ARLINGTON, Texas — There was music pumping in the San Francisco Giants clubhouse when the doors opened on Sunday night and the national media was let inside. The 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers in Game 4 of the World Series was secure and an upbeat atmosphere was seemingly about to reign.
However, it didn't take long for the thumps from the Rich Boy remix to go silent, cut by an unknown person. The chatter from the shower room was subdued and appearances from contributing Giants players were few and far between at first.
"Wait, did the Giants lose tonight?" I asked another media type. "Because, you know, it kinda feels that way."
It did feel that way, but it soon became apparent that was probably by design. When the Giants finally started filtering in for their postgame pressers, they went all eggshell, careful not to jinx the treasure that could possibly be on the other side of Monday night.
Heck, I'm guessing there are Giants fans out there that don't even want me to lay out the possibilities for fear of a curse, but here goes: Win Game 5 against Cliff Lee(notes) and Tim Lincecum(notes) and the Giants will deliver their first World Series title to San Francisco since moving west from New York in 1958. A parade down Market Street will follow, along with a canonization of the team to a level of the Joe Montana-led 49ers. Nine more innings, one more win.
Not that the Giants are considering that victory to be money in the bank.
Nor should they be.
"It's a good spot to be in, no doubt," Aubrey Huff(notes) said after the game. "But we had a 3-1 lead against the Phillies and they came back and beat us a tough game at our place and we had to go back and really grind out a Game 6, and didn't really want to go to Game 7.
"Three-one is great, but this is the playoffs, and teams are certainly capable of winning three straight. We've got to go out there tomorrow and get back to work, act like we're down 1-3."
The odds are, of course, good. Thirty-eight of the 44 teams that have led a World Series 3-1 have gone on to win the whole thing. The last team to blow such an advantage was the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals and they needed umpire Don Denkinger's help to do so. With the Giants' pitching and defense, it's hard to imagine them becoming the seventh team to fail to secure that last victory after going up 3-1.
But because these are the Giants — the team that fell apart in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series — it's going to be a tense time for their fans between now and that 27th out of a clinching win, whether it comes at Rangers Ballpark on Monday or back at AT&T Park on Wednesday or Thursday. That's just how fans are.
Some of you are probably wondering if I'd also describe the Giants' clubhouse on Sunday night as nervous or overwhelmed, but I didn't see it that way. On the brink of potentially the biggest win imaginable in baseball, they weren't about to cash in anything just yet.