So here’s what we learned after Saturday’s 17-0 Dodger win over the Giants:
- The Dodgers are twice as good in routs as the Giants are.
- Bruce Bochy does not love his son. In fact, Scott Van Slyke loves Bruce Bochy’s son more than Bruce Bochy does.
- An amazing number of people stay to watch car wrecks until the last bit of burning upholstery is extinguished.
- Losing by two touchdowns and a field goal is no way to go into a Clayton Kershaw start.
But mostly what we learned is that Giants' fans are still struggling to grasp how a pennant race works. Or maybe they’re just bending to their own needs. Either way, très bizarre. Très bizarre en effet.
It’s not kind to work fans over on a night like this. The freshness of the . . . oh, let’s be honest. That’s not true. Why should one day be better than another, and besides, why should the customers be immune when they have it coming?
And in this case, they do. In a game the Giants needed to tie Los Angeles for the National league West lead, they watched starting pitcher Tim Hudson get regally raked. Three doubles followed by three singles out the Giants four runs to the bad, and then successive singles in the second chased Hudson after only 11 batters. It was a brutal start, and the air should have been hoovered right out of the hall.
Instead, there was loud, raucous cheering as Hudson left, because he was being replaced by Tim Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner, double no-hitter thrower and current reclamation project. It was as if the game stopped mattering almost immediately because their prodigal star was getting some run in a game that was slipping away but not yet gone.
The deliciously bizarre love affair with Lincecum had actually trumped a big game against the Dodgers. It almost didn’t matter that he got smacked about again, giving up five runs in three innings to go with Hudson’s six in one, and that a game that started poorly went super nova in no time at all.
Now that’s a level of worship that would leave any big league player completely baffled. And should.
To his credit, Hudson did not complain that the customers seemed to overdo the Timmy love. Hudson has seen enough strange things in baseball to deal with even this.
But there’s something certifiably odd about a list of priorities that reads:
1. Beat the Dodgers.
2. Cheer madly for Tim Lincecum no matter what the situation.
3. Cheer for every other Giants in hopes of a comeback that would set the divisional race alight.
4. Get garlic fries.
Now before you get your flannels in an indelicate bunch, understand that you get to cheer for your team any way you like. You paid for the damn ticket, and as long as you’re not making your neighbors miserable, you can set up altars to anybody you like. You are entitled.
But the seeming disconnect in a 17-0 game, with a record number of runs and hits for this 15-year-old silo of a ballpark is amusing. Damned amusing, really. It’s one of those only-here things.
Oh, we could give you the if-this-was-Philadelphia lecture, but you’ve heard it before. We could yammer on about what real fans do at times like this, about Tim Hudson’s feelings, about a hundred different head-scratchers. It’s September 13, for God’s sake. There are 14 games left. It’s getting weird for everybody.
But you are who you are, and that’s that. You are bound and determined to love Lincecum out of his current crevasse, and there’s no stopping you – not even the context of a very important game.
And strangely, you may not get many chances to love him after this. The magic of your devotion, and his history of saving the bacon before the kitchen explodes, seems not to be working any more. The risk of saving him far outweighs the benefit that accrues if he can be saved.
So it goes. You have to do what you have to do. Just know that it sounds really odd to the untrained ear, and even to many trained ones. In fact, you may all be nuts.
But we can only do so much. Be who you are, you crazy diamonds. And if you can come up with a coherent explanation for who you are, don’t be too shy to share it.