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The 1996 Yankees and the 2014 Giants

The 2014 Giants remind me of the 1996 Yankees.

Alex Trautwig

I was going to write about how much the 2014 Giants remind me of the 2000 Yankees.

This was a team on its last legs. It was the core's third title. It was a team that probably shouldn't have been in the World Series to begin with, but that had won out on grit and determination and unbelievable luck. And because, when I look at this roster, I really think this is a team that is rising more than it is setting.

But watching Pablo Sandoval catch that final out reminded me too much of Charlie Hayes. Which is stupid, because Sandoval is a legit All-Star. Meanwhile, although Hayes came up through the Giants' farm system, he was a bit player who never spent more than three seasons in the same place. He was a Yankee for an entirely forgettable .257/.297/.409 '92 season, and then he was brought back for 20 games of '96.

Watching Madison Bumgarner reminds me of watching Andy Pettitte. Which is stupid, because Andy Pettitte never approached the heights Bumgarner achieved this postseason. But in Bumgarner's easy delivery, and in the way his brilliant pick off move kills the running game, and in the way you just knew, once he took the mound that the game was over... For the record, I would have started Bumgarner (you've got a great young pitcher on one of the best streaks in the history of the game, why wait until you're trailing?), and also for the record, every inning that Bruce Bochy sent Bumgarner back out there I said "I can't believe he's still pitching."

Watching Buster Posey fight back tears on the postgame interview reminded me of Paul O'Neill. Because he's a hard-nose player. Because, despite his 2012 MVP award, I think he might be the most underrated player in the game (which is what Paul O'Neill was while he hit .317/.397/.517 from '93-'98). Because I can never turn away from a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. Because I'd rather have a team full of guys who care like that than a team full of Mark Teixeiras who put up bigger numbers but who aren't willing to put the team ahead of the hunt for those big numbers by bunting when the other team offers you half the field

Seeing Tim Hudson celebrate reminds me of Wade Boggs. Which is stupid, because Tim Hudson didn't ride a horse around the stadium. Which is stupid, because Tim Hudson has never been confused with the sort of inner circle Hall of Famer that Wade Boggs was in the peak of his career. But Hudson was a guy for whom the postseason was a birthright throughout the early stages of his career. And he cemented his reputation as one of the great pitchers of his generation because he was a survivor. He could have Adam Dunn'd his way out of Major League Baseball, but he was the right combination of lucky and good. And I'm so happy he finally found a championship team.