must keep reminding ourselves in situations such as these—the game must go on.
There is one particular player that found himself right in the wake of the loss. He takes on a very challenging role, replacing the “irreplaceable.” Under the radar, he also fought to snap the Giants' three-game skid.
Not surprisingly, Eli Whiteside’s offensive performance has been frustrating. Nevertheless, the backup catcher displayed an act of courage, the significance of which may have been dwarfed by other events in the game.
The Giants were trying to preserve their treasured lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee’s first basemen power house, weighs 275 lbs, but it sure seemed like twice that much as came toward home plate and made an aggressive play on Whiteside. It was a legal play, but arguably inappropriate given recent events.
Giants fans everywhere held their breath and closed their eyes, having flashbacks to the events of that fatal Wednesday night.
But when they opened them, Fielder was punched out by the home plate umpire. And Whiteside was alive, with the ball in his glove. An act of courage and strength from another unlikely character.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget that Tim Lincecum was pitching.
The Giants ace is held to such a high standard of performance because of his raw talent that his hard work often goes by unnoticed when he doesn’t strike out 14 batters or pitch a complete game shutout. Timmy gave up three runs on six hits and had four strikeouts with no walks. A relatively impressive performance, that is, when comparing the young righty to actual human beings.
We can be superstitious and say that the Giants just may have had the “Baseball Gods” on their side Friday night in Milwaukee. The events of the night may or may not be representative of what is to come in the San Francisco Giants increasingly uncertain 2011.
However, they certainly will go in the record books, and be remembered for a long time by many.