In no particular order, in honor of the 162 games of the regular season…
162. The walk-off on Opening Day for the second consecutive year. And provided some awesome entertainment along the way as I drove to Fresno to see the Grizzlies Opening Night.
161. The new and improved Pablo Sandoval.
160. The rather awesome drama and content they provided for their reality show.
159. Heck, they had a reality show!
158. They carried first place for a good long while, even though they didn’t finish with it.
157. They had All Stars. A whole bunch of them.
156. They gave me bragging rights for life. We got Carlos Beltran. (Never mind what happened afterwards.)
155. They kinda massacred the Chamber of Horrors, aka Coors Field.
155. NATE. That is all.
154. Their hitting coach who takes, “Reach for the moon, if you fall down, at least you’ll fall in the stars” very literally. Like, he’s-going-to-the-moon literally. It’s sure to bode well for the offense in the future.
153. They chewed gum at the White House. It was strangely endearing.
152. Heck, they went to the White House!
151. They were so resilient I can’t even express it in words. Well, maybe I could. But I have a whole lot more of these to write, so I’m not going to get into it.
150. Santiago Casilla and his epic and previously undiscovered closing skills.
148. And Brandon.
147. And, oh, the other Brandon too.
145. The multitude of B’s!
144. The incredibly pleasant surprise that was Eric Surkamp in his first start back.
142. And the incredibly pleasant surprise that was Ryan Vogelsong all around.
141. Chris Stewart. And his brainiac-ness. And his overall awesomeness.
140. The fact that AT&T Park exists and is amazingly beautiful. Pays to remember that, every now and then, right?
139. D-Ro having a few more special moments. I really hope he’s back next year in some way.
138. Madison and his trademarked first inning meltdowns. And yes, that he was otherwise amazing.
137. Bruce Bochy. ‘Nuff said.
136. Conor Gillaspie. (The name! The name!)
135. Those special little moments when Guillermo Mota came in for long relief and just saved us all.
134. Getting to see Travis Ishikawa one last time, when he got his ring.
133. OH! Yes! The ring ceremony…
132 …and the mismatched, mint colored boxes the rings came in…
131. …and Sergio Romo goofing off at the ceremony…
130. …and seeing Nuekom with his adorable bowtie there (though, unfortunately, it wasn’t orange) one more time.
129. There was also Vogey’s lovely little speech when he got the Willie Mac Award.
128. Remember when Tim Flannery, third base coach, sang the National Anthem? Epic.
127. The crazy thunder storm/rain delay in Detroit. And the way the broadcasters filled the empty time. That was magical.
126. Kepp’s walk-off vs. the Astros. So there, Houston.
124. Crawford’s grand-slam in his first game against Milwaukee. Remember that? Goosebumps and smiles.
123. The prank Ross et al. played on Huff. Which we got to see because of aforementioned reality show.
122. Did I mention, THE GIANTS HAD A REALITY SHOW?
121. When Brandon Belt met a baby giraffe and took pictures with it. That may actually be my favorite moment of the entire year. Seriously, how utterly fantastic?
120. That they never missed a beat, even after the loss of Posey and then Sanchez.
119. Timmy back to being Timmy, for the most part.
118. And Timmy and Matt Cain both reached 1000th career strikeouts, which was fabulous.
117. Finishing ahead of the Padres. Vendetta? Yes, vendetta.
116. Romo shaving. Because that may imply that other people will shave soon.
114. NATE. Again.
113. And Nate’s upper deck shot in Colorado that his brother got. Too many awesome things about that to mention.
112. Slightly irrelevant, maybe, but Jon Miller not doing ESPN any more meant that he broadcasted for KNBR on the weekends. Which was enough to make the season, right there.
111. Together, We’re Giant. It actually grew on me. (But It’s Time is still, and always will be, better.)
110. The “sellouts”. Because they seriously cracked me up. Especially when the upper deck was e-m-p-t-y.
109. The little Sabean moment in Moneyball. When Billy Beane totally played the Giants. My rational mind was outraged and the rest of me was snickering.
108. Watching Pablo’s defense just reappear before our very eyes.
107. Being there for Carlos Beltran’s 300th career homerun.
106. And speaking of homeruns… Brandon Belt had a couple to remember.
105. And when Brandon Belt made the club out of spring training and it felt like nothing could possibly go wrong.
104. The fact that some people didn’t get injured. Can’t think of any? No, I’m sure there were a few.
103. The fact that Aubrey Huff always has good years after bad ones. Most definitely. This bodes well for 2012.
102. While I hated that the cost for parking doubled, I think it was because they won the World Series. And I do love that. So, by extension, I love the new parking rates. Sort of.
101. The Churros guy. If you’ve ever been to a Major League ballpark, you know what I mean.
100-50. Looking at the new lineup every day, usually with my mouth gaping wide open.
49. The few nice Zito moments. They were there. And they were smile-inducing.
48. The fact that the year after the championship, while it wasn’t exactly a success, was not a collapse either. This was a pennant race right down until the end.
47. Can I just say one more thing about Chris Stewart? His first Major League homerun rocked.
46. When Edgar came back, if only for a bit. *sniffles*
45. And remember when Uribe came back? *sniffles again*
44. I also liked riding my first roller coast (no, really. It’s related.) because it drove home that this season was like a roller coaster. Which is to say seriously headache inducing, but fun afterwards.
43. I don’t know how this all worked, but I’ve been hearing Giants ads for the Not For Sale Campaign. If they’ve partnered, then that is most certainly something I love.
42. Jeremy’s rebound year. Minus the frozen burger patties.
41. That they didn’t do anything silly like start the season in Taiwan.
40. That they rocked their doubleheader at Wrigley.
39. Matt Cain ruled overall, as always.
38. That they let themselves get swept by Milwaukee in May. I’m sure they have a crystal ball and knew they wouldn’t get into the playoffs, but the Brewers could, so they gave them that series. Very thoughtful, you know.
37. When Pablo Sandoval decided to retweet people who said nice things about him making the All Star team and he retweeted me. It made me a lot happier than it rationally should have.
36. When Bruce Bochy got congratulated by Ryan Braun on winning the World Series (minute 1:40. I know you want to see it.) This is what I call icing on the cake, people.
35. NATE. One last time. Sorry.
34-20. This is when Diamond Girl had to leave unexpectedly to sniffle in the closet for a bit at the realization that this is really the end of the 2011 season.
19. Okay! Back. Let’s do a silver lining thing now: not winning the pennant means the target-on-back will lessen or disappear. And these Giants do better when there are no Great Expectations. Sorry, Charles Dickens.
18. They also helped me and my new fish bond. I am quite positive that the reason my fish seems to be liking me more is that we’ve endured the torture holed up in my room (yep, I said torture) together.
17. That, by some luck, these players channeled enough thoughts about balking to Bob Davidson that he actually called a balk on that fateful June day. And also gave me a great photo-editing opportunity.
16. Emmanuel Burriss’s nickname-picky mother.
15. That they did not take me up on my Hawaii Vacation/gold watches offers. Which means they didn’t do that well, but it also means I won’t be in debt for the rest of my life.
14. Totally random memory: Pat Burrell and Eli Whiteside both hitting triples in one game. Weird and great.
13. The promotions their awesome TV network came up with. Especially the Ultimate Tim Lincecum one. (Which I, eh, won.)
12. The players designing endearingly horrific t-shirts.
11. That they drafted another good-name player in the draft. That is Joe Panik. If only for the name, it was a good pick.
9. And more walk-offs!
8. And even more walk-offs!
7. The power outage in St. Louis. Now I really credit the Cardinals (read: Tony LaRussa) for that, but it was a Giants moment anyway. And a darn memorable one, too.
6. When Cainer demonstrated he actually does have the ability to dress well.
5. All the opportunities they gave me to use my dearly beloved balloon-popping set of photos from Despicable Me. Because seriously, I love those photos. Even if it meant they broke my heart.
4. Last thing about Chris Stewart! I promise! But I remember the first time I saw him do a throwdown to second. And I think I thought it was cupcakes and brownies and cinnamon roasted almonds all mashed into one. (And yet it was good. All those foods mashed together probably, um, wouldn’t be.)
3. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking you shouldn’t let your kids watch baseball! It’s educational! I mean, this year I learned what “contusion” means. Overandoverandoveragain.
2. It was like a magical realism book (what is a magical realism book, you ask? Read here and be enlightened.) Stray bits of left over magic were everywhere. And that’s even better than full-on magic, somehow. (Although, yes, I like full-on magic when it means winning the World Series. But don’t interrupt my poetic-ness, please.)
1. They gave me a lot to blog about. A lot, a lot. So I thank them for that. And I thank you all for bearing with me and my weirdness and my love of strange foods and for reading and commenting here as well. It’s been a brilliant, crazy year and more fun than I can possibly express.
Now, if you’ll excuse me… I need to go reminisce for a bit more and then find my antlers and morph into Ranger-Girl. Bye-bye, 2011 season.