Jeff Gross - Getty Images
The Giants and Dodgers, in the series that was supposed to be huge. It still could be.
Before the season started, this final series looked like it was going to be something big. And when the Dodgers jumped out to their fast start, it looked like it was going to be even bigger. If, in March, you had to draw up your ideal end-of-season scenario for this series, it probably would have gone something like this:
Game 162. Giants and Dodgers are tied in the NL West. Bottom of the ninth. The Dodgers are down by a run, but there are two outs and the bases loaded. Matt Kemp is up, and the count is 3-2. Guillermo Mota, don't ask, delivers the pitch. Kemp bombs it, deep into center. It looks like it's going 450 feet, and the Dodgers are ready to storm the field.
Suddenly, a golden griffon appears in the sky. It beats its wings furiously, causing everyone on the the field to shield their face from the hurricane-force winds. Everyone except Angel Pagan, who somehow manages to concentrate, scale the wall, and bring back the wind-defeated, would-be home run. The Giants win the West.
On the back of the griffon is Wayne Franklin, except … different. He's wearing white robes, with long white hair and a pure white beard. In one hand, he is holding a flaming sword. In the other, the head of Steve Finley. Franklin the Pure calls out:
"No more, Dodgers. You shall torment me no more. I am a celestial wanderer now, making the universe right. Also, I am here for Shane Victorino because he is on the Dodgers now for some reason."
Before Victorino can object, the griffon grabs his head between sharp talons and flies off.
The Giants celebrate in a dogpile on the Dodger Stadium mound.
Also, the griffon drops Victorino from 1,000 feet.
At least, that's how I pictured it when I was storyboarding it for my graphic novel. But as the season wore on, and the Giants put us through the same kinds of day-to-day stress that all contending teams put their teams through, I changed my ideal scenario. It became "win the West by a billion games so the last series isn't so damned stressful, and figure out some way to eliminate the Dodgers from wild-card consideration."
Saaaaay. This could be awesome.
The Cardinals have to help out and lose a couple to make this the perfect experience, though. And the Giants should, you know, win a game. Two would be ducky, and three would be perfect. Momentum might or might not be real and measurable, but I don't think you need to argue for momentum when it comes to appreciating the Giants ending the season by sweeping the Dodgers.
But I'll settle for the Giants just eliminating them.
Last year, I wrote an article that almost seemed like Dodger pity. I was sure that I was being punished this season for that article.
Here's hoping that new owners come in and treat the Dodgers like the financial powerhouse they should be ... and finish one game out of the playoffs every year because of something baseball-related. That's the sort of thing that makes sports great. Rooting for a team to fail because of a owner's personal spending habits is like rooting for a walk-off catcher's interference call.
Gaaaaaah. It was too close! That was too close to reality! You fool! Stop writing crap like that!
Except now the Giants can eliminate the Dodgers in the same season they got new owners and $250 million worth of sketchy investments. The Dodgers' lineup looked better with Hanley Ramirez. It looked a little better when they acquired Victorino. It looked much better when they nabbed Adrian Gonzalez to replace James Loney.
It was better. But, for whatever reason, they didn't score. It was glorious. Scoreboard-watching has never been so fun. Maybe Carl Crawford will fix that next season.
The odds are the Giants aren't going to win the World Series. That's not me being a cynical jerk; that's just reality. There will be eight good teams fighting to win it all, and one of them probably has the new Scott Spiezio or Bobby Jones lurking on their roster.
If the Giants get knocked out, though, it will still have been a memorable season. Division titles are always nice, but they so rarely come when the Dodgers are the direct competitors.
And if the Giants don't get knocked out ... goodness, that would be a Molotov cocktail of bitter, wick lit, ready to chuck at the Dodgers and their fancypantsed new owners.
Forget all that for now. The Giants have the opportunity to knock the Dodgers out of playoff contention. My suggestion, ladies and gentlemen, is that they figure out some way to do it. The Padres series was the last meaningless one of the season. This last one could turn a good season into an all-time great season, regardless of what comes after.
If we're still celebrating the Joe Morgan game 30 years later, imagine what this one could be like.
All the Giants need is a win. Preferably with the Huff/Pill/Burriss lineup to rub it in.