The Giants were in the World Series 24 months ago. They won it. They were also in a World Series 24 months before that. They won that. It had been 29 years since the Royals made the playoffs, and now they're on a magical, pixie-dusted run of pure delight. Everyone in America is rooting for the Royals, you know. Everyone except you and your craven friends. You're rooting for the overdog. You're rooting for McDonalds in a copyright infringement lawsuit against McDawson's Hamburgers and Friendly Fare.
You might be feeling a little uncomfortable about this. I can help.
I remember buying a board book about the Giants for my infant daughter, back in 2009. It had pictures of Lou Seal, baseballs to count, things like that. On one page, there was a list of World Championships.
1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954
It was the saddest danged thing. I know other franchises had/have it worse, but I just kept staring at that 1954. The Marlins had two titles. The San Francisco Giants had none. They went through a stretch of coming up just short in the '60s, getting within two feet of winning it in '62. They went through a bleak purgatory in the '70s and early '80s, becoming an irrelevant team in the game's worst ballpark. Their slogan for the 1984 Giants was literally "Come on, Giants: Hang in there," which is a serious cry for help.
Then came the pain. Candy Maldonado in the conservatory with a slide. Kevin Brown in the kitchen with a sinker. Scott Spiezio in the library with a nasty goatee and a fastball that wasn't fast enough. Will Clark never won it all. Barry Bonds never won it all. The Giants were never going to win. The Giants were never going to win. The Giants were never going to win.
When I start to feel uncomfortable about rooting against the Royals, I picture my daughter reading a similar book -- or an Amazon MindBook presented by Amazon, at least -- to her kid in 2040 and staring at the numbers "2012." I picture that kid finding the book in a box in the attic in 2060 and staring at the numbers "2012," just like I did with "1954." It would be impossible to comprehend. Anything that happened 10 years before you were born is fiction.
It might not happen again for decades. It might not happen again in my lifetime. It might not happen again in your lifetime. The Giants could get swept in this World Series and never get back. The Dodgers haven't been to a World Series since The Wonder Years premiered, you know.
The layers of dust would accumulate on the 2012 fun. The bragging rights would turn into nostalgia. Have you ever met an adult, a grown-ass adult with a job, debt, and a family, who has no memory of the 49ers winning a Super Bowl? I have. I've met quite a few. Maybe they weren't alive, or maybe they were still putting Transformers in the garbage disposal. It still weirds me out every time. The Niners were always good. They were always winning things. They were bullies. And then they weren't. It's been 20 years since they've won a championship. It might be 20 more.
That's the main thrust of the argument: You never know when this chance comes around again. The White Sox hadn't won a World Series in nearly 100 years when they won in 2005. Astros fans could console themselves with this fact, that at least a long-suffering team was the one to disappoint them. And then they decomposed into the fertile soil they are today, but there are no guarantees they'll be back anytime soon. Right now, the Astros and their fans give zero shits about the long-suffering White Sox.
Which leads into the next reason you shouldn't feel uncomfortable rooting against the plucky, upstart Royals: Baseball seasons are so, so, so long, with so many ups and downs and moments of hope and disappointment, that they're little mini-droughts of their own.
You had no problems rooting for the 2011 Giants as if they were trying to break out of a 100-year championship drought because you were there, every winter day, waiting for baseball that wasn't going to arrive for far too long. You spent the spring pretending not to care about Cactus League standings and failing. You spent April trying to figure the team out out, May and June mourning the loss of Buster Posey, and July hoping that Carlos Beltran would be the savior, and the whole time the Giants were affecting your mood with ups and downs. It takes about a month for you to realize that the previous season isn't something you can carry with you. It has auto-locking wheels like a fancy shopping cart, and it just has to stay there, forever. Every new season is usually a rich story of pain and disappointment. And it's long. So danged long.
I used to make fun of Yankees fans for caring so much the season after they had just won. I can't do that now. Every baseball season is just long enough to make you forget about the one before it.
I respect the Royals. I felt for their fans when things were going poorly, and I know what they're going through right now, that mix of "Is this happening?" and "We can't have nice things, so this is going to end." If they win the World Series, it'll be a much different feeling for Giants fans than watching the Angels celebrate as the Giants slink off the field, or watching the Marlins celebrate again when all you want is just one lousy title. The Royals winning would be a nice story.
But I'm not ready to just give them the celebration. Not when the Giants might not get this close again in my lifetime. Not when I've watched these goofy bastards for hundreds of three-hour chunks, writing them off, getting optimistic, writing them off, getting optimistic. This is the team I spend far too much time on, that I've always spent too much time on. I hope they win the next 56 titles because these games are part of the reason why I watch.
I hope they win the next four games because I'm not sure when they're going to fall up the stairs like this again. And it doesn't make me feel uncomfortable in the slightest to root against the Royals. I thought it would. It doesn't. At all. The Royals are a nice story. The Giants are the only story I care about, though. Somehow the team that couldn't hit Odrisamer Despaigne is four wins away from another World Series title, and it makes me feel like the Giants have never been here before and will never be here again.
I'll root for them as such. Win four more games, you bozos.