Last night’s game between Kansas City and Oakland reminded us that when a game is a great one for a neutral, it is supremely better for the fans of the winners, and an impossible downer for the fans of the losers. Following the game on Twitter, I saw both sets of fans go through the good and the bad, with the Royals’ fans ending up feeling a lot better than their Athletics’ counterparts. I was a bit torn … I know fans of both teams, but one of them is my sister, so I probably rooted for Oakland just a bit more. Still, when it was over, I could say “great game” … I doubt she will ever say that.
The Giants have won two of the last three World Series, so while they are not favorites this time around, a certain level of optimism among their fans is understandable. Me, I will never reach that point. Two out of three sounds good, but it’s more relevant to note that in the years I have rooted for the Giants, they have failed to win the championship 52 out of 54 times. That leads to a lot of pessimism.
And so, as the Giants-Pirates game began tonight, I saw mostly trouble ahead. I had faith in the Giants starting pitcher, Madison Bumgarner. I had faith in their best field player, Buster Posey. I had faith in relief pitcher Sergio Romo, and in truth, most of the bullpen. I honestly didn’t expect anyone in the Giants starting lineup to do anything productive, other than Posey.
Which takes us to Brandon Crawford, batting in the top of the fourth of a scoreless battle, bases loaded, no outs, a count of 1-2. I was thinking Crawford would strike out. I was actually hoping he would strike out, because I assumed if he hit the ball, it would be a double play. That’s 50+ years of Giants’ fandom thinking.
Of course, Crawford hit the first post-season grand slam by a shortstop in baseball history.
All I could do was laugh.
No one will say that tonight’s game was one for the ages. But I can tell you, it’s a lot easier watching your team win 8-0, then it is to watch your team win or lose in a 12-inning nail biter.
One other thing. This goofy "one game for all the marbles" wild card thingie … maybe I can say this because the Giants won a blowout. But from the beginning, I felt little of the normal anxiety I get when the Giants are in the post-season. If the Giants lost, well, they hardly got into the playoffs … I could shake that off. I won’t feel that way against the Nationals.