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Headline: Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Improved Defense Lead to Victory

Headline: Don Nelson Says Adonal Foyle, "Overweight" and "On the Third Team"

Headline: Giants Take Two Steps Back. Again. Please, Stop This.

Perspective for the baseballophiles: The first headline recalls something you might associate with the `86 Giants. The young players weren't expected to do anything right away, and the losses were expected. But you saw flashes. The Niners are filled with young players more in the Fred Lewis sense than the Will Clark sense; there are no sure bets, and football lifers are divided on the prospects for each one. It's an imperfect analogy, as the `86 Giants actually contended the same year and were in the playoffs a year later, but the transition from 1985 from 1986 was an exciting one for Giants fans. The Niners gave hope this season might be eventually be looked at in the same way.

The second headline for Warriors fans is just as exciting. Imagine Steve Finley sticking around for a few more start at $10M a year. He'd have his good points -- hustle and acceptable defense, maybe -- but the bad would far outweigh the good. Then imagine a new manager coming in and, before the season even started, letting everyone know the reign of ineffective starting was going to end, and that Finley would be benched. It's also an imperfect analogy, as Finley was actually good at one point, but the feeling of relief and progress would be the same. If the Warriors are ever going to be a perennial contender, it will never be with Foyle as a starter.

There's a reason for the sudden attention to other sports on a baseballcentric site. It's a heck of a lot more interesting than going over another return to .500. The Giants are the mediocrest bunch of mediocres that ever mediocred. Futzing with math and the remaining schedule still gives the Giants a chance, however unlikely. That's the mind talking. The heart says something completely different. Something like, "I got this bruise from falling down the stairs." But I can still guarantee a Giants playoff berth, under the following conditions:

  1. The Dodgers and Padres go 2-11 and 2-12, respectively, for the rest of the season.
  2. The Giants win the division by playing .500 ball.
It's a perfect scenario. Asking the Giants to win the division by playing .500 ball is like asking a fish to win a game show by having gills. No contest. Giants win! Giants win! Giants win!

Playing more than .500 ball? That's faith I just don't have right now. This team is giving me an ulcer.

Comment starter: Have you lost hope? If not, what would it take?