I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But at this point in this season, we’re looking for any explanation as to why this team is as bad as it has been.
I made a comment on our fearless leader’s show, “Giants Outsiders,” (on NBC Sports Bay Area, on after every 7:05 and 7:15 start, sponsored by Peet’s Cold Brew, check your local listings) that the one thing I can think of as a reason is that the San Diego Padres stole their mojo.
In 2016, the San Francisco Giants were the best team in baseball going into the All Star Break. Sure, we knew it was unsustainable and wildly above their projected win expectancy, but we allowed it because winning is fun.
Madison Bumgarner was going to be an All Star and Johnny Cueto and Buster Posey were going to be the National League’s starting battery, before the fan vote ever came about.
And then Giants fans went nuts, because Brandon Belt was in the fan vote for his first chance at an All Star appearance. My goodness, there is nothing else that will mobilize a large portion of Giants fans into action quite like the potential to get Brandon Belt into that game.
We texted thousands of times. We posted obnoxious and plentiful tweets. We made deals with the devil. And by we, I mean me.
And it worked! Brandon Belt was an All Star! And when I entered the ballpark on July 9th 2016, life was beautiful.
The Giants were facing the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had been having some ownage on them prior to that series. Jeff Samardzija even gave up a homerun on the first pitch that night. But it didn’t matter because they won! And they swept the series! And everyone left for the All Star break high on baseball and ready to storm through the second half.
And then the All Star Game happened in San Diego. Not only did the National League lose, thanks in part to starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, the Padres were secretly working on a plan to steal the Giants’ mojo.
(This is unconfirmed, but forget it, I’m rolling)
Who’s to say why the Padres did it, maybe it was being no-hit by Tim Lincecum twice, despite their franchise never having a no-hitter. I mean, that’s probably it but who am I to say? The curse is real, regardless.
Look no further than the very next series after the All Star break, where the Padres swept the Giants. The Giants were swept on the next short series by the Boston Red Sox. They lost the next series to the New York Yankees. They lost almost every series after that until they swept the Diamondbacks again and some people thought the terms of the curse had been met.
But no! In came the Padres to sweep them once again and re-set the balance of the curse. The Giants would lose yet another series to them later in the season, as they went from having the best record in baseball in the first half, to the worst in the second half.
That’s not normal. As we all remember, there were some seriously head-scratching losses mixed in there. The triple play, the walk-off balk. It was historically bad baseball, but the Giants managed to get into the playoffs anyway based on the strength of their first half. Many people thought Even Year
Bull... Magic would take it from there.
Turns out, no. No it really wouldn’t. Even Year Magic was no match for the 2016 Giants bullpen.
But the bright side was that the terrible luck was over and we had a new season to look forward to and the Giants signed a closer. A real life, honest-to-goodness closer.
Man, 2017 was going to be so great.
Cut to 2017 and it’s like the Giants’ second half never ended.
That horrific 9th inning in the NLDS? It’s still going. It’s Groundhog Day and we’re just going to keep living it and living it until....no one really knows.
The carousel never stops turning. Though we may want to move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom - the results have been less than satisfactory.
But...oh, what’s this? We’re at the All-Star break? And the Giants have been one of the worst teams in baseball?
Well, let’s look ahead a little bit. Next Friday, they take on the Padres again, in San Diego on a short little road trip before they come home. That seems a little odd, like the Padres are just checking in on these second-half Giants to make sure their curse is still intact.
However, if you’re a fan of symmetry and baseless speculation, you could always assume that the curse is lifted. That quite possibly these Giants, who should be better than they are, will take back their baseball skills from the Monstars and come back with a vengeance in the second half.
Madison Bumgarner is coming back, you know.
Or, they could just continue to suck. Look, the thing about conspiracy theories and wild, baseless speculation is that it leaves you open to look like an idiot and I’m just trying to cover my bases here.
Either way, it’s difficult for the Giants to be worse than they were in either the first half of this season or the second half of last season, so things can only look up from here, right?
Happy All Star Break!