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Regular-Season Memories And Post-Parade Thoughts

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You've played and replayed all the amazing post-season moments in your heads, from Posey's grand slam in Cincinnati to Scutaro's pure joy in the San Francisco rain to Romo's final fastball to Miggy Cabrera. I have, too. But lost in the scramble and frenzy and myth-making of October are all the weird, wonderful moments of the regular season. I've been thinking about those, too, and in the next few weeks, I'll highlight one per post. For some reason, this one's been gnawing in my brain for a few days:

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That's George Kontos striking out Matt Kemp on October 3, the night the Giants eliminated the Dodgers from playoff contention. (Courtesy of Alex Pavlovic's blog.) He used both his two-seam fastball and his slider to flummox Kemp, escape a jam, and help win the game. In the end it was a small moment, but there's so much to unpack from it:

- Sabean traded backup catcher Chris Stewart for Kontos just before Opening Day. Kontos was soon in the bullpen, quietly striking out a lot of batters and providing excellent middle and long relief. Just another under-the-radar move to shore up a bullpen that lost its top dog Brian Wilson and its long man Guillermo Mota.

- Talent evaluation wins again, both before the trade -- somehow the Giants had Kontos, a 26-year-old guy who'd only had a cup of coffee with the Yankees, on their radar -- and after. Bochy steadily promoted Kontos into tougher spots as the year went on, with the Kemp at-bat on Oct. 3 the toughest perhaps of all. It earned Kontos the best promotion yet, a spot on the playoff rosters, and he responded with excellent work against Cincy and two good outings against St. Louis before stumbling in his last two appearances.

- The strikeout of Kemp snuffed out the Dodgers' best chance that game. Ladies and gentlemen, George Kontos eliminated the Dodgers. He'll never have to buy a beer in this town again.

A few more post-parade thoughts:

- Guillermo Mota got his own car in the parade -- heck, Jean Machi got his own car -- but Melky Cabrera was not invited. There's buzz about the Giants bringing Melky back on the cheap next year, but the parade sans Melk seemed a strong statement to the contrary. Then again, Brian Sabean has waved his hankie at sailing ships before, only to see them chug back into port.

- Tony Bennett will sing at Mays Field forever -- hopefully in person -- but Gangnam Style will last about as long as "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

- For all the love and black and orange and good cheer washing through the streets today, you'd expect every single Giant to return. How could they say no? Juan Uribe ultimately did, which seemed a big bummer at the time until we heard about the price tag. And then, even better, we realized it was all part of a CIA plot to infiltrate and undermine the Dodgers' clubhouse. Like Jason Bourne, Juan Uribe has performed marvelously as a brainwashed assassin -- assassinating the Dodgers' run-scoring chances, one by one. Wait, I was making a point here. Oh yes: The fuzzy orange glow is going to fade quickly. The Giants and their free agents -- Jeremy Affeldt, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, most importantly -- will soon find out how much mutual love can provide, or stand in for, cash. A few lines actually went down in the sand today:


Fair enough. Affeldt has earned it. The exclusive negotiating window ends this weekend. I won't be surprised if Sabean & Co. make a deal or two that seem shocking at first but a lot less so as the season goes on. And remember, the Giants have a lot of extra cash to play with. To the winners go the spoils.


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Header photo courtesy of Flickr user eviltomthai under a Creative Commons license.