Matt Cain? Matt Cain!

Back before the Giants won the World Series, before Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval, there was Matt Cain, my one and only glimmer of hope in a season that featured Barry Bonds on the disabled list, Pedro Feliz as the starting left fielder, Kirk Rueter getting released by the Giants, and Brett Tomko implosions every fifth day. I’d followed other Giants prospects before, but none like Matt Cain. I can even remember the day he made his major league debut. I couldn’t even watch the game live, but I was incredibly excited anyway. This was Matt Cain, he represented the future, and he was here to save us all.

The Giants were still pretty terrible even after Matt Cain’s arrival, but his starts gave me something to look forward to, even when they inevitably ended in pain as the bullpen blew the lead or he received absolutely no run support. Through it all though, Cain never complained, even though he would have been fully justified in doing so. He was just steady, dependable Matt Cain, and he was awesome. He easily became my favorite Giant. And so it was extra satisfying watching him dominate in the postseason in 2010, finally getting the kind of attention he so deserved.

As the Giants talked about “Rainy Day Funds” this offseason, I tried to get myself accustomed to the idea that Matt Cain might leave after this season. I know that’s how baseball works.  It’s a business. Players leave. But the talk of Cain potentially wearing a Yankee or Dodger uniform made me feel sick. And so it thrilled me this morning when I heard the news that Matt Cain had agreed on a contract extension with the Giants. He’ll be donning the orange and black through at least 2017. Is it a lot of money? Sure.  But Matt Cain is Matt Cain. (And hey, it’s not my money. Heh.) Yeah, I know I’m talking from emotion here, but if there’s anyone who deserves that money, it’s Matt Cain.

I look forward to cheering Matt Cain when he’s announced as the starting pitcher on the 13th, and I definitely look forward to many more years of Matt Cain starts here in San Francisco.

Now, if you’ll indulge me, here are way too many photos that I’ve taken of Cain over the years.

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