There were a lot of signature moments in the Giants post-season, but if you had to pick one you would not go wrong choosing the bunt single by Barry Zito in Game Five of the NLCS. Not only did Barry-Z pitch a brilliant game, his bunt brought home the final run of the four-run, 4th inning rally that put the Cardinals in a hole they never recovered from. It was a terrific display of athleticism by the much-maligned pitcher and underscored the complete one-through-nine effort that was the hallmark of the 2012 champs. The Giants struck out 12 times in that game yet won convincingly! Zeets also delivered a great start in Game One of the World Series where he was matched up with über-ace Justin Verlander. When he stroked his RBI single off the flame-throwing 2011 MVP to make it a 5-0 lead you knew his redemption was complete.
I'm sure Barry Zito would be the first to tell you he did not need redeeming. Fan are fickle--they love you one day and hate you the next. His performance as a Giant has been well below expectations, but I doubt it was from lack of effort. By all accounts Zito has worked hard and tried his best every season to deliver the goods. Baseball is a difficult game that humbles even the most talented performers. I imagine that Barry has reached a place in his life where the process--the preparation and practice--is paramount, and the results secondary. If you do stuff right, things work out. Usually. But sometimes they don't. You can't get too hung up on outcomes in this crazy world because so many things are random and out of your control. He strikes me as someone who knows that and embraces it. You'd have to be that way to deal with the scrutiny and criticism that comes with being a famous, high-dollar ballplayer. I was happy to see him get the results this season and make such a great contribution to the team. The Giants won the last 14 times Zito pitched, and that includes games where he got bombed. Was that mere coincidence? Or does he bring something to the table as a teammate and competitor that we don't get to see? No matter the answers, it worked out great for us. The 2012 Giants are World Series Champions in a large part because no. 75 made some shit happen!