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A Slice of Optimism

The whole "Giants as significant other" analogy has been done. I think I’ve done it a couple of times, usually portraying the organization as an unfaithful spouse asking for another chance. It just fits so well, though. You have an interest, the interest hurts you, you kick the interest out, the interest comes back to beg forgiveness, you think that things will be different, and you let the interest back in. What in the heck kind of metaphor are you supposed to use?

The Giants are like that middle school gym teacher who says he’s going to leave his wife and move into your treehouse: Things get worse, never better, and only in hindsight will you realize just how disturbing things really are.

Stop that. This is a serious post. But after Monday’s debacle – remember that? Here’s a link to Purple Row’s gamethread if you don’t – a lot of us needed a break. Some said they were done with the team for the season; some just needed a couple of games off. It happens.

Everyone remembers the Neifi game, but there was another Colorado game from 1998 that was almost as bad. Fabled turncoat Jeff Reed blooped a single in a 0-0 game to give the Rockies a ninth-inning lead, and the Giants went on to lose their third in a row. The loss put the Giants three games back in the wild card chase.

Three games back. Hmm. That rings a bell….

A lot of folks probably gave up after that game. And there were logically sound in doing so. A three-game deficit with fourteen games left to play is a big deal. Still, the Giants were able to come back. The Cubs started to stink away the season, with Brant Brown taking six years off of Ron Santo’s life, and the Giants won nine of their last eleven, forcing a one-game playoff. The playoff was necessary after the Giants blew a 7-0 lead in the final game of the season, a game that would have allowed them to make the playoffs outright if they had won. Did you know that Neifi Perez also had a two-run triple in that game? Awesome.

Then in the one-game playoff, Mark Gardner served up an 0-2 meatball to a grassy plot of land that contained a decomposing Gary Gaetti, and the rest was soul-jabbing history. The Giants could have – nay, should have – just packed it in after they fell behind three games. But they chose to rise up and poke us in the eye with a flaming hot stick after our smores and our dignity fell into the campfire.

The lesson is obvious. Do you think it’s impossible to be hurt any more than you already have? Do you think Ryan Spilborghs sprinting around the bases, chucking his helmet in a fit of frenzied excitement, is as bad as it gets? Ha. Ha, I say. The Giants are in this thing. They’re just three back of a playoff spot with a month left. They have six games left against the Rockies, and three against the Dodgers. The team has every chance to crawl back into the divisional race, even. There’s a lot of baseball in a month.

All of the naysayers – myself most definitely included – were wrong to think the season was over. Last night’s home run festival was the proof we needed that the Giants will scrap and claw, fighting to make sure our eventual disappointment is even more complete. They’ll go into Petco Park, tied for the wild card lead, and they’ll score -4 runs on -16 hits. Or they’ll go on a six-game winning streak right as the Dodgers lose six, setting up a huge three-game Giants/Dodgers game that will feature six Eugenio Velez errors, five Bengie Molina double plays, four Fred Lewis misplays from the bench, three missed starts from Freddy Sanchez, two blown saves, and a seagull getting struck by a batted ball (a game-tying Giants homer if the path isn’t obstructed, but a ground-rule double as is) as he tries to find a pear tree. The possibilities of pain are endless!

The Giants are in this thing! I BELIEVE! This should be exciting. This isn’t over yet.