Why I can’t root for the San Francisco Giants
October. It is the month that baseball players of all ages dream of—where life-long goals are achieved or spirits are broken. It is the month where stories of epic heroes and epic collapses traipse through our minds like the fairy tales we were told as kids.
Now, after 20 days of watching team after team bite the reddish dirt, the biggest of all performances is upon us—the World Series. Careers can be made of postseasons, but nothing can propel someone to the role of a hero like a big at-bat or an astounding play like a World Series game.
I’ve talked about the teams and players that stood out to me this past month, but—as baseball luck would have it—those teams were cut. Their stories are now paused in time as someone else takes the all-important at-bat or throws the seeing-eye curve.
The San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers have their own stories and their own battles that they have overcome to get to this point. Deciding which team to support when you have no stake in the game can be challenging, to say the least.
For some it is as easy as appreciating a specific player, or a love of the National League over the American League.
I technically should fall into that later category—I grew up watching the National League, and, in general, my loyalty always falls there. Yet, this time around I find myself favoring Detroit and hoping that the Giants are taken down to size.
I will admit that I hold an unfair grudge against San Francisco.
When I think about the Giants this season, I cannot focus on the euphoria created by their win-or-go-home victories. Instead, I think of Melky Cabrera.
The game of baseball is comprised of a series of mistakes. A hitter who misses a pitch, a pitcher who gives up the game-winning hit, a fielder who doesn’t get in front of a ground ball. These mistakes are more than just acceptable—they are what create the game. Without them there would not really be a point.
Cabrera’s mistake, however, is a prime example of everything that is wrong with a sport that can do so much to make someone feel good inside. Using steroids to better your performance does more than just give a player an unfair advantage. It cheats the sport and fans out of one of the most integral elements of the game—the human element.
Yes, Cabrera made himself ineligible for the National League batting title as a way of compensating for his mistakes. But does that really make a difference? Did anyone else feel like that was a publicity move to better his approval rating when he does return to baseball?
The Giants were not involved with Cabrera’s mistake, and by not putting him on the postseason roster, they did show that they also disapproved of Cabrera’s decision. Nonetheless, Cabrera was a part of what made the team successful.
It is a feeling I just cannot shake.
Consequently, instead of donning orange for the next week, my support will go toward a team that has reached the pinnacle of the baseball world, but has been overshadowed by its own success.
Think about it—when the Tigers swept the New York Yankees, who did you think more about? The Tigers and the fact that they could win their first World Series title since 1984? Or were you thinking, “Yes! How ‘bout them apples, Yankees fans? Does that postseason collapse feel good?”
So, here’s to the team who lost 117 regular season games back in 2003. To the team that falls somewhat under the radar. To the team that, this time around, reminds me of why baseball is the most unpredictable ride around.