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World Series Grace Period – Already Over?

March 26, 2011

In the middle of the 9th, in game 5 of the World Series, I made some inane comment to a friend (via IM) about Brian Wilson coming in for Tim Lincecum. Something like: “I guess they aren’t going to let Timmy finish. I’m not sure whether or not to be happy about that.”

In return, I got an exasperated “Your team is winning the World Series, girl. Be happy!” I’m sure she was rolling her eyes at me too.

My first thought was “Shut up! Damn it, don’t jinx it!” My second was a sheepish “Yeah…good point,” and I made myself stop trying to figure out whether I wanted Lincecum to get the chance to finish or Wilson to do what he had been doing all year. We were winning, there were three outs to go, and all I had to do was hope that whoever was pitching didn’t implode.

We all know how that story ended — something about “And they come pouring out of the dugout…the bullpen, flying in from left center field…dancing…hugging…”

The off-season came — “winning” was replaced with “won” — and the majority of my complaints were, for once, directed at the obnoxiously long length of said off-season rather than the moves made by Brian Sabean and company. Aubrey Huff for $22mil? Your team won the World Series, girl. Be happy! No more Jazz Hands? Sad, but understandable. Miguel Tejada for $6.5mil? Eh, 1 year can’t hurt. Release Chris Ray and keep Ramon Ramirez? Dang it Sabean, I liked Ray bet–Your team won the World Series, girl. Be happy! Throw a million at Mike Fontenot? Why not? We won the World Series.

Nothing much changed the first few weeks of Spring Training. The Giants were winning, Buster Posey was batting .4something with 0 strikeouts, Brandon Belt had a 1.something OPS and even Mark DeRosa and his flappy tendon were looking to be of some use during the season. There was some legitimate panic on our end over Matt Cain‘s elbow, but that was worry rather than rage.

All in all, it was rather strange. THE GIANTS WON THE WORLD SERIES! Fantastic! But…now what? How do we react to whatever happens next?  Brian Sabean’s and Bruce Bochy‘s options were picked up and no one made a peep! Huh?

Then the last five games happened: atrocious defense, non-existent offense, and pitcher after pitcher getting shelled. I’m not trying to forecast death, doom, and destruction, because in the end its still only Spring Training and apart from injuries (I’m looking at you, Cody Ross!), nothing matters much. That’s not my point. Its just that…sometime in between Timmy getting lit up and Andres Torres getting charged with an error because no one bothered to cut off his throw, “its only Spring Training and the Giants are World Champions” ceased to have its previous affect. The latter part still brought smiles of course, but neither phrase was enough to stop the exchange of exasperated four-letter words between Britt and I.

Don’t get me wrong, I, like most everyone else, am still reveling in the World Series win. The pictures make me happy, that logo painted on the Scottsdale field puts this ridiculous grin on my face, and the highlights and parade footage and Kruk and Kuip calls still make whatever room I’m in go all dusty.

“Now what?” though, seems to have become a less important question.  Now we swear over sloppy defense, go on absurdly outraged caps-locked rants over Rowand starting, and mutter about the offense. We react the same way we always have. Sure, at the end of the day an ugly loss might be made less ugly with a replay of Dave Flemming’s home run call or memories of Posey leaping into Wilson’s arms, but in the moment at least, the same fury and exasperation will still be there.

So, that World Series grace period we all promised Sabean and Bruce Bochy? Maybe its already over. Baseball is still baseball. Winning is still fun. Losing still sucks. And I make no promises about keeping my mouth shut if Sabean trades Nate Schierholtz and keeps Aaron Rowand.

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