Got Them Giants’ Fan Blues

McCovey’s line shot going straight to Richardson.

Stu Miller for Billy Hoeft. Manny Mota for Joey Amalfitano. Felipe Alou for Bob Shaw.

Jose Cardenal for Jack Hiatt. Matty Alou for Joe Gibbon. Bill Hands and Randy Hundley for Lindy McDaniel and Don Landrum.

Orlando Cepeda for Ray Sadecki.

Now batting, the shortstop, number twenty-two: Hal Lanier. Leading off, and playing left field, number twenty-eight: Jesus Alou.

Lindy McDaniel for Bill Monboquette. Ray Sadecki for Bob Heise. Ron Hunt for Dave McDonald.

George Foster for Frank Duffy. Frank Duffy and Gaylord Perry for Sam McDowell.

Batting fifth, and playing third base, number twenty-six: Dave Kingman.

Hulking, cavernous, windswept Candlestick Park, gray, dank, dreary, and cold as death.

Ron Bryant gashing his side on a swimming pool slide. Mike Ivie lacerating his hand with a fishing knife. Johnnie “Disaster” LeMaster. Rennie Stennett.

Bob Knepper for Enos Cabell. Jack Clark for David Green, Dave LaPoint, and Jose Uribe. The managerial career of Jim Davenport.

Candy Maldonado botching that crucial fly ball in right field. Atlee Hammaker giving it up to Jose Oquendo. The most one-sided four-game slaughter in World Series history, sandwiched around a catastrophic earthquake.

The Salomon Torres Game.

Dante Powell’s throw hitting the pitchers’ mound. Being shut down by Steve Trachsel. Shawn Estes spraining his ankle stepping on second base. Being shut down by Bobby Jones.

Scott Freaking Spiezio.

Russ Ortiz for Damian Moss.

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

Jose Cruz Jr. botching that other crucial fly ball in right field

Now, to this sad list, we must add a new member to our Hall of Shame: the ninth-inning meltdown to end all ninth-inning meltdowns.

You’re a fan. Fans don’t decide to root for their team. Being a fan isn’t something you choose to do. Either you are a fan, or you aren’t. Anyone who quits on his team when it’s down, who deserts them at their darkest moment, is not a fan.

A fan is always there. A fan suffers with every loss, aches with every missed opportunity. A fan stays true when the slumps grind on. A fan stays true when the leads get blown.

A fan doesn’t choose to pay this price; this is the price that a fan is compelled to pay. There is no fairness to it, no symmetry. It doesn’t have to “even out.” The price is paid, whether it’s redeemed or not.

No doubt there are rewards in being a fan, great rewards. No one, save an athlete himself, appreciates the joy of victory more deeply than a fan, because no one understands the preciousness of that joy more than a fan. The sweet nectar of success tastes best to those who have known the bitter pill of defeat, and the harsher the bitterness, the sweeter the joy.

But there’s no law that says the joy will be tasted on schedule, or indeed be tasted at all. The dues are paid, with no guarantee that the accounts will be settled.

None of which fazes a fan, of course. A river of red ink in the fairness accounting book changes nothing. A fan is there regardless, always there, enduring disappointment though to do so builds no character, savoring elation though to do so reflects no accomplishment.

It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t smart. All in all it’s a silly and pointless thing for a reasonable adult to do. But a fan does it anyway, because – well, just because.

As a Giants’ fan, Saturday’s debacle could get little worse. But lest one think things could possibly get no worse for this particular Giants’ fan, think again … my second-favorite major league team, the team I’ve pulled for second only to the Giants, ever since I can remember, is – that’s right – the Red Sox.

Uh-oh …

Steve Treder has been a co-author of every Hardball Times Annual publication since its inception in 2004. His work has also been featured in Nine, The National Pastime, and other publications. He has frequently been a presenter at baseball forums such as the SABR National Convention, the Nine Spring Training Conference, and the Cooperstown Symposium. When Steve grows up, he hopes to play center field for the San Francisco Giants.

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