Giants

Giants

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Giants Pregame Live at 6pm to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Rockies conclude, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round! Make your vote count!

1. Brandon Belt's 18th inning homer against the Nationals in 2014 NLDS (Two-time winner -- Defeated Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong save 2012 NLCS with dominant outings in Game 5 & 6 against Cardinals)

(From Alex Pavlovic)
By the end of an 18-inning win over the Nationals in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS, the Giants were drained in every way. It would be understandable if some of them have few solid memories of the six-hour, 23-minute marathon game, but Brandon Belt will never forget the details. His solo shot off Tanner Roark in the top of the 18th was the difference in a 2-1 win. Four years later, the moment is still fresh in his mind, from his preparation for the at-bat to the emphatic bat drop: 

(From Brandon Belt)
"I remember chugging a Red Bull. It was late into the night and that's tough, it's mentally draining and physically draining to be in a game like that, where you're giving everything you've got to win a baseball game. I was drained at that moment to say the least. I remember chugging a Red Bull and going out there and thinking, 'I'm just going to try and get on base and see what happens.' I remember just not trying to do too much and he gave me a pitch that I could handle, that was kind of in my happy zone. It felt like one of the first home runs I ever hit. It's like you're in Little League and you hit a home run and it's like you're in a dream and it's not real life -- it was kind of the same way. 

 

"We had just played so long and it was such a big moment in the game, and the fact that I was able to come through and help us win with such a big hit, it was surreal to me. I felt like I was floating around the bases. I think (the bat drop) was relief, more than anything. When I do that I don't really know I do it. It was really just relief. The way the game was going, we had to assume it was over after that. The bullpen had done so well and everyone was so tired. It was going to be tough for (the Nationals) to come back after that.

"We were just ready to go home. We had a long flight after that. We just put so much effort into it and all the guys did so great. Pablo came up with a big hit in the ninth inning and Petit throwing (six shutout) innings. For me, that was the pivotal game of that entire playoffs. We were playing the best team in the NL and to be able to come home up 2-0 was huge."

VS.

2. Dave Dravecky's comeback after cancer in 1989

(From former Giants pitcher and current Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow)

The Dave Dravecky story is the greatest testimony of desire that I had ever seen on a baseball field.

Dave was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his throwing arm and he was told he would have to have the tumor removed. The surgery was quite extensive and it completely maimed his arm in a horrific way. When we saw what remained of his arm after the surgery is was obviously clear that he would never pitch again. The muscles were almost entirely gone. It literally looked like a shark bite. Knowing that this was happening to great pitcher in his prime was catastrophic to all of us. Everyones worst nightmare.

He showed up the spring of 1989 to camp and we all were happy to see him but we thought it was a little weird when he had brought his equipment to his locker and started getting dressed. I went over to him and asked him what he was doing. He straightened up and looked me right in the eye and said, “I am going to pitch in the big leagues again.” I almost started crying. There was no chance.

 

The season started and he stayed back in SF rehabbing. Each time we would come back from a road trip and he would update us to his progress. “Hey, I’m playing catch with a tennis ball from 30 feet” he would say. Always with a smile. We would collectively shake our heads.

But each time back off a road trip he would do a little more. Catch from 70 feet with a tennis ball, catch from 20 feet with a hard ball, catch from 70 feet, catch with a football etc.,  etc.,  etc.  and then came the day when he said he was gonna pitch off the mound.

We could not believe what we were seeing. He was throwing without a complete set of muscles and he was starting to convince us that he was actually going to comeback. His journey was an incredible inspiration to us and when he rehabbed with some minor league starts and dealt, it became clear that he was going to again pitch again in the big leagues, We couldn’t believe what we were seeing and more importantly, we couldn’t wait.

He returned in August during a home stand and pitched against the Reds. it was a day that made us feel like we were all floating on the cloud of something surreal. He was doing the impossible and he was doing it well. We won that day and he was dominant. It was a miracle. He gave us that miracle and his belief and it was a gift that inspired every one of us in that clubhouse. His return would only last two starts but I will always believe that in those two games he gave us the blind faith to never ever give up and to never ever stop believing. It became our edge of inner strength that helped us win a pennant and it was also something that we all took with us through life when our careers were over.

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