This is normally where a Giants/Rockies series preview would go.
You do not care about the Giants/Rockies series. No one does. The Chad Bettis/Yusmeiro Petit matchup is just one of the signs that you could spend 10 hours this week on something better than the Giants/Rockies series. But you'll watch. We'll all watch. Bonds help us, we'll all watch.
Instead, there's something that's been on my mind for a while, and today is the perfect day to clarify those thoughts. It's a two-parter.
Idea #1: You have a right to complain about a bad season, regardless of what happened in previous seasons
The Giants are having a bad season. The Giants just had two of the best, most exciting, thrilling, unexpected amazing seasons that any franchise could ever hope for. Both are true. And you're bummed out about the first one.
Well, of course you are. And good for you.
You spend a lot of time with your baseball team. A lot of time. So much time. If you watch every game, you watch about 500 hours of baseball. If you add the time spent reading, writing, and talking about the Giants, you're getting close to 750 hours of active baseball engagement. But it's really hard to watch every game, so let's roll it all into that first 500 hours and call it even.
Let's see, divide that by 10,000 to get to Malcolm Gladwell's pop-science non-meaningful meaningful number, and you get 20 years. After 20 years of following baseball like a hardcore fan, you supposedly become an expert. And you could have used that time to become fluent in another language, play an instrument, or perfect anything else you chose to accomplish.
You chose baseball.
Those games are three hours long. And they happen, like, every day. But it's what you've chosen. You want to live and die with every pitch. The ones not thrown by Chad Bettis or Yusmeiro Petit, at least. You wait all winter thinking about those pitches. You argue about the players who will throw and swing at them because there's nothing else to do. For hours, you argue about this. And hours and hours. And hours and hours and hours.
When the games actually got here this season, they were a steaming puddle of hot poison. Just dreadful. All those hours, expecting something different. All those hours, only to get bit in the brain by reality. A realitygator, if you will. It sucks. It's no fun. It's still baseball, and this is the path we've chosen, so we'll watch. Next year, the year after, we'll watch. And the hours will build up again. Here's a secret: Next year is probably going to be disappointing relative to 2010 and 2012. So is the year after that. And that. Them's just the odds.
So never apologize for bemoaning a bad season. Never feel bad about disappointment, even if it comes on the heels of an amazing season or two or 20. That was hundreds and hundreds of hours ago, in terms of raw time spent engaging with baseball. New expectations, new dreams were built up between now and then. If you're disappointed about the season to date, that's the point. Baseball's supposed to be about the ups making the downs worth it, and the downs making the ups that much better.
The Giants' season stinks. Yell it from the rooftops. When someone yells back that you're spoiled, hey, they just don't understand. The endorphins from the good stuff don't last a decade. They last six months, tops. Never feel guilty about complaining about a horrific baseball team.
Idea #2: Fans of other teams are still justified when they want to hit you in the face with a pie, though
There were a lot of examples before today. Cubs fans want to shank you when you complain. Royals fans just want to make the playoffs, if that's okay with everyone. The Pirates, man. The Pirates.
The best example from a Giants-related perspective, though, comes from the Mets. If you haven't heard, Matt Harvey is done for the year, and the odds are good that he'll need Tommy John surgery and be out until 2015. This is devastating. I'm not a Mets fan at all, but I'm thoroughly shaken by the news. He was so, so fun to watch pitch. And now the Mets have to start over. At least, that's what it will feel like. One of the only good things about being a Mets fan is gone, possibly for next year, too.
The Giants just put Matt Cain on the disabled list because he was hit on the forearm by a comebacker. This was the first DL trip for Cain in his career. Tim Lincecum has never had one. Neither has Madison Bumgarner. The three first-round picks combined for over 3,700 innings and 585 starts before the first DL trip, and it came because of a fluke injury. That's gobsmacking. And the three also found success almost immediately in their young 20s. There wasn't a lengthy is-he-or-isn't-he period with any of the three, at least in the majors.
The three combined forces to bring in one of the better runs in franchise history, if not the best. You were there to watch it. And now you're complaining about baseball? You ghoul. You awful, awful ghoul.
You know why you're complaining. You've spent a lot of time with this team. So much time. You've earned it. It's your right as a fan. It's the whole point of being a fan in the first place.
You know why you're stupid for complaining. We've been spoiled, and everyone can see it. We haven't earned anything. It's not our right as a fan to complain when everything went so perfectly just a short time ago.
Both ideas are right. It's a matter of perception and context. Keep complaining. It's what fans of bad teams do. But every now and again, come up for air and take a deep breath of context. It'll make you feel better, and it'll make the other people want to hit you in the face with a pie just a little bit less. Until then, remember why you and your ilk are totally unpopular. Then shrug it off because you have bigger things to worry about. Like Guillermo Moscoso. Because what's the deal with Guillermo Moscoso?
Mostly, though, I'm just bummed that one of the game's best pitchers is hurt. One of these days, the nanobots will fix everything.