It's easy to wonder where the Giants would be if they hadn't gone 2-11 against Pittsburgh and Washington this season. But that wouldn't be optimism, now would it? That would be looking a dead gift horse in the mouth after it was beaten for not drinking the damn water you led it to. Sure, if they had even gone .500 against two of the worst teams in baseball they'd be the front-runners in the playoff race right now. Yes, that was one of the worst stretches of play in the history of organized sports, even if you expand the category to include the `62 Mets, South African play in international baseball tournaments, and the famous Duluth bridge tournament from `84 where two participants were disqualified for something called "spade-honking". It was a poetic, Homeric odyssey of losing the Giants embarked on, where the tears became....
Pardon that outburst, if you will. My word processor was set to auto-whine; a setting I've been cruising on for a few months now. Losing is a thing of the distant recent past. Winning is the new losing, and I like it. I could get used to it. The old party line was that sniping, grumbling, and pessimism were verboten around this site after a five-game winning streak. It seems safe to amend that to discourage negativity after winning 11 of 14, especially when a couple of division rivals were swept in the process.
The bad times that preceded: 3-16
After the hard rain had fallen: 11-3
Things are looking up. The problem is that when the Giants look up, they see the jackals from Los Angeles. This aggression will not stand, man. The Giants had the Joe Morgan game, so the Dodgers came back with the Salomon Torres game. It was the Giants turn -- the Giants turn, I say! -- when the Dodgers went out of order to shove the Steve Finley game down our throats. Conveniently ignoring the fact that the Dodgers had to wait a decade between the first two examples, not to mention the Brian Johnson game, the Giants are due to make some sort of amends for the Finley game. Especially considering we now have to watch Finley ground out four times a game.
So if we agree the Giants are due for a good turn in the mutual humiliation cycle, we're faced with a choice. Win the division outright, and tell the Dodgers to sit on it? Or win the wild card, advance to the second round, and then dispatch the Dodgers. My simple math:
Knocking the other team out of a playoff chase you're no longer involved in: + 3 points
Directly topping the rival team in that playoff chase: + 10 points
Winning the division with the rival team in second, but the rival wins the wild card: + .5 point
Dispatching the rival in a tense playoff series: + 1,000,000 points, free movie tickets for a year, and a baby panda named after the winning team's general manager.
The choice is pretty clear. Remember, according to the rules I've been making up as I've gone along, today is an optimism day. You can't jinx a team on an optimism day. And if you did jinx the Giants, would anyone ever be able to tell the difference? The floor is open for comments on the points system, comments on what dream playoff scenario would be more enjoyable, and mostly positive comments. Positive, I say! We aren't going to get too many days like this in the coming years, so enjoy it now. Wait, that's not positive. I mean, the winning is just going to continue, so the optimism days will be harder to pick out from the crowd? Something like that.