First things first: I am a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan. So excuse me if this is a little gushy.
The Giants are going to the World Series, thanks to a massive, already-legendary bottom-of-the-9th walk-off home run by Travis Ishikawa last night, giving San Francisco a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!
Kawakami: Put Travis Ishikawa among San Francisco Giants' legendary heroes
Instant hero. Pretty awesome for a guy who, earlier this season, was considering quitting the game.
Ishikawa, 31, started his career with Giants back in 2002, was released, bounced around, started this season with the Pirates, got sent to the minors, but eventually made his way back on to San Francisco's roster. The journeyman first baseman found himself playing left field in the postseason, providing the Giants with some key at-bats and defensive plays. And then, tonight, that homer.
That blessed homer:
Ishikawa says he doesn't even remember rounding the bases after the ball went over.
"As soon as I hit it, I knew instantly the game was over because I knew it would be at least be off the wall," Ishikawa said.
"As I was going across the (first-base) bag, I was thinking, 'Man, if this goes out it's going to be incredible.'
"And I just saw it sneak over. And after that I don't remember. I don't remember anything else after that."
I remember screaming and dancing around my coffee table in honor of San Francisco's new favorite Giant.
I also gotta give some due props to St. Louis first baseman Kolten Wong, the Cardinals' breakout star of the postseason. Dude was absolutely on fire on all levels, and helped the Cards nab their one NLCS win with a walkoff homer in Game 2. I was dreading every time he stepped up to the plate. For what it's worth, respect.
The Giants will face the Kansas City Royals in the World Series starting Tuesday. Fingers crossed.
More here: Ishikawa has become a 'savior' for Giants in postseason