One of my biggest pet peeves is when people refer to games before the end of September as "must-win games." It's everyone's pet peeve, actually. Another one of my pet peeves is when people point out that it's their pet peeve when people refer to games before the end of September as "must-win games." I hate that. So this post is off to a good start.
In 2007, though, someone surely called one of the games in the middle of an eight-game losing streak a "must win" for the Rockies. And the Rockies lost. And the Rockies made the playoffs. This is important to note, as the Rockies never lost again. Look it up. So when the worst case scenario was that the Giants would have ended yesterday just two full games back from a playoff spot, it would be ridiculous to say it was a "must-win" game.
So there needs to be something in between "must win" and "just another game." There needs to be a phrase or a term that captures a game like yesterday's. The Giants...
- Dropped the first two games against a hated division rival, looking as bad as they have all season
- Had their best pitcher on the mound, facing a cavalcade of long relievers because one of the Dodgers' best pitchers missed a start
- Started a bench-clearing ruckus (just a wee unnecessarily), which fired up the fans and, apparently, Edgar Renteria
- Were hosed by calls all series at first base, and the most crucial blown call of the series led to Tim Lincecum giving up the lead in the ninth inning
- Left 12,349 runners on base throughout the afternoon
- Grounded into an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the ninth after a leadoff triple was stretched into a leadoff double
So if Juan Uribe does the standard Juan Uribe thing and makes an out in the tenth, and if the Dodgers score a run off of Jeremy Affeldt in the eleventh, it would probably have been the worst loss of the season. It might have been the worst loss of the past five seasons, dating back to the Cody Ransom/Wayne Franklin/Dustin Hermanson debacle.
It wasn't a must-win, though. Not technically. It would take one four-game winning streak to forget about the series. But my fingers twitch and fight me when I try to avoid typing "must win" in reference to this game. I mean, it was a total must-win. They needed to win. Except they weren't eliminated with a loss yesterday.
This is an open thread to coin a term or a phrase. How can we refer to these games in the future? The only thing I can think of is "A game that isn't a 'must-win' if you want to be a government lawyer about it, but I wouldn't be surprised to watch the entire team and fanbase go into a spiralling vortex of depression and doom if they were to lose this crucially timed contest", but I'm not sure if that's catchy enough.
And, yes, I know the caption is kind of sexist -- by insinuating that Russell Martin is a woman, I'm insinuating that there is something intrinsically wrong with being a woman, and that's not fair -- but it makes me laugh. Also, Russell Martin has ovaries, so it's not like there's really anything misleading about the caption. Suck it, Russell Martin.