Making official what was probably obvious for the past two years, Giants relief ace Robb Nen quietly retired over the weekend. Nen played a huge part in recent Giants history, in pitching against them, pitching for them, and even in not being able to pitch for them at all. He played a role in some of the biggest Giant moments of the past several years, including giving up the home run to Neifi Perez (Neifi Perez!) that sunk the Giants in '98 and being the last pitcher to throw more gas onto the fire that was the Angels' Game 6 rally.

Oh, we're just joking. We kid because we love. Besides, if you look closely, you'll find that Felix Rodriguez was usually responsible for the chokes.

While closing for the Giants, Nen was one of the best closers in baseball and a huge component of the great run the Gigantos have put together under Brian Sabaen. Any doubt about his overall importance to the team should have dissipated sometime around the time the words "now pitching, Matt Herges" caused even the heartiest of men to reach for the strongest whiskey they could find. It wouldn't have been too far of a stretch to say that with a healthy Nen, Steve Finley would never have happened. Hell, you could even say that maybe, just maybe, if Nen were around in 2003 Jose Cruz wouldn't have happened.

Nen in happier days, celebrating a playoff win in 2002 from ESPN