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Dodgers win the NL West, Giants officially eliminated

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Take a load off. Meaningless games are finally here.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

There were words on this site this morning about this very situation. The headline was "I don't care if the Dodgers celebrate the division at AT&T Park," and it was written by groug. Now I like groug quite a bit. He's funny and works for ramen noodles, and he can write like the dickens. But I disagreed with that take. I care if the Dodgers celebrate the division at AT&T Park. I care a lot.

The Dodgers were the better team before the season. They were the better team two weeks into the season, when they were already six games up on the Giants. They were the better team at the deadline, when they acquired Mat Latos on purpose, and he forged a 6.66 ERA with them (no, seriously), just as the goat lord demanded. The Dodgers were the better team before the Giants pulled every oblique and every brain on the roster, and they were certainly the better team when everything broke.

And yet it took until five days before the season ended to finally give up. Before the season, I would have pegged the Dodgers as being about four or five games better, so it shouldn't have been a surprise to end up here. The Giants just took a Ruben Rivera route.

It's over, this dumb season, and we'll remember it for a lot of reasons. We'll remember the emergence of Matt Duffy. We'll remember the promise of Joe Panik, followed by the curse of the odd-year second baseman. Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner being as good as ever. Chris Heston's no-hitter. We'll remember that the season was generally dumb, and yet strangely compelling.

Let me tell you about my favorite Giants sweatshirt. Back in 2010, the Giants won the pennant when Brian Wilson curled a perfect cutter around the outside corner of the plate, and I screamed and leapt for joy, and about .03 seconds later there were ads on TV for NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS HATS AND SWEATSHIRTS BUY THEM and I said, oh, man, yes, I will buy those, and by the time they got to my house, the Giants were up 3-1 in the World Series. The sweatshirt was relevant for exactly one day, and then it became the associate's degree of sweatshirts. It was ridiculous after the first World Series, and it kept getting progressively more ridiculous as the years went on. It stayed in the closet.

At some point this year, I took it out and started wearing it to every game I went to. It finally made sense -- it was a sweatshirt I bought with money I didn't have because I was pretty sure that was as exciting as sweatshirts were ever going to get for me. That was as far as the Giants were ever going to go, as happy as baseball was ever going to make me feel, and I needed to give money away just to wrap that feeling around me. It's a sweatshirt of innocence and naïveté , dammit, and I'm proud of it.

I swear I was going somewhere with this, and it wasn't just "THREE IN FIVE." Give me a second.

It's a sweatshirt that I'll wear all winter as I curse the stupid Dodgers and sift through the stupid rumors and think happy thoughts about a Giants team that should fill all of us with a touch of optimism. It's a reminder that baseball is drunk in a canoe facing the wrong way, paddling as hard as it can to get to the side of the runway. It's a reminder that baseball greed is good, and that unreasonable expectations can turn out to be rather reasonable. And it'll remind me that somewhere out there, there are Dodgers fans with three of those sweatshirts, except they read "NL WEST CHAMPIONS," and that irritates the absolute hell out of me, even if it shouldn't.

Congratulations to the Dodgers and the Dodgers fans I like. They're out there. You probably know one or two who aren't so bad. This is for them. Let them have tonight. In the morning, you can go to the store, pull 100 magazine subscription cards from the newsstand, and subscribe them to 100 different magazines. But let them have tonight.

Oh, odd year. Our mouth was open. You got us. Our mouth was open. Good one.

* * *

And then Kevin Frandsen said, "I must go."

We extended a hand out and said, "But you just returned. You have so much to teach us."

He looked up and said, "My work here is done. That hit was why I was here. Don't you see?"

We nodded and acknowledged that, yes, we did see.

He opened the door and vanished into pure light. We collapsed, sobbing and grateful.

* * *

If you're going to get humiliated at home, get humiliated by Clayton Kershaw. That's my motto. Don't go down to Mike Bolsinger or Alex Wood or something.

Ha ha ha, okay. That's a curveball, alright. That sure is a curveball. It's like Mike Krukow always says: If you give up a homer, at least give up one that goes 500 feet. And if you're going to lose to a pitcher, lose to a great pitcher at the top of his game.

Exactly. Don't lose to someone who scuffs baseballs then disappears forever. Lose to an all-time great. It'll make the next time they beat him that much more memorable.

But he didn't finish with 300 strikeouts. You hear that, Clayton? Came up short, pal. I'LL BET YOU'LL THINK ABOUT IT ALL NIGHT. ALL OFFSEASON. WONDERING WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN. YOU MISSED 300, CLAYTON, YOU MISSED OUT ON HISTORY AND Y

* * *

Stupid Dodgers.