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Bumgarner Leads Giants Over Royals In World Series02:59
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A look back at the 2014 World Series could start in any one of a number of places.

No it couldn't. That's ridiculous. It could only start with one guy.

"This is as good as it gets, World Series, Game 7."

Thus spake Madison Bumgarner, the World Series MVP who starred on the mound for the Giants throughout their excellent autumn adventure.

"And it's pretty stressful at the same time, so we're just thankful for the opportunity, and we're blessed to have the success we've had," he added.

[sidebar title="Awkward Sideline Interviews" width="630" align="right"]After Giants star Hunter Pence went through an awkward sideline interview with Fox's Erin Andrews, we looked back at other cringe-worthy sideline conversations.[/sidebar]If Madison Bumgarner did experience any stress as he shut down the Royals in three of the Series' seven games, it wasn't evident. He seemed as consistently calm as he was consistently unhittable, and according to Giants second baseman Joe Panik, his teammates never doubted he would remain so.

"After watching him throw the first two innings, a lot of us realized this was his ball," Panik said. "He's not gonna give it up. This is his game. And there's nobody else any one of us would rather have out on that mound."

No wonder. Bumgarner won two World Series games as a starter and saved the finale on short rest with five more impeccable innings, meaning that he was as versatile as he was overwhelming. His series ERA was 0.43. The only question was how the heck he'd lost 10 games during the regular season.

What was not in question, according to Giants CEO Larry Baer as the team arrived home, was Bumgarner's impact on the organization.

"The plane was just giddy. Everybody was just sort of in an altered state of happiness and euphoria, and we didn't need an airplane to fly us home, that's for sure," Baer said.

"Everybody was just sort of in an altered state of happiness and euphoria, and we didn't need an airplane to fly us home, that's for sure."

Larry Baer, Giants CEO

"That's the best postseason performance I've seen anybody have. He's a tremendous competitor, got tremendous stuff. He's that ace of that team. He put the team on their back and carried them to a championship, and you gotta tip your hat to him," Butler said. "I mean, right now, it hurts, but you respect what he did and the way he went out there and took the ball each time and wanted it. You know, just look forward to getting him next time."

As far as Butler is concerned, it's perfectly fine that the "next time" won't come for at least 11 months. In fact, when he was asked about next season, Butler sounded as if he and his mates felt the seven game series they'd just finished would hold them for a while.

"I don't think anyone in here is looking for spring training. We're looking for a little bit of down time now. Everyone in here earned it. We came up a little bit short, but we got nothing to be ashamed of. Couldn't be more proud of this group in here," Butler said. "We wore that Kansas City Royals uniform this year with pride. We respected it, and that's the way you want everyone to wear the uniform. We played the game the right way, and we're going to keep our heads up on the way out the door tonight."

In the wake of this fall's World Series, probably everybody on both teams ought to feel that way. The Giants and Royals provided fans with a terrific show.

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This segment aired on November 1, 2014.

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Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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