There will be days that annoy you. There will be games that make you incredibly angry. Decisions that you don’t understand. Calls that don’t go the Giants’ way. Broken-bat hits that lose the game, and 110-mph line drives that don’t win the game. Baseball can do things like knock a franchise down for 55 years, just to lift them up in the best way possible, but you have to use the bad days to build the fun wall, brick by brick.
This was not one of those days. This was much worse. This is a pin in the map of your baseball fandom, one that you can look back on in 10 years and remember. Ah, right. That day. That loss.
Madison Bumgarner hurt himself on a dirt bike, and the Giants are screwed. The Giants lost another one-run game, and the Giants are screwed. The Giants are off to a horrible start, and the Giants are screwed.
The Giants aren’t doing well, and, well, the Giants aren’t doing well. I’d like to talk to you about it if ... if you have a moment?
The news broke about Bumgarner’s screwery, and everything was a blur. When it settled down, one of my first thoughts was, “At least Johnny Cueto is starting tonight.” The reasons why are obvious. That’s the co-ace. That’s the reason Giants fans shouldn’t be wearing floaties in a toilet, looking at the sky and wondering why, why, why. Cueto is fantastic, and he’ll pick us all up, the thought went.
Then he gave up a grand slam and an inside-the-park home run in the same inning.
Again, this is just another game, another loss, another it’s-still-early on any other day. Except this one came when the Giants lost Bumgarner, and a little goodwill from the baseball gods could have been a tiny, appreciated salve for that burn.
Instead, they were in Coors Field. They held the Rockies scoreless in seven innings there! Seems like that should be a good recipe for a win, alright. Until the haze of the full moon covered the field and Dinger started feasting on the flesh of the living.
- line drive single
- line drive single
- line drive single
- grand slam
- bloop single
- inside-the-park home run that’s caught 99 percent of the time, but there were lights, and I think Dinger had a laser pointer and
That’s how quickly a resounding display of offense can turn ugly. I mean, five runs in Coors Field is like two at AT&T Park, so the Giants were on an upward trajectory, and then it all went to heck in a fanny pack, boy, I’ll tell you ...
Cueto didn’t pitch that poorly, of course. He just lost the trail of breadcrumbs at the wrong time, and when he picked them back up, he had allowed six runs. It’s not that he didn’t make a statement, establishing himself as the heir apparent and telling the team to climb on his back, like a smiling, ball-pit griffon. It’s that baseball happened when I wanted him to make that statement.
The Giants scored five runs, and they still lost. They’re 1-6 on the season in one-run games. Those five runs would have made them winners in seven of their 11 losses, but they came in this one. They’ve been outscored by four runs on the season, but it feels like 47 because the runs just aren’t coming at the right time.
If a team is going to be abysmal, in other words, at least have the courtesy to lose by six runs in every game.
The Giants are much worse than they were yesterday, and then they lost again. Probably should have posted that as the recap and let you go about your night, really.
Meanwhile, in Huge, Important Omens, I would like to bring something to your attention.
Defensive switch from third base to second base for Pablo Sandoval. #RedSox— Red Sox Plays (@RedSoxPlays) April 22, 2017
Amusing? Yes! For that baseball player is not playing his regular baseball position, ha ha, and we should take this opportunity to celebrate this moment.
Except, hold on, there’s more to it. Yes, there’s ... I’m remembering something. April 21, dang, that rings a bell.
Five years ago. Five years ago, Aubrey Huff played second base. Today, Pablo Sandoval played second base. What does that mean? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Nothing. Nothing at all. Why, Sandoval isn’t even on the team anymore and Huff has been out of the game for a while.
Except when you let your imagination run wild, it’s pretty clear that we were given a glimpse of something. A trailer for the end of the world ... or for a rapture that takes only the people who can appreciate the beauty of this symmetry. If Huff playing second happened in 2010, I would have been tempted to assume this was the official closing of the Giants’ window for the next 50 years. Except Huff was a danged hero in 2010. There’s no easy symmetry there.
It’s just pareidolia. It could have been a late-inning home run from John Brianson against the Dodgers this year, 20 years after the other one. It could have been Pedro Felits catching for another team. There are an infinite number of coincidences that could have come up, most of which we couldn’t possibly conceive.
This one just happened to be exactly five years apart and happen on one of the worst days in recent Giants memory. What does it mean?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Probably everything, if you ask me. Probably everything.
Just to add to the fun, and twisted his left knee when he lost the ball he said was in the lights the whole time. #sfgiants— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) April 22, 2017
While it would be more informational and useful if I added the context to that tweet, I love it just the way it is. That out-of-context snippet captures the feeling of today more than the details.
Because I, too, twisted something and lost the ball and it was in the lights the whole time. Except when I did it, it was a metaphor, and you can relate.
I was very tempted to put this video up as the entire recap, but I had actual things to get off my chest, so I tweeted it instead. It still applies, friends. It still applies.