With the mood gone sour both inside the Giant clubhouse and out on the concourses after the Los Angeles Dodgers completed their retaliatory series sweep, there is a new way to consider this Bay Area baseball season.
Not the kind of front-running Giants and As fans are used to, when they rave incoherently about their teams strengths in good times and rave incoherently about their weaknesses in bad ones. No, were talking about flat-out front-running where you wait for each days results to come in and declare yourself a fan of the team that wins.
And when, as on Sunday, they both lose, youre a football fan.
The Giants were smothered by Clayton Kershaw (big surprise) Sunday, just as they were the day before by Chad Billingsley. The two teams are now separated by .000865135057195, which is probably how theyll be at seasons end.
The As, on the other hand, completed the second leg of their Eastern road trip with a 6-1 to Baltimore, and maintain a tenuous hold on the first wild-card spot a half-game ahead of the LAA Of A.
The two teams combined for one run and 12 hits, a nostalgic look back at their early season shenanigans, and now that they have the same record (55-46) and stand in the same place (with the fourth-best record in their respective leagues), what better time is there for pulling out the old split cap and declaring yourself a fan for hire?
Why, in the next two days, you can vault between fearing that the trade deadline will pass without your team doing something big (Giants) or with your team doing something big and screwing up the chemistry (As). That alone makes it fun to be a fan in your own head.
But by declaring yourself an emotional mercenary for the duration, you have a better chance of having a heartwarming October. You have a better chance of enjoying each and every morning when you have increased the likelihood of victory.
And best of all, you can always bitch about your cheap owners no matter what side of the coin lands on your bathroom carpet in the morning.
Why, its a marketing coup or at least it would be if you could convince either the Giants or As to become more like Switzerland and less like Yemen. You cant, of course, and you will be scorned in the office for being a turncoat, but what care you? You win more often than anyone else because you have the power of the flexible mind.
Better yet, you are only infrequently put in the position of having divided loyalties. The two teams have won on the same day only 29 times in 114 days, which means you have a three-in-four chance of not having to root for both teams on the following morning.
And like we said, when both teams lose, youre a football fan, and that works all but six days between now and the end of the season.
Now we know youre about to bleat about the quintessential fan experience being about both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, but we see you when your team loses. Youre freaking unbearable. You think that winning 55 percent of your games is an unendurable indignity. You think your front office is actively trying to screw you out of your birthright. Face it, when your team loses, youre kind of a pain in the ass.
And when your team gets swept by your most hated rival, your spouse has to spend an absurd amount of time hiding sharp things and bolting down the windows. Thats just selfish.
So this is your solution. Turn your coat, as often as you need to. Call it reversible fandom if you must. But when both the As and Giants are thick in the postseason argument, you mustnt waste the sentiment. Be a winner as often as you can get away with it not because loyalty is for saps, even though it is, but because when you have two teams in your market, you can have fun more often than most baseball fans.
Its like the old drinking theory its always five oclock somewhere. So make your own five oclock. You may be scorned, but youll be scorned with a nice brown IPA, or a rich purple shiraz, or a dark amber Scottish product in your hand and all of it with a buzz in your brain that says in a soft, lilting voice, Screw those guys. Your team won, whoever that is.
And tomorrow, well work on your Olympic experience through the acquisition of dual citizenship. Or United Nations diplomatic status, for increased flexibility.