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On Being a Giants Fan...

This site's been around for almost five full seasons. A quick recap of the previous four:

2005: Pain
2006: Pain
2007: Pain
2008: Pain

Just think about the things we've tried to get excited about. Like, say, Kevin Frandsen's three-hit debut, the possibility of fleecing another team for Matt Morris, or, good god, thinking Sean Casey could improve the team in some tangible way. It's been a long, long time since this team gave us something to be legitimately excited about. So how are we handling it?

With the same aplomb we always have. I'm pretty sure "aplomb" is a synonym for "bitter, pithy, and negative grumblings", and I'm too lazy to look it up. And when I use the royal "we" I'm referring specifically to the vast majority of you who don't form opinions until you read my thoughts on that particular subject. Thank you for your support. For those of you, though, who wonder why there's so much pessimism on this site during such an exciting season, this post is for you. Let's say this is a binary world, and there are two themes to discuss:

  • The good in the world. Tim Lincecum's awesomeness, Matt Cain's overall benevolence, and Pablo Sandoval's spherical sublimity. I could write 750-word paeans to all three a couple of times per week, ignoring any and all losses in between.
  • The bad in the world. The fact that one team's "player struggling to hold onto a lineup spot" is another team's "cleanup hitter." The flood of unpleasant thoughts associated with a simple number like 126,000,000. Thinking about Wilson Alvarez giving up a grand slam to Devon White years after you should be thinking about it.

The second group makes for more compelling copy, as it were, but that's not really the reason I'm averse to rainbow-tinted optimism. The only way to explain this one is in allegory form.

Imagine that you've been on about, oh, fifty dates in your life. Some are duds right out of the gate, and some are mildly interesting, but there are a few that are amazing. Shared interests, a mutual attraction, a naturally flowing conversation...everything's working. At no point in the evening do you second guess your excitement. You stay up all night talking, and at just the right moment, your date whispers into your ear, "Excuse me while I slip into something more comfortable." And you wait patiently as your date disappears behind a closed door. The anticipation is almost the best part. And when your date opens the door, she's in full clown makeup, covered in pig entrails, and mumbling, "Mama paint you pretty now? Mama paint you pretty now?"

I wasn't around for '62 or '71. But I've still been on more than a few of those dates with the Giants. It always ends the same damned way. So right now, we're at dinner. The food is amazing. There's live music playing, and it's pretty danged good. I catch a stray glance from the Giants, and I act like I don't notice that they're staring at me. Everything's sure shaping up for an exciting season. But forgive me if I'm a little preoccupied with how the 2009 Giants will define "comfortable" when they say they're going to leave me to slip into something a little more comfortable. I've been there. The images are burned into my brain.

And that's why I can be a little negative with a team as exciting as this. Is that also a backhanded admission that I've made out with my computer screen when Tim Lincecum's FanGraphs page is up? No. Nothing that would stand up in court, anyway.

I'm having fun this season. But I'm still afraid, and it's only because I'm using the early warning system that nature gave me. So I'll continue to pick at the lineup, managerial moves, and front office decisions. Bengie Molina hitting cleanup? That's like your date mentioning that she really, really, really likes Emmett Kelly paintings. Edgar Renteria failing to show anything that resembles a baseball-related skill? That's like your date mentioning her respect for how Native Americans used "every last part of the pig." You were about to correct her and tell her that she meant "buffalo," but that would have messed up the moment. After the date's over and your police report is filed, you'll start to play the events back in your head, and everything will make sense.

So, yes, this has been a fantastic season to this point. It's been exciting beyond words. And I'm still going to complain a lot. Fifty-once bitten, fifty-twice shy. Prove me wrong, Giants. Prove me wrong.