We all know that baseball is first and foremost a business, though losing a guy like Jonathan Sanchez will sting a little bit for a lot of San Francisco Giants fans. He was key piece to one of the best rotations in baseball, but unfortunately made more use to the Giants now with another team, and another player in his place on the roster.
Yet we remember the good times with Sanchy, as skipper Bruce Bochy so affectionately called him, or The Sanchize, the Dirty Sanchez, or whatever other moniker you chose for yourself. We all have fond memories of his time with the Black and Orange, some better than others, though he has left his mark with both the team and the fans regardless.
Ah yes, the good times, like July 10, 2009, Sanchez's incredible no-hitter. It was his first start since a demotion to the bullpen, though it was also the first time his Father got to see him pitch in the big leagues, and he was graced with baseball history.
Sanchez was a single error away from throwing a perfect game, not even walking a Padre batter during the Giants 8-0 drubbing of San Diego. I didn't get to see that game is person, for I bought tickets for the Thursday game the day before in which Tim Lincecum threw 6 no hit innings in route to a 9-3 Giants victory (not too shabby). I always kick myself for not going that Friday as well.
Giants' Jonathan Sanchez after his no-hitter, July 10th, 2009 (via CSNBayArea)
Just one season later Sanchez would play an integral part in San Francisco's first ever World Series championship. He finished the 2010 regular season with a 13-9 record as well as a 3.07 ERA and 205 strikeouts; and I saw him pitch twice that year, both times in San Diego. He got the wrong side of a 1-0 game on April 20th while striking out 10, but made up for it with a 1-0 victory on September 10th, both times giving up only one hit to the Padres. He would later pitch the last game of the regular season that year, a 3-0 victory over the Padres that would clinch the NL West title for the Giants, and pave their way to postseason glory.
And although his postseason run that year wasn't as stellar as Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain or Madison Bumgarner, he still threw well, including 7.1 innings of two hit ball against the Braves in game three of the NLDS, which I watched from my ipod from a hotel in Paris, in Europe for the 49ers game in London. It was his best outing of his postseason career, and one that I'll always remember fondly.
Sanchez's 2011 was unfortunately one to forget, never getting into gear due to multiple injuries and lackluster outings. But he can hopefully start anew out in Kansas City where he can be a veteran presence on a budding team. He forged many memories with Giants fans that they'll never forget, forever leaving a piece of himself in the heart of the San Francisco Giants.
Best of luck to the Dirty Sanchez, just how will you remember him?
The Long & Winding Road - Beatles (via radixker)