Someone has to win the NL West, and it’s not going to be the Giants this year. Apologies to Bruce Bochy and the team, who are still going to act like they’re in the race until math leaves a flaming bag of poo on their doorstep, but it’s not going to happen. They just spent three games embarrassing themselves at Coors Field, and they’ve got three teams far ahead of them, and just one behind.
Side note: somehow, even though the Giants are the worst team that ever existed, an embarrassment to the very concept of sports, and a black mark on your character from which you personally can never recover, the Padres have a much, much worse record. Probably a fluke.
So what’s left for Giants fans in 2018 is to figure out which team we want to win the West. Now, I know the standard thing to say here is that you’re rooting for the meteor, but let’s just take massive death tolls off the table and deal with things that are going to happen. One of the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Rockies are going to win the division. So who would be the least bad option?
Before you say anything, yes, I know the very existence of this piece will ensure that the Dodgers win the division by like 6 games. That’s a given. So let’s start with reasons to root for them.
Why you should root for the Dodgers
if you're a giants fan and you root for the dodgers for any reason you should be thrown in prison! IT'S RIGHT THERE IN THE CONSTITUTION— Sean Gothman (@SeanGothman) October 6, 2017
That about covers it. Thanks, Sean!
So that leaves us with the Rockies and the Diamondbacks. Again, this is a meteor-free exercise. And besides, a meteor that knocked out these two teams would just hand the division to the Dodgers, so we still have to pick one of them. Let’s go over the five most important categories that determine who we should root for.
The Diamondbacks and Rockies are both expansion teams that came into the league in the ‘90s, the Rockies in 1993 and the Diamondbacks in 1998, so they don’t have a lot of baseball history. What they do have is Giants history.
The Rockies spent a decade of their existence screwing over the Giants in every way possible, starting in 1993, when they went 0-13 against the Braves team that won the NL West by a game, moving on to 1998, when they beat the Giants in the final game of the season to force the one-game playoff the Giants would lose in Chicago, and finally ending in 2004, when they got swept by the Astros over the final weekend of the season when the Giants needed them to win one game in order to force a one-game playoff for the wild card.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have pretty much only been good when it was annoying to the Giants. They won the division in 1999, 2001, and 2002, and had decent seasons in 2000 and 2003, all of which put them in direct competition with Giants teams that could have gone somewhere. They were the ones who won the West in 2011, when a hobbled Giants team still finished second with 86 wins.
Plus, those Randy Johnson/Curt Schilling teams were annoying. Do you remember Tony Womack? He was an objectively bad hitter, who always found a way to be downright decent against the Giants. And that’s always how it seems with the Diamondbacks: their success victimizes the Giants more than anyone else (other than the fluky 2007 team). They also went through that annoying grit phase, but at least that era ended up costing them Touki Toussaint, Ender Inciarte, and Dansby Swanson, so I think we can let bygones be bygones there.
But the Rockies are worse, because both their successes and failures victimize the Giants. They play the Giants hard and then roll over for their rivals; their farm system develops Neifi Perez, who is awful but wins that last game in 1998 with a homer, and then he plays terrible baseball for the Giants for a year and a half; this has nothing to do with failure but Ryan Spilborghs hit that goddamn grand slam. The Rockies have a more annoying history. The Rockies, the Rockies, the Rockies.
Coors Field is an unholy hellscape that haunts your every nightmare. Coors Field is the place where hope is for the mentally frail, where every inning you watch is a test of your resolve, where success is just failure delayed, where rain delays merely serve to push away the inevitable, where Giants games are penance, where you gaze into the heart of evil and flinch, for its power is beyond you, more than you, would destroy you in an instant if it thought about you at all.
Chase Field has a pool.
WHY IS THAT DARK SPOT ON HIS BACK HOW MUCH DID HE SWEAT
WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE HE’S BLEEDING FROM HIS SHOULDERS AND HIS SIDES
THIS IS THEIR BEST UNIFORM AND IT’S STILL AWFUL
i’m calm i’m calm
it’s okay everything’s okay arizona can’t hurt you anymore
Both teams have a Certified Giants Killer on the roster, Paul Goldschmidt for the Diamondbacks and Nolan Arenado for the Rockies, so no points there for either side. The only former Giant on either team is Chris Stewart, traded to the Diamondbacks on August 30, so if you like Stew (baseball nickname!), then that’s a point in favor of the Diamondbacks.
In the end, what it really comes down to is how likable each of their cores is. Do you prefer Goldschmidt-Greinke-Corbin-Peralta or Story-Freeland-Arenado-Marquez? That’s not to diminish AJ Pollock or Charlie Blackmon or whoever else, but if we’re just narrowing it down to each team’s top 4 by bWAR, who gives you fewer heebie-jeebies?
I think it’s the Diamondbacks. Goldschmidt is a swell fella who actually doesn’t particularly victimize the Giants (career tOPS+ against the Giants is just 95), Greinke’s always been on the fun side of the This Guy Is Weird spectrum, and Corbin and Peralta are just generally good baseball players. Meanwhile, Arenado has actually been uniquely hard on the Giants in his career (tOPS+ of 114), and Story and Marquez just killed the Giants in the last series they played.
Is calling this one for the Diamondbacks recency bias? Maybe. Is it anti-Coors bias? Yes, and there’s nothing wrong with that, because Coors Field was built by the devil as an advance fort in his war against God. All the signs are in the Denver Airport if you know where to look.
The winner, by a score of 3-2, is the Arizona Diamondbacks.
So congratulations to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who I am (throws up in mouth a little) rooting for to win the NL West this year.