Part of you is near reverential, the other part of you is exhausted and secretly wishes it would all just end. The San Francisco Giants, the team that tonight came within 2.5 wins of the over/under Las Vegas set for them before the season, is again only 3.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies.
3.5. It doesn’t seem like such a big number, yet it looks huge whenever the Giants’ offense struggles. Not that that ever happens. Many people, myself included, has had a family member valiantly fight a terminal illness.
I’m not saying I feel quite that strongly about the Giants. They’re a professional baseball team built to profit on my (and your) addiction to sports and rich, salty food. The Giants aren’t a person, let alone a relative. But it’s impossible to give up on them, or wish the stress, pain and anguish would just end just to make our lives easier.
Tim Lincecum is healthy again, and in the process of striking out 11 and winning his 14th set a record tonight for the most times caught yelling “F—ing s—!!!” while walking off the mound in one season. Randy Johnson may even return — a development nearly as surprising as if someone told me Noah Lowry was starting tomorrow. Freddy Sanchez is healthy. Juan Uribe is doing his damndest to make everyone forget that once upon a time he was sitting on the bench watching Emmanuel Burriss. Pablo Sanchez can make it to second base on a double without using a Segway. Bengie Molina is in full contract-drive mode, although his defense behind the plate has turned into the baseball equivalent of a point guard for the Golden State Warriors.
After the first two awful losses in the weekend Dodgers series, I have to admit I was ready to turn the old page from baseball to the NFL, and the beginning of fantasy football and the 49ers’ ugly-yet-riveting victory over the Cardinals didn’t do anything to sway that, even with the Giants breezing to a 7-2 win over L.A. yesterday afternoon behind the shockingly effective Brad Penny.
Is this baseball season still something to concern ourselves with on a daily basis, or are we just delusional to think this isn’t going to end with a New York Yankees’ World Championship? Are the Giants on their way to one of their most inspirational late-season comebacks since 1951, or are they simply barely clinging to life, twitching and fluttering weakly about while the baseball Gods smack them around like a sadistic feline?
It’s impossible to tell. Getting our hopes up one day just to have them squashed the next is the established pattern, once again showing in baseball’s heavy-handed why it’s constantly described as a metaphor for life. And in life, you don’t give up on those you love, even if you don’t love them quite as much as your actual loved ones.