The World Champion San Francisco Giants -- it never gets old -- moments ago executed a ninth-inning comeback to win the last game of the year that doesn't matter at all.
Wednesday was the epitome of a gorgeous Northern California day. The ballpark looked the same as before, the orange-clad fans on the N-Judah looked the same on before, the scalpers skulking around Parking Lot A looked the same as before -- in fact, they're even the same guys as before. And, yet, everything is different.
The Giants finished spring training at 23-12. The team's key players are thriving and the squad is giving every appearance it'll hit the ground running.
For San Francisco fans of yore, this was a sure sign of impending doom.
The Giants were a team that, for eons, made a habit of coming tantalizingly close to success, only to fail when it mattered most. Fans of perennially futile teams such as the Chicago Cubs or, since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates, can debate about whether it is more of an emotional burden to support a team that always loses or a squad like San Francisco, which often nearly won.
That's a debate Giants fans can now skip entirely, praised be to the Holy One.
For those steeped in the pain and futility of Giants fandom for decades, pessimism was de rigueur,
and setbacks were cumulative. Speaking as a fan of some 26 seasons, it
is difficult to shed the former affliction. But the latter is gone
Also dropped is the aforementioned feeling of cumulative failure; the scratching of yet one more setback onto the wall like so many years of an endless prison sentence. The penitentiary motif suited Giants fandom well -- I compared fans' burden to The Shawshank Redemption in years past.
To carry on that analogy -- perhaps for the last time -- this is the Giants' Zihuatanejo year. Don't get us wrong, we still care about the games. We care a lot. Too much. But a loss is just a loss. It's not indicative of utter failure or, worse yet, years of utter failure.
Baseball is baseball. It's a beautiful day. The season is about to start. And the Giants are World Series champions.
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