My last post dedicated to the team was in May.
I have shut up through most of summer.
Indulge me here, then.
I'll be brief and be gone.
The Giants sit two games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is the best place to be right now.
The Dodgers can't dodge this target.
The Giants play mostly great baseball. Their ace, pitcher Madison Bumgarner, struck out nine Atlanta Braves last night as the team won 6-1 and Bumgarner notched his 12th victory. Third baseman Matt Duffy makes his case for Rookie of the Year just about every game.
Frenetic right fielder Hunter Pence is back from injury and energizing the game. So is left fielder Nori Aoki, his broken foot healed and his bat back in the leadoff spot.
Sensational sophomore Joe Panik hurt his back (Argh!) and rookie call-up Kelby Tomlinson got a hit in his first Major League at-bat two nights ago — dedicating it to a batboy from one of his minor league teams, who died this week — and last night drove in three runs, going 2 for 4. Broadcasters are already calling him Clark Kent for his glasses and resemblance.
All-Star™® superstar catcher Buster Posey is hitting .332, quietly shredding the league in his "aw shucks" way.
It's all good. And I don't care.
I care, but I'm not invested in the outcome the way I was last year. I may have reached baseball nirvana, being able to enjoy The Giants for entertainment alone.
Sure, I shout aloud in the empty living room why Angel Pagan is batting leadoff when Aoki is healed and ready to go. But I wince in empathy — meteoric salary aside — to watch Pagan struggle in center field, his knees betraying him on fly balls he used to chase down.
I hold my head in both hands when closer Santiago Casilla comes in the last inning with a lead and then gives it up or walks batters in needless agony. But then I get over it.
It's. For. Fun.
A radio talk show caller told the host last week how nervous the Giants were making him, the shaky way starting pitcher Matt Cain was throwing after a long injury rehab. Keep in mind the Giants had just won 11 of the last 12 games.
You often hear how sports is escapism, to help us forget about life's trials for a while and luxuriate in the spectacle. But I wonder sometimes whether, for too many people, sports and celebrity becomes a substitute for life's trials and real issues. They have become the things we fret and worry about instead of the difficult and life-changing things we should worry about.
Real life may be futile, but sports certainly is: The general manager is not listening to you, Mr. and Mrs. Radio Show Caller, when you insist the Giants retrieve third baseman Pablo Sandoval from the struggling Boston Red Sox and move Matt Duffy to his natural position at second.
Yell all you want, nothing's going to happen on your say-so.
Join the vast crowd, cheering and commiserating too, and use the game to recharge yourself for what really matters.
Now the Giants try to cut through a swath of winning teams (The Cubs? The Chicago Cubs? Those Cubs?) before finishing the season against the hated Dodgers and much of the National League West.
The Giants may go the World Series again this year. Or they may not. Whatever.
In other news: Goodbye, Jon Stewart. What The Sacramento Bee said.