Sept. 14, 2011
GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
SAN FRANCISCO -- Accuse all you want of spraying stinging agent over the rave, but as in-the-moment exciting as was the Giants' 3-1 victory over the Padres at AT&T Park on Wednesday afternoon, in the not-long-after-the-moment quiet of seagulls brawling over bratwurst buns beneath the bullpen bench, it was all a little bit sad.Maybe sad is the wrong word. Maybe that stings a little too much. Let's try nostalgic on for size. Better? Fine. Wear it. But know that nostalgia, unless it comes in a boxed set of DVDs and was produced by Ken Burns, rarely has a warm-fuzzy feeling attached.
Let's face it, folks. Had this game been played at this time last year, it would have been the kind of game for which you'd steal the tickets out of your neighbor's mailbox after his friend dropped them off and drove away.(And no, that's not the voice of experience speaking. OK, maybe just once. I wanted one of those damn "WE BELIEVE" t-shirts, all right?)Think about it. This game, at this time in 2010? Tim Lincecum, hero, vs. Mat Latos, villain? Top two teams in the National League West, with a season's worth of hard-fought, white-knuckle street fights visible in the frothy wake. Wednesday? Same two pitchers, both still very gifted, but only Lincecum still has that aura of invincibility. Latos has fallen, and he's fallen hard. Something about karma being a female dog.And the teams? Hoo, boy. Not the same teams in virtually any respect. The Padres, with apologies to Denny Green, are who we thought they were. They stink on shards of glass.The Giants? That's a convoluted, hot mess of injuries, expectations and underachievement. But it's not the same team, and no matter how hard the die-hards want to convince themselves otherwise, the defending champs are no longer defending their champs-ness. They're defending their sellout streak, .500 and their pride.Fortunately, they're doing a fine job of it as of late. Lincecum was fantastic in what might have been his 2011 swan song at AT&T Park; Carlos Beltran went deep twice, once into the drink, for career homers 299 and 300; and the Giants' winning streak went to four games for the first time since early July.All fine and well.But the roar that rose from the latest sellout crowd at the end of Wednesday's game was nothing like we heard around these parts last September, and those sounds won't be heard on that level again until next September at the earliest.So by all means enjoy it, Giants fans. Heck of a win. Leaning on nostalgia, however, almost always, eventually, feels like what rains down from those seagulls about an hour or so after the bratwurst-bun battles have been won.