Giants and other tortures

By October 8, 2010

The weekly Daley/Chris Daley

If you’re a Giants fan, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re not, or if you’re not a “homer” (Giants or Athletics fan), then you won’t care. I understand. If we were in Phoenix or New York, I wouldn’t care either, unless I remained a Bay Area “homer,” which I probably would for quite a while. All that said, how ’bout those Giants?
I wasted several hours with a whopping case of angst last Friday night and Saturday afternoon. We only had to win one out of three. Why not get it over with Friday night. The manager, Bochy, switched the pitching rotation so the big dog, Matt Cain, could finish off the Padres Friday night. No sweat, our guys have been playing pretty well, hitting OK for the past four games – which were mostly close but we won four in a row. What’s the big deal about clocking San Diego out Friday night? Give us all a break so we can get ready for the playoffs. Is that asking too much? Evidently.
My wife figured they might have jiggered the game so the networks could sell more commercials and force more people to watch the game Saturday. I took issue and we spent the second half of the evening on somewhat frosty terms. Not that I think it is totally out of the question. I just think it’s so out of the question as to be a non-issue. I don’t think it could be done – too many variables.
That’s not to say the networks wouldn’t think of it and try to come up with a scheme that would work – guaranteed. I don’t know if they really would, but somebody would. But enough about that.
Big dog Cain got into trouble early on. Our heroes got nothing for a long time. But then they started a late-inning rally. One run, two, three. All right, this can turn out OK. The Padres extended their lead by a couple more. No problem, we’re cookin’ now. Please – just get the damn thing over with so I can do something else tomorrow. No dice. Game one to San Diego. It’s only one, and they need to sweep us two more and then a one-game playoff in San Diego on Monday. What’re the chances of that?
Fat chance! Well, maybe not fat but husky chance or portly chance or pudgy chance. I don’t like it, but four in a row? Very unlikely we’d lose four in a row. Yeah, that’s the ticket – just wait till tomorrow, then Barry Zito, the old warrior, the old veteran, will put them down. And we can all breathe a little easier and go do something else on Sunday, right after the 49ers game. P.U.
Barry gets into trouble early on – walks a couple, hits a couple, gives up one single, I think, and they’re up by two about eight minutes into the game. Well, this isn’t what I had in mind, especially after last night’s game. But it’s early yet, our guys haven’t even been up to bat yet. And then they were up to bat, and then they were up to bat, and up to bat and up to bat, and meanwhile, Barry’s gone, and the Padres pick up a couple more runs. Our guys are still only batting and not hitting and certainly not scoring.
Eventually, we get two, and it looks a little better than four to nothing looked a few minutes earlier. C’mon boys – get this damn thing over with. If I had an ulcer it would be screaming and bleeding and bursting and cursing right now and I’d probably have to go to the ER – where they probably wouldn’t have a television going – not wanting to get anyone overexcited while in a delicate condition.
Fortunately, I don’t have an ulcer. At least I didn’t have one as of Friday night, as far as I know.
And then it’s over. Two in a row lost to San Diego. The bright side is that the visitors still have to win the next two – if it goes to the Monday playoff game. What are the odds of that? Losing four in a row? Ha! However, based on how our Orange and Black have been playing the last 18 innings, what are the odds? I don’t know, but I’m liking them less every minute. It’s not that I’m faint of heart or a fair-weather fan. I’m a realist. Being a Giants fan since 1958 has made me a stone realist.
I remember in 1962 when Jesus stole third base. It didn’t help. And 1989 when the earthquake put us off our feed and we got clobbered by the cross-Bay bombers. And how about that 2002 Series with the Angels. That was just plain ugly and couldn’t be blamed on random acts of God. I guess I should remember if we had a World Series between ’62 and ’89, but somehow I can’t. Those were a lot of dark years for the home-town fans. (Note: I just checked. I was right.)
Of course, we aren’t even discussing the World Series at this point – except in our secret dreams and heart of hearts.
Came Sunday. OK Gigantes, you want to spare us all any further agony? You want to clear up this little misunderstanding that is about three hours away from really getting out of hand and going over the edge, and whatever other drama you can throw our way? I’m tired. I’m emotionally on the brink. I want the damn thing over with. Sure, I know it’s a lot harder on you guys. But you’re young, you don’t have to be a stone realist quite yet. There’s always next year for you. But what about some of us? Some of us may not have another “wait till next year” left in us. I hope we do, but it’s not as easy to assume as it is when you’re 26 or even 35. So give us a break and get the damn thing over with.
Sanchez is starting for us. He “no-hit” San Diego last year. That’s got to count for something in the psycho-aspects of the game. We’ve been schlumping along the past two games and it’s time to untie the bats, loosen up the joints, act like you want it more than anything – without stressing yourselves too much. Do it for us. Do it for me, will ya? I promise I’ll be good all year if only you’ll win this thing today. Don’t make me/us wait till tomorrow. I don’t think my being ulcer-free can really last another 24 hours.
He looks good for the early innings. He looks real good. Then he looks even better when he leads off the fourth with a triple. Freddy Sanchez, with one out, knocks Jonathan Sanchez in with a single. Aubrey Huff follows that with a scorching double with two outs to bring the second Sanchez around to score. We’re up by two, but it’s still only the end of the fourth.
And the rest, as they say is “torture.”
“Giants baseball – Torture,” has been the mantra of the announcers and fans alike this year. For all the reasons you can imagine. They were up and down and down some more and up a bit, then down again, then up and up a little more, then down, down and up a tad. And then in the last week-and-a-half, they got four in a row leading up to Friday night’s torture. And then the torture really got intense. Fans were in the park holding up big “torture” signs, perhaps as a way to deflect the anxiety of what they knew might happen.
I only went to one game this season. Drat. It was the second home game on the second Saturday night in April. We lost. That guy who is now long gone pitched, Wellemeyer or whatever. It wasn’t a very good game, and I would have had a hard time predicting the events of this week back then sitting up in nosebleed country with a frigid wind blowing off the Bay.
Like other grown-up kids, I probably dreamed it at the moment, thinking maybe this is our year. It’s been a while, but heck, what are the odds? Not so good that chilly night. Not like now. Go Giants!
Chris Daley is a weekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat.

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