There’s one topic that chills the San Francisco night air these days, and for once it’s not the fog.
It’s the ongoing plight of our hometown heroes that recently captured our hearts, and for more than a month now have been breaking them.
That would be your San Francisco Giants, who are looking awfully small these days, not to mention punchless, dazed and confused.
If you’re a Giants fan, you want to hurl yourself upon the bricks at AT&T Park. You want to grow your hair Timmy-style, just so you can pull it out. You want to wear a rally thong, if you only had one.
If last year’s theme was torture, then this year’s motto is misery.
And misery must love company, because San Francisco Giants fans are suffering en masse, a daily ritual combining internal wincing with bobble head-like nods of disbelief.
I love the Giants. I hate the Giants. Why are they doing this to me?
The misfits from last year’s miracle team are this year’s underachievers. We keep expecting them to snap out of it, but there’s just no snap to be found. A hit here, a run there, and they might have won 15 games in August instead of lost them. Starting pitcher Tim Lincecum has gone nine straight starts where he gave up only two runs or less and he’s lost four of them.
The so-called baseball experts tell us to remain optimistic, that with the team’s pitching and cast of veterans, it could still be a magical September, just like last year. But on the dark side, they also note that nearly half the team has been on the disabled list this year, and they don’t know when a lot of key players will be back.
The worry started with the Buster Posey incident back in May, but it wasn’t until recently that that horrible collision looked like an omen for the Giants’ season. Players are getting injured just walking off the mound. And then Brian Wilson’s beard got so heavy, it apparently threw out his back.
And it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the Arizona Diamondbacks, whom the Giants are chasing, look an awful lot like the Giants of 2010, finding ever-new ways to win.
If you grew up here, you’re well-steeped in the near misses, the almost was. During the 1960s, the Giants had one of the most-talented lineups in baseball, Hall of Famers all around, yet they only won one pennant. Part of that was due to the old division alignment — if there had been three divisions and a wild card, the Giants would have been playoff-bound almost every year.
But instead it was a lot of second-place finishes and wait till next year.
Yet with the glow of last year’s run not quite faded, no one wants to wait until next year. Certainly not the team’s owners, who went after trades like they were putting together spare parts for Frankenstein. Certainly not the players, who look dumbfounded at times because they’re doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results.
And certainly not manager Bruce Bochy, who keeps spinning a positive message for the players and the team, though at times he looks like he’s in Ripley’s Believe It or Not rather than a visiting dugout.
Sure, it’s baseball, no team wins every year, not even those filled with the bloated contract rosters of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. But you also get what you pay for — in their case runs. The Yankees came from behind to score 22 runs against the Oakland A’s on Thursday. That’s like a month of offense for the Giants.
Great players such as Lincecum and Matt Cain never complain about their run support, but it’s got to be tearing at them. How many games do you think they’d win on one of those fat-market teams? And how long before one of them comes a-calling, offering them $200 million? You don’t think “20-game winner’’ is enticing to a pitcher?
Yet I’ll stay positive. Thirty games to go, Indian summer just around the corner (please) and a tested September group of playoff-pressure veterans. We can do this. We haven’t stopped believing.
But I’m keeping the long hair — just in case.