IT’S THE HOPE

It’s not the despair. I can take the despair.
It’s the hope I can’t stand.

                                                         John Cleese, Clockwise, 1986

When I was 7 and growing up in Oakland, the Giants moved from New York to San Francisco. I, my family and everyone I knew instantly became Giants fans. There had never been a Major League team west of the Mississippi and now there were two. And one of them was right across the bay from me!

Seals Stadium

My Dad took me and my brother to Seals Stadium to see the Giants that first year. I was able to see, at that young age, some of the greatest baseball players of all time. I must admit spending most of the game staring at the huge Hamm’s beer animated neon sign across the street. Hey, it was a big glass that filled with beer and then foam at the top!

The actual sign!

My Dad kept saying, “Watch the game. Watch the game.”


Well, I’ve been “watching the game” ever since.


1962 World Series, Candlestick Park


I watched as the Giant’s went to the World Series in 1962. (Actually watched that one on the radio). Series tied 3 games to 3. Yankees on top 1 to nothing in the decisive 7th game. 2 outs. Bottom of the 9th. Willie Mays on 2nd.  Felipe Alou on 3rd. McCovey at the plate. He hits a screaming line drive to right field. Fair Ball! Alou crosses the plate! Mays slides safely home! The Giants win the Series! The Giants win the Series!


Well, that’s how it was supposed to end. But McCovey hit that screaming line drive right at Bobby Richardson and the game was over. Just like that. Over. The Giant’s had lost.


And that’s how it’s been for the last 56 years. Every spring we hope and we pray and every October we say “wait ‘till next year”.


1989 World Series, Candlestick Park


The Giants sweep the A’s in 4 games and the party in San Francisco lasts for weeks. Oh, the joy!


Well, that’s how it was supposed to end. But right before game 1 there was an earthquake that caused great devastation and loss of life in the Bay Area. Candlestick was damaged and the Series was delayed. When they finally played, the A’s swept the Giants in 4 and it was over. Just like that. Over. The Giants had lost.


And we hoped and we prayed.


2002 World Series, Anaheim, California


They lost. I do not even want to give this one a fictional ending. They were up 3 games to 2 and ahead 5 to nothing in the 7th inning of game 6 and the Angels came back to win the game and then beat them again the next day. It was over. I mean, that was it. I could no longer handle the hope.

The Giants continued to play the game. Barry Bonds became big news with the steroid stuff and all. But I didn’t follow the Giants very closely for the next few years getting most of my baseball satisfaction being happy when the Dodgers would lose. Anyway, this year I started looking at the game again. I mean, they had this Lincecum kid who won the Cy Young two years in a row so maybe they had a chance. I started following the stats on-line.


They did OK in May and June but really didn’t look like they were going anywhere. In August and September; they were actually in the pennant race. But I had learned not to get my hopes up. With 3 games left in the season they were in first place with a 3 game lead over San Diego. But the last 3 games of the season were with San Diego and, having watched for years as the Giants managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, I tempered my hope.


The Padres beat them in the first game (here we go). The Padres beat them in the second game (“Why do you do this to yourself?”, my wife would say). But, wait! They won the third game and the Western division!


And the rest, as they say, is history.


They were supposed to lose to Atlanta but they won. They were supposed to lose to Philadelphia but they won. And they were supposed to lose to Texas but:


2010 World Series, Arlington, Texas


The Giants won.


You do not know how good it feels to say that.

THE GIANTS WON!


Can’t wait for spring to get here so I can hope and pray again.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and children shout and run;
And that place is San Francisco where the Giants finally won!

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