Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Out of the maybe two dozen people who read this blog, I think almost none of you give a crap about baseball. That's fair. I mean, I don't care about your priapism or your latest macramé-your-own-brassiere project. We're just different that way.

So, bear with me while I discuss the San Francisco Giants for a moment.

At the moment the Giants have won 63 games and lost 73. That means that they're about 10 wins shy of true mediocrity. Additionally, baseball statheads will tell you that the Giants aren't quite as good as their record indicates. This has been a crappy team.

I knew it would be a crappy team. I mean, we all did, except you with the priapism and you with the macramé brassiere. Months before the season began, I lamented that the Giants management had stocked the roster with aging and fragile players, optimizing for an intangible quality known as "veteran savvy". There's a reason why there's no line in the box score for savvy.

As predicted, the Giants crumbled under the weight of their combined ages. Barry Bonds hasn't played an inning all season and the rest of the Giants have spent more than their fair share of time on the disabled list. Even my six year-old daughter can summarize the Giants' season. When asked her opinion of the Giants, she'll delicately wave her hand across her nose while making a what-is-that-foul-odor face. "Steeeeeeeenky!" she'll accurately proclaim.

So, why is my heart beginning to race?

Why am I checking the standings, face half-turned away in fear, each day?

Because, with 25 games to go in the season, the Giants are in 2nd place in their Division, a mere 5 games behind the San Diego Padres. 7 of those 25 games are against the Padres.

Never before in the history of Major League Baseball has a team gone to the playoffs having won less than 50% of their games. This isn't basketball or hockey where you get to go to the playoffs if you faithfully show up and sit in your seat each day. No, this is baseball, dammit! If you want to make the playoffs, you've got to do damn well over your marathon-like 162 game season.

Until, perhaps, this season.

The Padres have won exactly 50% of their games, but they're losing their game tonight. They've been stuck at this level for months it seems. Aside from their non-trivial 5 game lead, they don't have much reason to be proud of their season, nor do they have reason to think that they'll improve.

MEANWHILE, exciting things are afoot in San Francisco. The Giants general manager, Brian Sabean, finally ditched a whole set of crappy, yet savvy, veterans, replacing them with youngsters from the minor leagues. These new players are learning and getting better every day. Additionally, the team is finally getting healthy. Our top reliever, Armando Benitez, spent four months on the disabled list and came back two weeks ago. He's been dynamite ever since. Other players have also found their groove.

AND, the most feared hitter to put on a baseball uniform in decades, Barry Lamar Bonds, is almost ready to play again. It's likely that he'll be standing in the batters box later this week.

So, despite playing crappy baseball for the last 5 months, the Giants just might sneak past the Padres and perhaps be the first team in modern baseball history to go to the playoffs with a sub .500 record. Sweet. More likely, they'll get close and then break my heart in some spectacular way. Either way. I'm just excited to be excited again.

Somebody, macramé me a rally cap!


Colby said...

Mike, I'm a little insulted; I mean, I am a Braves fan and everything, but there are some of us who actually do follow the team (now what's the name of that guy in right again?). I will say, however, that I was a bit surprised to see the resurgence of the Giants, but if it's going to happen in any division, it's the NL West. Man, those teams suck.

Oh, and Andruw Jones = MVP. Count on it.

Mike said...

Colby, I didn't say "none", I said, "almost none". Ok, you're 1.

And, Andruw has been amazing this year. I have him on my fantasy baseball team. I don't have any Giants.

Tasty said...

Did you mean "priapism"?

Siôn said...

I am a sports fan. I love sports. But I hardly understood a word of that! "top reliever"?
"sub .500 record"?
And do they really play 162 games a season? Yikes!

Mike said...

Tasty, yes! Geez, I suck. For what it's worth, over 100,000 other people have made the same spelling mistake on the web. Fixing now. Thanks!

Siôn, apologies for the indecipherable entry. For what it's worth, I'll define those two terms:

.500 refers to the fraction of games that a team has won. So, a sub .500 record means that the team has won less than 50% of their games.

A reliever is a type of pitcher. In baseball, you start each game with your starting pitcher and when they tire (and they usually get weary after about 2/3rds of a game), then someone relieves them. A team typically carries half a dozen relievers.

And, yes, 162 games! The regular season is 6 months long, and then the playoffs add to that total, taking another month.

See? Baseball is easy and fun!