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The Giants are going to the White House, and the Warriors are in the NBA Finals

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That is a headline that makes sense to us now, but when would it made the least amount of sense?

Thanks for the championship, Kensuke Tanaka. We'll never forget you.
Thanks for the championship, Kensuke Tanaka. We'll never forget you.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Come here, closer, so I can whisper a sentence to you. It's a magical sentence, one that's delightful and absurd. Your job is to take this sentence and realize just how delightful and absurd it is. Please, do not be alarmed at this sentence. This is real life. Here goes:

On June 4, 2015, the Giants will visit the White House for the third time in five years, and the Warriors will play in the NBA Finals.

The raven types frantically on the ivory typewriter.

I ... wait, what? No, no, that sentence wasn't a code or passphrase. It's just an honest description of the day's events. The Giants won the World Series again, so they get to meet the President of the United States for the third time, and on the same day, the Warriors will start the NBA Finals at home. No big deal.

Except this sentence would melt the synapses of people in the recent past. They would have questions, so many questions.

"Wait, the Giants did what?"

"Did 28 other basketball teams file for bankruptcy?"

"Did the Giants start fighting crime, like the Harlem Globetrotters, and that's why they got to visit, and along the way one of the episodes involved fighting a corrupt basketball commissioner, and that's how the Warriors got in the Finals?"

Our job today is to figure out the perfect year to blow people's minds. If you go back to 2011 and whisper that sentence, it would be implausible, but the Giants were visiting the White House that year, too. Sure seem to do that a lot.

So starting after the Warriors made the Finals in 1975, which year would the sentence "The Giants will visit the White House again, and the Warriors will play in the NBA Finals on the same day" make the least sense?

1979

A strong contender, considering the Giants finished with 91 losses and the Warriors had a .244 winning percentage. Except, the Warriors had recently won a championship. They didn't have that sense of loser baked into them yet, not even close. And that goes for the Giants, too. They were just seven years removed from the playoffs, so they didn't have the heartbreak of Candy Maldonado's sliding catch to wallow in.

If you told someone in 1979 that the Giants would visit the White House and the Warriors would be in the Finals on the same day, it would be surprising, but not gobsmacking. Disqualified.

1996

Especially, especially after the Matt Williams trade, this is a contender. The Giants had Barry Bonds, though. That's one of the greatest head starts to the White House in baseball history. He was like walking frequent flyer miles, a voucher to Washington D.C. for the entire team, all they had to do was make the arrangements themselves.

I'll bet a lot of Warriors fans back then were like, man, can it get any worse?

Bonds plus the relative infancy of the Warriors decrepitude disqualifies this year, too. We have some tough years ahead for this exercise, as Bonds helps the Giants contend every danged year for a long time.

2008

Bingo. Bonds was sent into forcible retirement, and even though they have a couple of impressive young pitchers, they are completely incapable of developing hitters. Barry Zito is an albatross, and Aaron Rowand is a flop. The keystone combination is a combined 77 years old, and there are no in-house replacements. This was a dark time to be a Giants fan. In September, when rosters expanded and the Giants got a chance to experiment with young players, they would put out lineups that looked like this:

  1. Fred Lewis - LF
  2. Nate Schierholtz - RF
  3. Pablo Sandoval - C
  4. Scott McClain - 3B
  5. Aaron Rowand - CF
  6. Travis Ishikawa - 1B
  7. Emmanuel Burriss - SS
  8. Eugenio Velez - 2B

Maybe we thought those were future starters back then, and still held out hope that Sandoval was a future catching star, but that was an incredibly bleak September. Can you imagine the level of cognitive dissonance required to think that a team starting Travis Ishikawa could win anything?

On the other side, the Warriors had enjoyed their "We Believe" season, missed the playoffs with 48 wins, and were miserable again. That was it. That was the peak Warriors era of the last couple decades, and it was over. Pooooof. Kelenna Azubuike leads the team in minutes, and according to win shares, Andris Biedrins is the best player. It was possible to see a path to the eighth seed if you were incredibly optimistic, but the Finals? It was more reasonable to imagine them in the Super Bowl.

Bonus: The 49ers were in the middle of a quarterback controversy between Shaun Hill and J.T. O'Sullivan.

So the date is January 10, 2009. The Warriors fall to 10-28 and are warriorsing all over the damned place. The Giants are coming off another 90-loss season and are projected for last place again. The Dodgers were just in the NLCS. The big offseason acquisitions were Edgar Renteria and a 45-year-old Randy Johnson, but the roster was mostly unchanged. It is on this date that you step out of the time machine, find someone who cares about such things, and whisper this sentence:

On June 4, 2015, the Giants will visit the White House for the third time in five years, and the Warriors will play in the NBA Finals.

Then watch them laugh. Then watch their expression change as they look into your eyes and see that you're not kidding. Invite them to travel through time with you. Watch their brain break before they get the chance. "Bark! Bark! I'm a chicken!", they'll cry as they jump out of a window. Now you have blood on your hands. Why did you travel back in time to that date just to mess with people? You're weird.

But that's the date. The Warriors were down, so down, eternally down. The Giants were never going to hit enough to contend, and even if they did, you knew there was just going to be a Jose Cruz, Jr. waiting on the other side.

Here we are, though. Giants visiting the White House. Warriors starting the Finals. The Niners and Sharks are, well, you know, hey, look, the Giants are visiting the White House and the Warriors are starting the Finals! This would have blown our minds just six years ago.