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San Francisco Giants: Johnny Cueto, The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Oct 2, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) celebrate cinching the wild card against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 7 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) celebrate cinching the wild card against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 7 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
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Johnny Cueto brought Christmas early to the San Francisco Giants last season when the team signed him.  He’s proven to be the best gift they could have hoped for.

Think back to your favorite gift opened during the holiday season and the joy it brought. You probably didn’t know how to react- you were freaking out and you couldn’t figure out who to hug or thank first. That was probably the same reaction San Francisco Giants fans had when their team signed Johnny Cueto.

You remember the moment news broke and you lost your mind. You couldn’t decide between tweeting about it first or blowing up your friends. Maybe you ran to hug your mother, father, husband, wife, dog, fish or who ever was closest.

Remembering back to last season’s free agency is like Christmas morning. You ask for the most expensive bike available (Greinke), but your family thinks a slightly cheaper option (Cueto) would suit you better. Your friend gets the expensive bike and boasts big time while riding it around the block.

Suddenly, his bike chain begins to snag, and the wheels fly off and the bike is headed for the disabled rack. Your friend and his family can’t believe their misfortune, while you just keep peddling along while the rest of your day isn’t ruined. You learn an immediate lesson that just because a commodity is the most expensive in its class, doesn’t make it the best.

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The more you ride the bike, the more you discover just how perfect of a fit this purchase was after all. Multiple gears the other bike didn’t have, fancy shocks to navigate tough situations, and your bike just looked so much better and vibrant in everything it did than that dull over-priced thing your friend is still trying to fix.

That bike was the gift that just kept on giving, and Johnny Cueto is the gift to San Francisco Giants’ fans that keeps on giving.

It’s more than just his numbers with the club, which are nothing short of spectacular. Cueto went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA while striking out 198 in 219.2 innings pitched. He also led the NL with five complete games.

It’s about the man who makes Cueto, well, Cueto. It’s the happiest person on the field skipping and prancing on and off the mound like a little leaguer. It’s his dreads that whip around his face from one ear to the next after each pitch. It’s yelling “Dia de Cueto!” every other fifth day. It’s his arsenal of pitch deliveries that keep fans so fixated guessing if they’ll see the “shimmy” or quick pitch. It’s the guy who takes selfies with beluga whales and giant gum bubbles. It’s that guy who showed up to the Bronx at Yankee Stadium pitching with a huge gold chain and fresh-white Nike’s. Cueto’s swagger cannot be touched.

Jul 23, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 23, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Flip back to the beginning of the season when Cueto was making his first start at AT&T Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed five runs in the top of the first inning and things appeared to be spiraling toward an early loss, accompanied by a Cueto meltdown.

Cueto was taken aside by Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan and they simply told him to keep the score where it was and keep battling, then they’d take care of the rest.

The talk worked as Cueto showed San Francisco Giants’ fans they invested into a bullish warrior who would never give in. He finished the game throwing seven innings with eight strikeouts, and the Giants won the game 9-6. Pence and Pagan kept their promises, and Cueto kept his.

That’s why he’s become such a fan favorite in such a short span of time. Cueto’s passion for the game is very evident pitch to pitch. From yelling to himself between pitches while hitting his side, to screaming celebrations while escaping innings, San Francisco Giants’ fans noticed it right away.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFjw3PWsHt5/?taken-by=johnnycueto47&hl=en

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Fans should be thankful that he signed with San Francisco during an offseason that was very pivotal during this title era. They needed another ace to eat innings behind Madison Bumgarner, and they got much more than they had hoped for.

Let’s be thankful for avoiding an offseason that could have included signings of Doug Fister, Mike Leake, Hisashi Iwakuma, or Scott Kazmir. Let’s be thankful that San Francisco Giants’ fans have Johnny Cueto, the gift that just keeps on giving.

Next: Are the Giants in on a Trade for Twins' Dozier?

Stay tuned to Around the Foghorn for more of our Christmas wishes and reminiscings!

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