It's Time For the Giants to Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying

Categories: Sports
Giants fans agree with Red all too well: 'Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.'
When you root for the San Francisco Giants you get the calls and you make the calls. After Game 6 in 2002, I called my longtime best friend -- who followed me into rooting for San Francisco even though we grew up in the East Bay -- and simply told him "I'm sorry I got you into this."

After last night's 14-inning nightmare in Denver, my father made the call to me. He could not recall watching a worse loss -- ever. And this comes from a former Brooklyn Dodger fan old enough to remember what went down in 1951.

Of course that's ridiculous. The San Francisco Giants have provided their faithful with many agonizing losses over the years; I can think of a number worse than last night's not even including the postseason (Here's a down payment: The Neifi Perez home run off Robb Nen in 1998 to blow an 8-0 lead and a miraculous playoff berth. How's that?).

And yet, yesterday's epic meltdown is the kind of thing that leaves scars. I don't know if athletes think this way, but fans do: Last night's 14-inning monstrosity was the kind of game that has the potential to be an abnormality in the striation of a season. It's the sort of game you can point to long after the fact and think, "See, this is where everything went to shit."

On opening day, I wrote a Giants-related homage to The Shawshank Redemption; it's a very quotable movie and, sadly, the notion of unjust imprisonment strikes a chord with San Francisco fans. So, after last night's potentially season-altering loss, we return to Shawshank and its signature quandary: Get busy living or get busy dying

Of course, we know what happens in the cinematic world: The battle over whether "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane" or "Hope is a good thing -- maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies" is resolved in favor of the latter. Andy Dufresne gets busy living -- and escapes to freedom through "500 yards of shit-smelling foulness."

(By the way, if you can manage a Morgan Freeman imitation for just one minute at a time, you can't do better than to amaze your party guests by intoning: "Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can't even imagine, or maybe I just don't want to. Five hundred yards ... that's the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile.")

The Giants have provided plenty of shit-smelling foulness, but no freedom. Sadly, this team has rewarded its pessimists. It always has, for more than half a century. And yet, every year, fans convince themselves to watch -- first with a passing interest, then a passion, and, ultimately, a smoldering discontent. In the best of years, our hopes have been painfully and abruptly quelled.

It sounds dysfunctional and maybe it is. But, as a Giants fan, I'm not ready to give up now.

I just want the chance to be hurt worse later. I hope the team can do that for us. 


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