San Francisco Giants: 2016 The Ultimate Gut Punch
The San Francisco Giants and their fans have been spoiled. Three Championships in five seasons gave many fans a sense of entitlement to World Series trophies. Heading into 2016, fans were convinced that since the year was divisible by two, that somehow destiny would step in and reward them once again.
For every San Francisco Giants fan who had memories of 2010, 2012 and 2014, and somehow forgot 2008 and every even year before it, 2016 was already written.
The San Francisco Giants made it easy for fans to think they were right by finishing the first half of the regular season with the best record in baseball. It made it easy to declare them the best team in baseball, even though teams like the Chicago Cubs were loaded with talent.
Then came the second half of the season and the Giants just could not seem to find ways to keep winning. Some nights it was their lack of offense. Sometimes, it was their starters. Sometimes, it was their defense. And more often than not, it was their bullpen. Just when one part of their team seemed to be turning things around, another would falter. The Giants seemed to lose games 1-0 one night and 8-7 the next night.
By mid-September, it was impossible not to think that the Giants were the worst team in baseball. Making the playoffs had seemed like a foregone conclusion in July, and now it seemed like a lost cause.
Yet somehow, the Giants found a way. Getting in seemed to ease the tension enough for fans to feel a sense of destiny once again. After an epic wild card game against the New York Mets, the Giants were on to the divisional round. The games were close and it seemed that the Giants were on the verge of finding a way to win against a better team on paper. It was a story Giants fans had read before.
But Matt Moore did not pitch the ninth inning of Game 4. The Giants bullpen did exactly what the internet said they would do. The Giants never brought the series back to Chicago. Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner did not pitch again in the series. The season was over. The Cubs were moving on.
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The Cubs would go on to win the 2016 World Series. For baseball fans all over the world, it was a special moment to see something that had not been done in 108 years.
For Giants fans, it left the team in a state of confusion. Bruce Bochy has said it was one of the hardest final games to recover from in his career. But the reality was, there was no even year magic. The Cubs were the better team, and sometimes, the better team wins. It had not happened in previous post-seasons where other teams were favored against the Giants. They were 9-0 in playoff series under Bochy. Why would fans think the streak would end?
As we take a look back at 2016, we realize that sometimes, life punches you right in the stomach. Sometimes, you see something you have not seen in over a century. And sometimes, Noah Syndergaard sums it up better than all of us.
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