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Keeping My Religion

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Warning: The following post is a ponderous and pretentious mess that aspires to be one of those crappy "Why Do We Like Them Sports?"-essays. As such, I've condensed the entire post into two sentences at the very end. Please go straight to the end of the post if you know what's good for you.

Every year that I've followed the Giants, the season has ended in agony. Sometimes its a dull cocktail of apathy and disgust (the last three seasons), and sometimes its a sudden drop of a toaster in the bathtub of hope (1997-2004). Yet every year, I come back. I pin my hopes on teenagers in Oregon and Georgia to help in five years, and I pin them on twenty-somethings in San Francisco to help immediately. It never works. It always ends in disappointment. But I keep returning. I'm stupid like that.

The reason for this maudlin tone: Baron Davis. The roster machinations of a basketball franchise are much different than those of a baseball franchise, so it isn't as if there's some grand point to make that relates to the Giants losing Barry Bonds or something. It's just another example of a franchise I love emerging from the muck, almost achieving something amazing, and unceremoniously tumbling back down to join the rest of the unwashed heathens. It's like when Icarus kept pushing that big ball of wax up a hill, only to have the ball roll back down to the bottom, where the minotaur, who used a ball of twine to follow him, is waiting to eat him for all of eternity because he stole fire from the gods. It will never end.

Then Matt Cain throws a great game. He had a hopping fastball...disappearing change...tight slider...it was fantastic. And I realize that I'm a weenie for thinking that anything that doesn't result in a championship isn't valid. I'll always have Cain's game last night, or Lincecum's game against Oakland. I'll always have Baron Davis going nutty against Dallas, which was directly responsible for me hopping around my apartment like some sort of coked up gibbon.

Sometimes I get too caught up with the whole championship thing. The Giants are probably a few years from ever getting those hopes up again. The Warriors probably are too. So it makes absolutely no sense to dwell on championships right now, if ever. In the meantime: huzzah for Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Monta Ellis, Fred Lewis, Brandan Wright, Andris Biedrins, Jonathan Sanchez, Anthony Randolph, Madison Bumgarner, et al. I'll be thrilled to watch them about 40% of the time in a bad year, and thrilled to watch them about 60% of the time in a good year. And the odds are excellent that the season will end in agony every time. I just have to be less of a weenie about it.

So to sum up: Baron Davis made me sad, but then Matt Cain made me happy! I like Matt Cain.