After the cancellation of the 2002 World Series, I wrote this:
This year was a special kind of dejection, though. This wasn't a "kick me" sign on the back. This was getting invited to a Victoria's Secret lingerie party, and getting there to find only a nude, confused, Tony Danza eating mayonnaise straight from the jar. This was the year the Giants were invited to sit at a banquet table with the , , and , and inducted into the Hall of Total F**cking Losers. Black tie only.
And, hey, look at that. Two of those teams have championships now. Good for them. And by "good", I mean, what a bunch of sellouts. You’re supposed to wear the pain on your sleeve like a sixteen-year-old listening to the Cure on a rainy day. The Red Sox had a long history of losing in the seventh game of a playoff series, losing the World Series in such a fashion in ‘46, ‘67, ‘75, and ‘86. Then they said, hey, screw this, and just started losing playoff series quickly, going a combined 18-2 in their elimination series from 1988 to 2002.
Someone got the bright idea in 2003 to try again. Of course, they lost in seven games, with late-inning devastation against the Yankees, no less. When the Red Sox were down to the Yankees three games to none in 2004, it was almost comical. It was a given that the Red Sox were going to lose again. We, as Giants fans, already had some of that hot chocolate with the little marshmallows going to help console the poor, poor, Red Sox.
And then Dave Roberts. That was kind of exciting. I was totally rooting for them at the time. But then, the Red Sox lost me. I could spend 1,000 words explaining why, or I could just post a picture:
The Red Sox are Ronald Miller. And, please, don’t tell me if Bill Simmons has already made this comparison. It will just ruin my day. The Red Sox used to be cool. Then they got a taste of the good life. And now they’re insufferable. The whole fan base. Insufferable. There’s a sense of entitlement and destiny inherent in everything they do. When the Red Sox last came into San Francisco, the fans tried to overrun Mays Field with their assclownery as if their team was sneezing out championship seasons. Oh, the hubris. They again want to light a bag of poop on our doorstep, even though we used to be cool. You used to be cool, Red Sox. You used to be cool.
Hitter to watch
I see that Kevin Youklis shops at the same goatee store as Todd Helton, putting more of a premium on "hairs per square inch" than "not looking like a sideshow freak." Good for him.
It’s interesting to look at Youklis’s minor league career. He was a walking machine in the minors, but he never had a double-digit home run total in the minors. Heck, even Kevin Frandsen did that, and he did it as a middle infielder. Then, as Youklis entered his mid-20s, his approach changed, and he started to drive the ball more. Now he’s a perennial MVP candidate. The moral of the story is that Youklis looked awful in the last month in his first season as a starter. That’s what good players do after they change their hitting approach in their mid-20s. It’s rude and irresponsible to start the season slow like John Bowker did. That’s the difference. Enjoy the minors, Johnny.
I’m not trying to imply that Bowker will be a perennial MVP candidate. Just pointing out how silly it is to pay attention to 80 random at-bats.
Pitcher to watch
Tim Wakefield has one of the most awesome contracts in professional sports. The Red Sox hold a perpetual $4M option on Wakefield. Whenever the Red Sox want a $4M Tim Wakefield, they have one. Forever. That’s just awesome. The fact that Aaron Rowand just swung at a knuckler in the visitors’ dugout? Less awesome.
That guy next to you in the Club seats? The one in the L.L. Bean polo who will spend six drunken innings yelling at Pablo Sandovah for being so fat? He’s from Turlock, and he roots for the Red Sox because his dad never played catch with him. The prediction is that he’ll annoy you.