COMMENTARY | Homer Bailey threw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants on July 2. He pitched beautifully, and it's quite possible that any lineup would have come up empty that day. Let's get that out of the way.
But of course it came against the Giants. With the way they are playing, they are simply not equipped of putting up any sort of a fight against a buzz saw performance like that. This may be the low point of the season. Of course, it may not be. All we know is that we are just past the midpoint. There's still a ton of baseball left. But up to this point, the Giants are putting up one of the worst World Series title defenses ever (non-Marlins division). And that's not any fun.
The fact that there is even a title defense to speak of means that there is no reason to complain. The fact that this is their second title defense in three years means that seriously, there is no reason to complain. Things are bad right now, but really, they're not that bad. On the other hand, this is pretty bad.
After the no-hitter, Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area provided a bunch of interesting factoids here about how dreadful the Giants have been. My "favorite" is this: "They have baseball's worst record since May 14, at 16-29." That's more than half of the games they've played. In other words, for the majority of the season thus far, the Giants have been the worst team in baseball.
So it's no surprise that they've fallen into last place, behind even the hated Los Angeles Dodgers. It's downright demoralizing. It gives legitimate fodder to critics who like to talk about the Giants as "flukes." That is pretty much the worst thing you can call a World Series winner, and right now, they are earning it.
But there is good news. There is plenty of re-moralizing room for improvement. As stated above, the season is just over half way through. And the rest of the NL West is so mediocre that the Giants are still only three games off the lead. Maybe all they need at the trade deadline is for players to get healthy and play to their known ability.
It's during times like these when I actually support the baseball season being as long as it is (because, let's be honest, it's too long). The Giants have 79 games to make up three in the standings. Doable enough. Baseball is more a game of chance than we'd like to admit. It's perfectly conceivable that the Giants rip off eight wins in a row and are back to where they "should be" by mid-month.
Still, it's no fun when you're team isn't playing well. There's no way around it. It's the nature of sports fandom. We watch sports in hopes that our teams win. When they don't, there's very little satisfaction in it. When your team wins, it's time well spent. When you're team loses, it's time wasted. It's the difference between a good mood and a bad mood, even if they won the championship last year.
Because you know that other teams are winning. A full half of them, in fact. Those fans are having fun. Why are these Giants being so mean to me? Day in and day out, there's a good mood just waiting only nine innings away. Why do they have to deprive me of that?
It's a completely ridiculous way to feel, but when your team is playing as bad as the Giants have lately, it's easy to take personally.
That's why being a baseball fan is so weird. Following it on a day-to-day basis is almost--almost--not worth the stress. That's easy for me to say of course, having witnessed my team win two out of the last three World Series.
I know what it's like to not know whether your team will ever win one. When each loss is hope slipping through your fingers, making it exponentially worse than the last. When the despair of waiting until next year seems unlivable. That is stress, and every time the Giants do lose I'm thankful I'll never have to deal with it on that level again.
For now, I'll take solace in the fact that the Giants are not that far off from where they were at this time last year. Look how that turned out. Still, taking solace is a state I'd rather not be in right now. Losing is losing, and it's not any fun.
Michael Meade lives in San Francisco, and has followed the Bay Area sports teams for 20+ years. Things have been good lately. He's contributed pieces on the Giants to various sports blogs. You can follow Michael on Twitter @mmeade06.
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