You know there's a Giants fan somewhere right now cursing Sergio Romo. I'm glad that fan doesn't get to watch the playoffs. I can deal with a little scorched earth if it means that guy is annoyed right now. Silver linings!
Congratulations to the Arizona Diamondbacks. I'm not a sucker for every worst-to-first turnaround -- there was never going to be sympathy for the Mat Latos, for example -- but the Diamondbacks earned the division. The horror of watching that bullpen last year must have been absolute. The die-hard fans built up a pretty rugged soul callous last year, and this must have been a pretty sweet reward.
Still rooting against them, of course. Rooting against them until they get to the Red Sox or Yankees, at which point I root for six straight months of sprinkler malfunctions. But I can't complain at how they won the division.
Just as the Diamondbacks deserved to reach the playoffs, the Giants deserved to have the playoffs file a restraining order. This team, man. The injuries are a legitimate reason to throw a pity party -- the only position player who was in the Opening Day lineup but didn't spend a month on the disabled list: Aubrey Huff. But Huff and Andres Torres not hitting like they did last year and the quicksuck pit between second and third were just as brutal to the team's hopes as were the injuries to Buster Posey, Freddy Sanchez, Pat Burrell, Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval, Cody Ross, Nate Schierholtz, Cody Ross again, Torres, Carlos Beltran, and Sandoval again.
Alright, when you put it like that, maybe the injuries really were the story of the season. But more than a couple of those names up there belong to fellas who have ligaments made from old mandolin strings, so maybe it wasn't all a cold bucket of surprise. Still stunk.
If you want metaphors, you got 'em. Metaphors on the streets, metaphors on the rocks. Metaphors in the gutter, every last drop. First, the Giants had eleven hits and one run. So Giants. No walks, one extra-base hit. A bunch of singles, spaced ever-so delicately apart. They'll find the bones of the runners who were in scoring position, but only after the winter snows melt. The teeth marks on the bones will be most disconcerting. It was a tough year all around.
And it was Matt Cain who got hosed. Of course it was. He still has a chance to get to .500, which would mean that Cain/Lincecum/Bumgarner -- three of the top ten pitchers in the NL according to FIP -- could all finish at .500 or worse. That's just so much meaningful information packed into one sentence. That's 2011 in a few words, though it doesn't say much about exploding ankles.
If there were any pitcher who was going to be victimized by zero run support and a ill-timed bullpen lapse, I'm glad it was Cain. But that's only because I fear change. Cain not getting any breaks is like a pair of old, hole-pocked boxer shorts. They're awful and horrid, but you're used to them. They're sort of comfortable and familiar. Also, the boxer shorts are filled with scorpions, and your genitals are horribly disfigured now. That's what it's like to watch Cain get hosed liked this year after year. So comfy, except for the awful pain.
Man, I hope, hope, hope Matt Cain doesn't leave because of this crap.
But the metaphor of metaphors was the Diamondbacks' rookie first baseman getting the game-winning hit, the Giants' rookie first baseman getting pulled for a pinch-runner in the seventh inning, and the Giants' veteran first baseman popping out to end the season. That's an omen for the present; that's an omen for the future. It's not like Belt at first for the whole season was the difference between first place and second ... but it just felt so perfect.
In Paul Goldschmidt's 11th game, he went 0-4 with four strikeouts. He was hitting .216/.275/.378 with three walks and 17 strikeouts as a major leaguer in 40 plate appearances. They kept giving him chances. He kept starting.
Belt had 58 plate appearances before he was sent down the first time. That's totally different. You can tell so much in those 18 extra at-bats.
One rookie had the game-winning hit. The other rookie was pulled for a pinch-runner, even though he's not exactly slow. That's the thing I'll remember about tonight. That, and Matt Cain getting hosed again. Those things, and the Diamondbacks hopping around like goofballs while the Giants moped around in the dugout, officially closing the book on the magical World Series run from last year.
When the lights go down, in the desert/When the sun shines on that shitty pool that's underchlorinated and teeming with bacteria.
It's over. Hell of a toboggan ride. Sixty-three percent proud, thirty-seven percent disgusted. Let me know if you think the ratios are off because I think I have a new tagline for the site.