The San Francisco Giants played the first game of their final series Friday night against the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park. Before the game the Giants presented the 2015 Willie Mac Award to Matt Duffy. It is the first time in its 35-year history that the award has gone to a rookie.
Sep 18, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Matt Duffy (5) runs to first base after hitting a single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
The award is named for Willie McCovey‒”Stretch”‒the great #44. It is awarded to the most inspirational Giant‒the one that best exemplifies Willie Mac’s special attributes. The plaque is engraved: “Competitive Spirit, Ability and Leadership”. In a word, Willie Mac.
Honestly, I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.
A number of former award winners joined Duffy in celebration and in honoring Willie Mac. Last year the award was given to Madison Bumgarner and McCovey was not able to attend–he was on the DL at the time.
When Duffy left spring training, he made the roster as a utility infielder, but eventually took over at third base when Casey McGehee went on the DL and then got traded. Let’s face it, when Pablo Sandowal left the Giants at the end of last season, many felt he left some pretty big shoes to fill. McGehee wasn’t able to fill them. Turns out, those big shoes are too small for Duffy‒he wouldn’t be able to get his pinky toe into them.
Poking fun at Pablo doesn’t take much effort‒it’s really become low hanging fruit. But all kidding aside, Duffy has been a phenomenal third baseman, a position he played only a few times as a minor leaguer. He has proved to be invaluable in the hot corner and his bat is amazing. To some, Pablo left a void and Duffy has filled it like a pro. And then some.
Duffy showed everyone what it really means to be a Giant. Duffy penned an article for The Player’s Tribune-a new media platform founded by Derek Jeter for players to write about their experiences. Duffy credits McGehee with teaching him how to play third base, and for making sure Duffy carried no guilt about taking over the job. True Giants class.
After the awards ceremony ended, it was time to play some baseball. The awards ceremony had a much better ending. We should have done two awards ceremonies and skipped right to Tony Bennett.
Chris Heston was on the mound for the Giants for our last Orange Friday. I am probably understating it when I say it was not his best outing. He pitched three and ⅔ innings. He gave up eight runs (two home runs) on eight hits and one walk. He struck out three. He started out with a solid season, but in the end, not so much. I think with some time and experience, he will continue to improve and become a top notch pitcher. I look forward to seeing what he does next year.
The Giants scored three runs. In the second, Brandon Crawford singled and scored on Jarrett Parker’s double. Jackson Williams doubled to lead-off the eighth, Kevin Frandsen drew a walk and both scored on Crawford’s double. The final score was: Giants 3, Rockies 9
The Giants have an extra month to rest this year and I can’t wait to see how that works out for them next year. The big shots have their work cut out for them. One thing I know for sure however, we got third base covered. And he comes with the added benefit of the Great Willie Mac’s stamp of approval. They just don’t make them any better than that.
I’m starting to miss them already.