Garlic fries vs. tater tot nachos and other very important NL Wild Card matchups to watch
Comparing postseason teams based on WAR and UZR is fun, but so is comparing them based on the potency of their ballpark garlic fries. Let's take a look at the NL Wild Card Game: San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Pop Culture moment
When it comes to pop culture, the Giants-Pirates Wild Card matchup is all about doppelgangers.
San Francisco has two celebrity look-alikes on their roster. First, as a pair of Cubs announcers discovered earlier this season, center fielder Angel Pagan (who will unfortunately miss the postseason) looks a bit like comedian Russell Brand:
And, of course, Tim Lincecum looks exactly like Cameron Frye from Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
Not to be outdone, Pirates rookie pitcher John Holdzkom looks exactly like a 6-foot-7 spawn of Seth Meyers and Jerry Seinfeld. Even Meyers says so:
We have no idea why, but AT&T Park has attacted a disconcerting number of horse people this season. Some even partook in the occasional adult beverage:
The Pirates, on the other hand, just have a casual neon-light-bowling-pin juggling fella named BURGH MAN:
Memorable first pitch
Bat. Kid. It was the most heart-warming story of the millennium, and a few months after Miles Scott saved the city of San Fransico and conquered the hearts of Americans everywhere, he threw out a stellar first pitch at AT&T Park.
But not only did former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson throw a strike for his first pitch at PNC Park back in April, he also mimed biting off Tony Sanchez's ear. Good ol' Iron Mike, reminiscing about one of his most terrifying moments.
From garlic fries to fish tacos to Crazy Crab, AT&T Park has embraced its eclectic hometown cuisine. And if you're hankering out of town, you can even try to make your own version of Gilroy's Garlic Fries at home.
In great uses of portmanteau, PNC Park boasts "tatchos" -- tater tot nachos, for the uninitiated. But there's also something called "The Closer" and, well, we'll let this speak for itself:
New at Pirates games this year: The Closer (grilled cheese w/NINE diffferent cheese & candied bacon) pic.twitter.com/2a7gODhmf2- darren rovell (@darrenrovell) March 27, 2014
Throwback postseason performance
The Giants have had two memorable recent World Series runs, but before San Francisco, there was New York. And in New York there was The Catch.
When your club's history incldues Willie Mays, there are a seemingly infinite number of postseason highlights. But The Catch is The Catch for a reason.
The Pirates, however, can claim a home run that made Mickey Mantle cry. How many teams can say that? Bill Mazeroski's game-winner in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series is the walk-off of all walk-offs.
Most definitive 2014 highlight
For a team that's been defined by its pitching in recent years, it was strangely fitting that the Giants' best hurler in 2014 was also known for his work at the plate. Sure, Madison Bumgarner's 18 wins and 2.98 ERA were nice, but it was his four home runs -- the most by a pitcher since 2010 -- that stood out most. Among those were two grand slams:
And, more importantly, his post-trot snot rocket:
Despite a 6 percent chance of reaching the postseason on May 5th, the Pirates never stopped battling in 2014. That resilience was best exemplified by Josh Harrison, who went from useful utility player to key lineup cog in within one year. Witness the All-Star third baseman/right fielder/left fielder/second baseman/shortstop:
Even when he won the team's Heart and Hustle Award, Harrison didn't stop:
Pittsburgh's answer? Andrew McCutchen -- or more specifically, McCutchen's 100-year-old biggest fan. Come on, you wouldn't want to disappoint her, would you?