21 October 2012, 3:15 PM
Your Humble Blogger gives up on the Giants a lot.
I’m not actually sure what I mean by that—I certainly don’t stop listening to games, or watching them, or rooting for the Giants to win them. I don’t stop reading about the games and the players, and about their upcoming opponents. Nor has it ever occurred to me to root for some other team instead. No, what I mean is more the moment when I look at my team and say these guys stink. Or even, as has been happening lately, these guys are okay, we had a fine season, but those other teams are simply much better.
I think that’s a part of being a fan of a sports team, at least most of the time. Even Yankees fans, even Man U fans, even, um, do they play hockey these days? Anyway, sometimes you just look at the your guys, and you look at the other guys, and you think it would take a miracle.
I’ve done that a bunch of times this year. I gave up on the regular season when Melky Cabrera admitted using performance-enhancing drugs and was suspended the rest of the year. Frankly, in addition to thinking that we would not be able to win the division without the offense that Melky (and, presumably, the drugs) were providing, I felt that winning the division with the offense that he had provided through the first hundred games would be unsatisfying.
It turns out I was wrong about the unsatisfying part, and as it happened we walked away with the division to the point where few analysts seem to have responded that it was the Melky-juice that made the difference that got us there. And, you know, we get to play more games after the end of the season, so that’s cool.
After the first game of the Reds series, I almost gave up; their ace went down hurt and we still couldn’t win. And then after the second game, I did give up: we played poorly and looked utterly out of our league. That was fine; we had a perfectly good year, and the Reds were clearly a better team.
And then—we won three games in a row and the Reds went home to paint the garage. I don’t know what happened, or how, or why, but, you know, we won!
In this series against the Cardinals, I must say I again gave up, particularly after Game Four, when we played poorly and looked utterly out of our league. Again, that was fine; we had a perfectly good year, and the Cardinals are clearly a better team.
The thing about this Giants team, I think, even more than last year’s, is that when they lose, they often look terrible. I think this is because Hunter Pence is such an awkward, gangly, insectoid-alien goofball, who makes great catches and horrible errors, twitchy GiDPs and line drive home runs with the same ineffable unreality; Brandan Belt does resemble a baby giraffe, and appears at the plate as if he would rather do anything than swing the bat; Pablo Sandoval is actually reminiscent of the Disney Character that gave him his nickname, alternating between being unable to bend down on a routine grounder and levitating to snag a line drive without apparent muscular effort, except in masticating that bubble gum, and then there’s his cartoon eagerness to swing from the dugout at pitches that Brandon Belt can’t bring himself to risk his bat in proximity to. Those three look bad while playing well, frankly, but when the breaks go against them they look awful.
Also, so far we have started the worst pitcher in the National League. And also Barry Zito. I feel a little rueful about giving up, but come on. Matt Cain lost, and then we started a pitcher with an ERA+ of 67. And then Barry Zito. Was Barry Zito the second-worst pitcher to make 30 starts in the NL this year? Probably not; Edinson Volquez and Tommy Hanson were pretty bad. But he’d be in the discussion, wouldn’t he? And yet—
So what I’m saying is that I am going to try really hard not to give up on my Giants any more this year. I mean, yes, it’s possible that tonight will be their last game of the year anyway, but I believe they will play tomorrow, too. My Giants really are the best. They have intangibles and fire in the belly and spark in the eye. They have momentum. They have grit. They are gamers. They are clutch.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,