Light from an Unexpected Place in a Lost Season

I always have love for the game. It's a love I cherish with others too.
I always have love for the game. It’s a love I cherish with others too.

Baseball is the funniest of games. I’d tell you how, but you just have to be like me and breathe it, bleed it, and immerse yourself in it (Yeah, it’s as messy as it sounds!). If you’re a Giants fan like me, you know that this season is far from the fairy tale that was written last year. We’re still living in an unexplainable nightmare where we’ve gone from first to worst. Every day, it seems like the team finds a new way to lose: the bullpen (sometimes starting pitchers, though mostly solid nowadays) making mistake pitches, mental errors, not hitting with RISP, losing in the ninth, losing in extra innings, and even getting no-hit once. While anything can happen in baseball, as someone who has to see things to believe them, I’ve become so accustomed to seeing my team not win. Winning one game is a luxury thus far, never mind a series. When I see them fall apart to add another L to that crushing Loss column, my heart breaks completely, and I can only wonder what happened to a team that has persevered through the past three years to have them fall from grace in 2013.

But no matter how many of those L’s they’ve racked up, no matter how low my expectations have become, and no matter how angry/sad/frustrated I am getting as the season comes to a close, I still come back to follow the next game. I still find myself wanting to invest my hard-earned money and precious time at AT&T Park because win or lose, most of the time there’s no other place in the world I’d rather be. I still love baseball, and I still love my team. When I first started going to the games in the mid to late 2000s as a casual fan, I didn’t care about the team going to the postseason—I just wanted to see my team play and have a good time. I guess now that I’m fully invested in the game and they finally have a couple of World Series rings in the San Francisco era, I amped up my expectations. But there have been worse seasons and even if this year officially OFFICIALLY goes to crap (i.e. the point when the Giants are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and they finish under .500), there is still reason to believe the Giants will still be a force to be reckoned with at least in the rest of this decade. We’ve got Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Buster Posey locked up. The homegrown Brandons (Crawford and Belt) have yet to see their best seasons. Angel Pagan will come back healthy, and there’s a chance that Hunter Pence might be resigned for a few more years. For now, if you truly love your team, you’ll stick with them through the bad times as well as celebrate the good times. These past couple of months have been a very dark storm. But slowly, it will clear for the sun to shine once again.

Speaking of spending time at AT&T, at least I now know that I’m not carrying a curse. As of today, I am 4-7 when attending Giants games this season. The Giants are currently 31-31 at home and have an overall record of 52-65. See, it’s not me! But as mentioned earlier, I now expect to lose every game I attend.

I did run into some good luck on Social Media Night (A 2-3 loss versus the Chicago Cubs) late last month when I was selected for the Orange Friday giveaway. The best part of my little prize package was receiving TEN tickets in bleachers section 139 for a game versus the Milwaukee Brewers last week. Some people might’ve jumped on selling those tickets on Craigslist, but I jumped on rounding up an entire group from all aspects of my life to enjoy the game with.

I go to concerts, movies, and pretty much anywhere else you can think of alone EXCEPT for baseball games. Maybe one of these days I’ll suck it up, but I believe in enjoying sporting events with other people. It’s just a lot more fun that way. I am so appreciative of every family member, friend, colleague, and classmate who I’ve had the pleasure of being at AT&T Park with, and last week was one of the best times I’ve ever had there because of all the quality people I got to be with.

There’s something really special about a baseball game, however, when you have a handsome man (or a lovely lady) next to you and when you’re deeply feeling the heartbreak of your boys being down 3-1 but still keeping that unwavering faith, he lets you hold his hand and lean in to him. It gave me hope. It gave me comfort. No matter the outcome, he would still be next to me. I should’ve known it when we were on our fourth date for that game versus the LA Dodgers last month. That night was a gutwrenching 2-10 L and we still managed to stick through every inning in the cold together.

Like these last couple of months of baseball that have yet to unravel, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But sharing those two games with that one person has me believing that beautiful things can still come out of a bad season.

(IMAGE SOURCE: yoursouthernsweetheart.tumblr.com [Baseball in the heart] | PHOTO CREDIT: My Flickr [Featured: AT&T Park at night])

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