I guess the Giants aren’t officially officially eliminated from playoff contention, but they’re at least unofficially officially eliminated. The Giants tragic number in the NL West is 1, and it’s 3 in the wild card. (Either one Diamondbacks win or one Giants loss eliminates the Giants in the division race, and a combination of 3 Giants losses and Braves wins eliminates the Giants in the wild card.) So it’s pretty much over.
The Giants are my team, but I’m also a baseball fan. The fact that I hate the Dodgers doesn’t prevent me from being in awe of Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, and I love watching Granderson, Cano, and Rivera play even though the Yankees are made up of pure, elemental evil. I’ll watch a couple of innings of a 13-0 blowout to be able to see Matt Moore carve up those very same guys. (OK, maybe not Rivera, but I’d definitely watch that, too.) It’s the best game ever, baseball.
That still doesn’t make it fun to watch the Giants play out the string. It’s made simultaneously easier and harder to watch given the events of last fall — the Giants won the World Series less than a year ago! It’s easier because, hey! The Giants are the World Champs. And it’s tough to watch them go from champions to also-rans in near-record time. My brain knows why they’re a second-rate team right now — heapin’ helpings of injuries with a pinch of mismanagement and roster-construction errors — but my heart isn’t listening.
I didn’t mean this to become any kind of paean to a baseball season or anything. Riley and I were chatting earlier and we both agreed that it’s tough to get fired up to watch a team that has nothing to play for. (The Angels tragic number is 2, so they’re all but unofficially officially eliminated as well.) I just wanted to vent, and I wondered if other folks were feeling the same way.
Of course, having said all that, I’ll be attending the Giants final home game of the year and living and dying with every pitch. We’ll endure Buck and McCarver and watch as much of the playoffs as possible, and, the minute the World Series is over, we’ll fire up the hot stove and figure out how our teams can be the ones duking it out in October, 2012. We’re baseball fans. It’s what we do.