San Francisco-- Grant Brisbee got me thinking today. I think his concept of the current state of Giants' disarray was spot on. Here's a passage he closed his last article with earlier today:
Dammit so much. They say there are different stages of grief. But I'm going to stay in anger for a while, if that's okay with you. We went to bed on Tuesday night thinking the Giants had a normal lineup. We woke up to human nature and real life kicking us in the sternum. Gross.
I have to admit I'm no longer surprised by headlines regarding athletes getting caught; to me it's about as surprising as finding out reality TV is usually staged by producers. Nevertheless, after the requisite amount of time spent by Giants fans hand wringing and spiting Cabrera, they will eventually move on and forget this incident and the green seats of AT&T park will once again be full of wishful fans and annoyed girlfriends enduring the breath from their friends who couldn't pass up a hot paper tray of Gilroy garlic fries.The San Francisco Giants are no strangers to facts and rumors of illicit drug use. I'm going out on a limb here but I'm assuming most people have heard of Barry Bonds and his linseed oil nuanced legacy. This situation is much different on several aspects but its shaken the core of the fog cloak fan-base nonetheless. Melky quickly became a fan favorite due to his likability and offensive contributions.
The Giants have seemingly been on a hunt for second big bat for the last several years and Melky was beginning to assume that need. Fans adored him and even dressed in milkman delivery costumes as on homage to him. Not exactly the King's Court in breadth but touching no less.
This situation was eerily similar to the Manny Ramirez debacle during his stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Manny was knocking the covers off of baseballs and the fan base was energized. "Mannywood" was erected in the outfield bleachers to beckon his home run placement. Early in the 2009 season, Ramirez was busted for a banned substance and Mannywood's city charter was voided faster than a car getting broken into in Frank McCourt parking lot. Mannywood wasn't built in a day, but their season seemed to be over in one.
Fittingly enough, the Giants lost the first game that Cabrera was absent from after his suspension. Living in San Francisco myself I can attest to the dire feelings in the air. The wind has left the sails of Cabrera cheerleaders. Their lineup will have a glaring piece missing for the rest of the season. It's sad really. For the city, the fans, the team and the sport. Every player having a great season will now even more so be under the microscope. Mike Trout anyone?
Nothing is sacred in sports anymore. From the questions dogging Usain Bolt to the packed away dust covered jersey of Floyd Landis. PED's have, and continue to taint the fabric of professional sports unrelentingly. To a greater extent they are tainting the cultures that foster environments of winning at any cost and cultures that uplift athletes to messianic levels. Something many prominent countries are guilty of, including ours.
Current testing protocols in baseball were supposed to deliver the game from evil and restore confidence within the fans and teams. The current penalty structure was designed such as to be so severe no one in their right mind would risk using. Obviously, the financial benefits for players far outpaces the penalty of spending a couple months catching up on Sons of Anarchy and playing golf in Florida with Charles Barkley.
As fans we will continue to follow the game steadfastly and hope our organization is pure as driven snow, until that next suspension story comes over the wire and sportscasters feign shock and awe.
This by no means will assuage the empty feelings and downward glances of once hopeful Giants fans tonight as they fold and put away their Melky Cabrera tshirts and store their milkman hats next to asterisk mottled Bonds' memorabilia.
It may be overreaction on my part, but a little piece of fandom seems to die in me each time an athlete that people believe in and look up to is dropped into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and ousted from the game faster than a moody Tony LaRussa. The Giants may be in the NL West, but the fans are fans no less and when crap like this spoils the game, we all suffer not in separate leagues, but as one.