Every diehard fan has their very own area to watch their beloved teams in times of crisis. Sure, you start the game sitting on the couch with your feet up. But once the later innings arrive, you need your area: That one, special spot where you need to pace, crouch, exhale, barter with the devil or just stand so that you’ll put your team in the “W” column.
My area is to the left of my coffee table in front of the fireplace. That’s the spot where I actually paced enough to get Robb Nen to strike out Gary Sheffield and induce Chipper Jones into a 4-6 double play to clinch Game 5 in the NLDS last year. No one can convince me that my pacing had nothing to do with the Giants’ advancing in the playoffs.
Then, I have the front-and-center area of the coffee table. With runners on and a Giant at the plate, sitting there will create frolicking magic for every Giants fan, guaranteed. Just ask Benito Santiago. I sat in that very spot when Benito launched a 2-run bomb into the sportswriters’ section in the left field bleachers in Game 4 of the NLCS. Again, that’s all me.
My friend, Ken, is a devout Yankee fan whose spot is behind his couch. He even makes family members and guests stand there if they are lucky enough to watch a game that’s on the line with him. Then there’s John who doesn’t have a specific area, per se, although he will chew ANYTHING (whether it’s the remote, a rubber milk bone, a shoe, stray sock, his wife, anything) that will get his Diamondbacks into the win column. I guess his area is his front teeth. But let’s move on before we starting dissecting oral fixations.
So what does that special place in your home have to do with the 2003 Giants? It’s simple. Even though the Giants have a five game lead in the National League Western Division and own a 39-23 record, things aren’t rosy enough to not need your very own area to have a meltdown worthy of any “MTV Real World” housemate.
In one of my earlier columns I used the term, “Effectively wild,” to describe Damian Moss. That’s just another way of saying that after I yelled, “Not another 3-1 count!!” he would somehow manage to escape unscathed. In his last five starts, though, “effectively wild” has turned into “effectively Estes.” As a result, he has me pacing during his warm-ups - in the first inning. How good can things be when you have to pace during a game involving the Tigers?
Then you have the Giants’ fourth and fifth starters (namely Ainsworth, Foppert and/or Williams) and their tendency to make morons like yours truly seek refuge in our lucky areas early and often. Hudson, Mulder and Zito, they are not. One day perhaps, but not yet.
And do I need to go into detail about the Giants’ hitters leaving runners stranded? I’m amazed by how many shallow pop-ups and strikeouts have taken place with less than two outs this year. I’m even more amazed by how many times I’ve been left stranded on my coffee table.
So, what Brian Sabean has to do in these next 7 weeks is get me a #3 pitcher who will throw strikes and eat innings. (Maybe the Giants can throw Bartolo Colon in one of their suitcases after they leave Chicago on Thursday. With U.S. Cellular Field drawing less than 17,000 fans per game, would anyone in the Southside notice if Colon was suddenly gone?) They’ll also need to pick up an RBI guy who’s going to make me stop muttering, “It’d be good to have Kent right about now.”
Otherwise, the Giants are just good enough to get surpassed by L.A. in September or – if they make the playoffs - return to their 3-games-and-out playoff form. I’ll tell you what, Giants fans: My carpet and coffee table simply won’t be able to handle that kind of torment.
P.S. Don’t ask me where I sat for Game 6 and Game 7 of the World Series. Just don’t.
Keith Larson writes for SFDugout.com because he's lived and died with the Giants since 1972. He welcomes all words of praise and insult at firstname.lastname@example.org, but mentioning anything having to do with Game 6 is to be done with extreme caution.