Pretty sure I've never rooted for the San Francisco Giants to lose in my life. There had to be a game where a loss would have hosed the Dodgers in a divisional race, and I was probably much more accepting of a Giants loss. But I wasn't actively shouting things like, "C'mon Zito, hang that curve. Let's go, Lance. Drop that ball. Dammit, Giants, why are you playing so well?" I don't even know if I could pretend to without giggling.
Here's something that I like almost as much as San Francisco Giants baseball: weirdness. My preference will always be for the Giants to win a World Series, but if a raccoon chased Gregor Blanco around the outfield for 20 minutes during an NLCS loss this year, I'm pretty sure I'd consider this season to be more important than 2002. Both of them would have ended without a parade. But the one without a pennant would have had a raccoon chasing Gregor Blanco around the outfield for 20 minutes.
Man, that would be a tough decision. Okay, maybe I'd go with the pennant. But we're talking if the raccoon kept charging Blanco, cutting him off every time he almost got to safety. Maybe it wouldn't have to be 20 minutes, but just a minute. That would bring us all incomparable joy, even if we really, really like Blanco. Just imagine it.
Now, we're probably never going to see that kind of raccoon attack. The little fellers kind of keep to themselves, especially considering all of those bright lights. But we have the raccoon-attack of baseball scheduling coming up. In the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader, the Reds will be the home team at AT&T Park. That's odd. A little quirky. You sure don't see that very often. But it's nothing more than odd and quirky, right?
Not unless the Reds get a walk-off victory, that is.
Picture it: Fourteenth inning, with Jean Machi on the mound. Brandon Phillips puts one off the foul pole. The Reds come screaming out of the dugout and dogpile on home plate. The crowd would be stunned, totally silent. It would be the oddest walk-off home run in the history of either franchise, certainly, and probably the strangest in baseball history. It would be an abomination. A hilarious abomination.
It's still not enough for me to root against the Giants, of course. It wouldn't be that hilarious. But if I had to choose between a 79-83 season and a 78-84 season with the Reds walking off at AT&T Park … I don't see how that's really a choice at all.
But I can't root for it without knowing the future. If I had to choose between an 87-75 team that makes the playoffs and an 86-76 team that just misses but has the home walk-off, obviously the first one takes it.
You have to admit, a small part of you just wants to see what it would be like, though.
This is all the perfect way to describe the 2013 season. San Francisco Giants baseball: Check back in a little bit because we're not really sure what in the hell we have yet. Trade deadline? Dunno. Reply hazy, try again. Buyers or sellers? Reply hazy, try again. It would be okay to lose one lousy game just to watch a non-home walk-off, right? Reply hazy, try again.
Right when most of us were ready to write the Giants off, they won two straight series. They're in this thing?, so we have to bite our nails and see what happens. We can't get greedy and prospect-vulturey with other team's assets, and we can't even root against our team so they can lose in a horribly discouraging way. Totally unfair.
But it's also a neat segue into my prediction about this series: We'll know what the Giants are going to do after it's over. Or at least, we should know what the Giants are going to do. Lose three of four or get swept, looking like the inferior team the whole time, while losing ground to the Diamondbacks or Dodgers? Sell. It wouldn't be a hard decision. A bad showing in this series would push everyone over the edge, including the folks who actually get to make that decision.
Another series win would push the Giants closer to being buyers, as improbable as that might have seemed two weeks ago. The Giants were supposed to be good before the season started; I'd be cooler with looking for that good team again rather than pretend they've just been one piece away the whole time. But a sweep or three out of four would make some people disagree with that notion, and I'm thinking that CNN will keep breaking into regular coverage to share Bud Norris updates with us.
Long series preview short: This is an important series. Important enough to where we can't root for a little sliver of weird baseball history, even if it would be a memorably regrettable moment in a season of forgettably regrettable moments. Win the damn series, Giants. And take a 10-run lead early in the second game of the doubleheader so I don't even have to start giggling at the prospect.
And if you do win, Giants, don't do anything stupid, like trade two young players for a lefty reliever. That kind of thing never pans out.