And when I write "you" in that headline, I mean "we." More specifically, me.
This could be a one-sentence post. The Giants won the World Series within the past 500 days, so shut your whinepie and return to your life. Don't get your precious little Carlos Beltran back? Deal with it. Here's a Sally Struthers infomercial asking you to support a Royals fan for just five cents a day. Now you feel all guilty.
But referring to the World Series every … single … time something goes right or wrong is kind of tired. Buster Posey injury? But championship. Lack of offensive improvements? But championship. Hand stuck between the stove and the wall for three days as you scream for help, 127 Hours-style? But championship. We get it. And we appreciate it. But it's overkill to keep reminding Giants fans of it.
No, you're a spoiled brat because you got to follow a team that had the best career-resurrection story of the decade, but you probably considered 2011 to be a failure. And when I write "you're" in that sentence, I mean "we are." More specifically, me. Last season was tough to watch. As Andrew Baggarly points out, the Giants had a historically wretched time with runners in scoring position and two outs last year. It's not like one of those statistical quirks that made you think, "Well, I'll be", months after the fact. You could feel it grinding on you in every one of those 162 games last season. It was so obvious, so painful.
As such, it felt like last season was a failure sandwich covered with debacle mayonnaise (or as I like to call it, "mayonnaise"). But with the Ryan Vogelsong contract reminding us of one Ryan Vogelsong, here's hoping that when we look back on the 2011 season, our first thought in a couple of decades is something like "Yeah, that was the Vogelsong season, right?" It was that ridiculous.
If the Giants were Royals -- or, more specifically, the Royals without the up-and-coming young players -- that would be the only way to remember the season. Imagine Jimmy Gobble or Jeff Austin materializing out of the mist to make an All-Star team and keep runs off the board all season. Imagine Scott Elarton doing the same for the Astros. Imagine the Pirates getting that sort of lift from, uh, Ryan Vogelsong. It would be the story of the season. And when it comes to teams that have lost more than they've won over the past two decades, a story like that would have broken up the monotony of losing in the exact same way as the previous ten seasons.
The Giants didn't have a season so bad that Vogelsong was the life preserver, though. They had Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner and Sergio Romo and ten pitchers who had more than 50 innings and an ERA+ over 110. They had enough good things happen to them that even with Tejada, Rowand, Orlando Cabrera, and Whiteside making you ill, the team finished with 86 wins, contending for most of the season.
That doesn't mean it's totally gauche to complain about the Giants not paying Carlos Beltran for two seasons, or the Posey injury, or Melky Cabrera serving as a one-man cavalry. Not at all. That's just being a fan. But when it comes to last year, if you're not thinking that there were at least some positives -- especially the renaissance of a guy who was a prospect back when the Giants played in Candlestick -- you're probably a spoiled brat.
And by you, I mean me. It's a little easy for me to go into Beltran Cynical Overdrive as I roll on down the highway, and every once in a while, I need a Vogelsongian kick in the ass to remind me that there were some special things that happened to Giants fans last year. A redemption story like Vogelsong's -- the possibility of such a bizarre and beautiful thing -- is why I keep coming back to baseball in the first place.
And don't look, but it happened the year before, under slightly difference circumstances, with Andres Torres. You know, when the Giants did that thing.
Baseball's cool. Some times. Most of the time. Even if I'd prefer to like it for the 2010 reasons rather than the 2011 reasons.