June Swoon. You might think this is a baseball phrase, something that every team has to hear when they go on a losing streak in June. You would be right, but it probably started with the Giants. Here's the oldest mention of "June swoon" in the New York Times archives, from June 12, 1971.
Here's something Nick Peters wrote in 1990:
Convincingly destroying the myth of the June Swoon, the Giants are heading for their best month in San Francisco. The record is an 18-5 April in 1971. The June standard is 19-11 in 1964.
We pay attention to the June Swoon because it's a month of bad baseball after expectations were heightened. It doesn't really exist -- it's like the "things happen in threes" canard -- but our brains see a pattern. That means it's probably time to look at the greatest June Swoons in San Francisco Giants history because you were having too much fun at work.
Here are the Giants' June records since moving to San Francisco, sorted by the difference between June winning percentage and overall winning percentage:
|Year||June wins||June losses||June W-L%||Overall W-L%||Difference|
- The Giants have been better in 24 of their 56 Junes, worse in 32.
- The worst June Swoon was in 1981, but that doesn't count because of the strike. The real stinker was in 1974.
- The Giants don't like strike seasons. They hate to see their parents fight like that.
- Last year's June Swoon was followed with a July Apocaly and August Schmaugust, so it looks bad, but it got a whole lot worse.
- The Giants have made the playoffs 10 times since moving to San Francisco; in only two of those seasons did they play better in June than they did for the cumulative season.
- Tim Lincecum threw a no-hitter. Look at the no-hitter! Everyone look at the no-hitter.
- I liked that no-hitter.
- I don't like June Swoons, and I think they're mean.
More importantly, the Giants' record in June is 770-772, which is a .499 winning percentage. The Giants have been a .509 team since moving to San Francisco. The difference is negligible. There is no such thing as a June Swoon, at least anything that falls outside the normal parameters of what we should expect every year.
But the words sure do rhyme.
The part about expectations crashing down is the most important thing, probably. When a team stinks in April, we just assume they stink. Same in May. But when they get our hopes up and then stink in June, it's crushing. We think the team is a nice blind date, but then halfway through the dinner, they start describing how they follow Limp Bizkit on tour every summer. Last year's July was the revelation of a Fred Durst tattoo, and last August was the existence of five-year-old Freddie Jr., who's at home with the sitter.
The Giants are mostly terrible right now, but hopefully they won't be for long? That's all I got. This is a June swoon, alright. Even if it doesn't exist, we're living through it right now. Stop it, Giants.