Aaron Rowand

But the Giants could have had Corey Hart!

Instead, they got Cody Ross. And that all started when Brian Sabean decided that he couldn’t part with Jonathan Sanchez. Even though Sanchez had to have driven Sabean to throw his abacus to the floor and fill his belly with mead on multiple occasions due to his general mercuriality (yeah, yeah, not a word) and penchant for loading the bases by steadfastly refusing to throw strikes as a middle reliever and No. 5 starter.

A lot of the fans were ready to give up, too. He’ll never be that great, they said. Sure, he’s got stuff, but he doesn’t have it all upstairs. Too inconsistent. And who can blame people for wondering whether we were going to be teased by Sanchez throughout his tenure in San Francisco?

Sanchez probably represents left-handers as a stereotype better than perhaps any other person I can think of besides maybe Nick Van Exel (Okay, maybe Anthony Randolph). When everything’s working, it’s effortless, effective and there’s no possible answer from the opposition as to how to stop him. When it’s not working, the image that comes to mind is that he’s fighting himself like Edward Norton in Fight Club.

You have to frustrate a lot of people for the consensus view to become, “Sure, he’s a big left-handed pitcher with swing-thru stuff, the ability to start and pitch 200 innings, multiple pitches and no injury issues, but we should trade him for an above-average outfielder like Corey Hart or an above-average second baseman like Dan Uggla, even though Hart was added and dropped more than any other player in history two seasons ago and Uggla’s defense is Brooks Conrad-esque.”

I wrote on Twitter last night (yes, I still have trouble saying or writing the word “tweeted” … someday I’ll bite the bullet) that “If the #sfgiants traded Sanchez in July to some NL team like the Brewers or Marlins, he’d no-hit SF at least once in the next 3 yrs.” Think about it. A lefty who strikes out tons of guys and doesn’t necessarily always throw strikes. Madison Bumgarner (not the real one) had a great reply. No doubt. Terry Mulholland was a Giant-killer for like 25 years, maybe more.

It was the best non-move Sabean has ever made, and it wasn’t popular at the time. People were tired of Sanchez’ demeanor on the mound, which has changed from despondent/unfocused/apathetic to assured/relaxed/cocky. He’s thrown a no-hitter, made good on a promise to defeat the Padres (it took a while, but he was the one who hit the triple and threw 5 shutout innings), and won that game in Atlanta on Saturday at least as much as Conrad lost it. Now he’s the Giants’ No. 2 starter, the guy they’d rather have on the road against the most intimidating team in the league, in the stupidest ballpark the Majors has to offer that was never named after a brand of orange juice. And best of all, he’ll be wearing a Giants uniform next year.

Required viewing for Giants fans

— Jonathan’s becoming a star, but I can almost guarantee he can’t get as “Low Low Low Low” as the Giants’ other Sanchez, Freddy.

— And you’ve probably seen/heard this already, and it’s probably about as sincere as a flight attendant thanking you at the end of a flight, but there’s just something really cool about Barry Bonds saying he’ll be a Giant for life, and when it comes to the NLCS, he hopes the Giants “beat they ass.” (TMZ)

— Not Giants-related, but you have to check out this first-person view of a guy from the 101st Airborne parachuting into Michigan Stadium.

— Sounded an awful lot like Dan Runzler’s going to make the NLCS roster, at least if you listen closely to this Bruce Bochy interview on Mac and Murph. And reading between the lines, I think Aaron Rowand will make the cut over Darren Ford, too.

— No video of Tim Lincecum’s blister, but doesn’t this seem like the classic, “We have four days of hype to fill” blown-out-of-proportion-story you only see during unnaturally long breaks during the playoffs?

— However, I don’t really want to go on and on about the historical significance of the Lincecum/Halladay mega-matchup on Saturday night. Why? Because I feel like if I do, it’s going to end up sucking. Let’s let the New York Times and all the other sites around postulate (including ESPN if they can stop talking about the Heat, Brett Favre for 30 seconds); I’m just looking forward to sitting back and letting it happen on my TV. Oh, who am I kidding? If Halladay has a 1-2-3 first inning, I’m probably going to give myself a blister just wringing my hands due to nervousness.

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