Sunday, October 27, 2002

It Was a Great Ride

The moment Lofton made contact I knew what we were in for. I could watch it but I couldn't listen, and remote in hand I zipped the sound down to zero. Still it was horrible. The catch, the leap, the pileup on the infield, fireworks and smoke in the air, fans leaping and bouncing deliriously, every last red-shirted one of them pounding blow-up noise sticks as yet more fireworks blast away…. Just as I was sinking deep into despair and self-loathing (You idiot for caring so much about millionaire athletes, you fool for wasting all this time on a game), there was little Darren. You've heard too much about Dusty's boy, the most famous 3-year-old in America, but stay with me: He saved my day. He did it by sobbing in his daddy's arms as the Angel celebration unfolded in the aftermath of Lofton's flyball and Erstad's catch, of Rueter's gutsy performance and Livan's failure—and mostly, of course, in the aftermath of Saturday's monumental collapse. (That's when the Giants lost it, duh. Only the foolishly afflicted—like me, see earlier post—dared let hope make a comeback in the hours before Game 7.) Watching the tears roll down Darren's face I thought, "Yep, little buddy, it hurts." And I laughed. Little boys cry when their team loses. And so do big boys. And it's OK.
So Close

All through the Series, win or lose, I've looked forward to the next day's paper. That's part of the experience–kind of like rolling an interesting wine around in your mouth, gargling a bit, drawing air in and over it to make sure no subtleties are missed. This morning, I couldn't face the full 20-page section of rehash. All I wanted was a little Bruce, who I was sure would understand. At first I felt his merely solid effort had failed me somehow; I read, and the pain didn't go away. But now I feel hope and excitement returning. No doubt, this is a profoundly difficult time for the true Giants fan. The prospect of this long run of happy events ending in sadness, again, looms large. And to have had it sitting there in our hands–eight outs to go, nobody on base, a five-run lead … that's plainly cruel. Rebecca says she's afraid to hope and that is wise; me, I've got no choice. I've been with this team for 30 years, since I was 10 years old and declared my independence from the Minnesota teams I had followed since spending the first five years of my life in the Midwest. We were in California now and I needed a Northern California team. The A's were winners, so naturally I shied away from them. The Giants had a history of disappointing; they would be mine. Then and now. Bring on Game 7.