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Further, Slightly more Coherent, Thoughts on Posey

May 26, 2011

The San Francisco City Hall turned orange last October. Over a million people flooded the streets to see people they had never met ride around in cable cars. If there was ever a time to say that baseball is more than a game, that was it. It was a legend, a unifier, a celebration. When your friend or parent or whoever in your life gave you the inevitable It’s Just a Game Speech, you could point at the crowd in front of the steps, at the people who had flown miles, at Willie Mays visiting school children in New York City and say “No, no it’s not just a game. Look at this! It’s more than a game.”

Except now those Autumn moments have been outdone, in the worst possible way. Last night, when I glanced at the score in the bottom of the 12th inning, I was surprised to see it say “FLA – 7, SF – 6”. I had forgotten, completely forgotten, that Scott Cousins had scored the go ahead run. When Nate Schierholtz came up to bat with two outs, I was, for the first time in my life, rooting for a Giants player to fail. I just wanted it to be over. There was no one on base. Even a home run would only have tied it. More extra innings weren’t worth it. This morning, across Twitter, McCovey Chronicles, and any number of other Giants fan havens, I saw countless varieties of  “I’m not upset because we may or may not make the play-offs, I’m upset because Buster is hurt.”

This afternoon the Giants were behind by one run in the final game of the series, and no one really cared. Oh sure, there was some swearing and snapping at Bruce Bochy, but it wasn’t just the offense that seemed to have lost heart, it was the fans too.

If a game is about winning, then last night Giants baseball ceased to be a game. The World Series celebrations, as great as they were, were only celebrating a win. The biggest of wins. Last night, losing was so far down on the list of priorities that it disappeared entirely.

And so now, when someone says “but it’s just a game,” it’s not the 2010 World Series that comes to mind in rebuttal, or the heartbreak of 2002. It’s the fans who couldn’t make themselves care about the offense grounding into 2402530 more double plays and scoring -29587 runs turning their usual ranting into 2,682 comments on a virtual get well card. It’s the pin drop silence at AT&T Park after Buster Posey was hit. It’s the people who stayed up until absurd hours of the morning waiting for news that wouldn’t come until this afternoon. It’s the people that couldn’t sleep. It’s the image I can’t shake of watching Buster on the ground, broken and in pain, and the shared sick feeling in the pits of our stomachs that we can all relate to. It’s the relief from first hearing the word “ankle” and knowing that at least it wasn’t his head.

It’s Buster Posey. The young, exciting, brilliant, World Champion player that every single Giants fan fell head over heals, madly in love with.

It’s like I always try to tell people, I don’t really have fans in San Francisco, I have family. That’s my family.
~Barry Bonds 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. bill permalink
    May 27, 2011 12:54 pm

    Well said. No, it’s not just a game. Darts is “just a game.” Pickup hoops is “just a game.” Following your Boys of Summer has never–at least, probably, for the past 80 years–been “just a game.” We rise and fall with these guys, even with their outlandish salaries, which has become part of the deal. Why? Dissertation, please. Do I feel Huff’s pain every time he strikes out? Yes. Same with Tejada, same with Rowand. Maybe those guys feel their own pain less than I do, fercrissakes (six million in the bank can insulate a guy from a shitload of bad news, I am sure). Sometimes I have to turn away from the TV just so I don’t have to see what comes next. I ache for this season.

    However, if I may add: To me, the “torture”, such as it was, is over. They won it, they did it, and that will never be undone. They’re back to being a regular ball club again, with all that comes with that. Go Freaking Giants!

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