Every so often over the course of a 162-game baseball season, the Baseball Gods like to remind you what an excruciating ordeal it is to be a Major League Baseball fan. That it's a grueling exercise in mental fortitude for the rears in the seats as well as the players on the diamond.
But back to this weekend's three-game series with the struggling Cincinnati Reds.
Not only did los Gigantes drop two of the trio, but each L came in a game started by one of the two aces.
Tim Lincecum wasn't his usual blisteringly hostile self when welcoming the Reds to town on Friday. Nevertheless, his off twirl had a lot less to do with the loss than the five errors committed by a normally soft-handed defense.
Then, Matt Cain bookended the visit with a bad day, not merely one where he was a little askew.
For the first time in a long time, Cainer didn't pitch well enough to give the impression he could've/should've won. Surrendering five runs in seven innings won't get it done, not for most teams and certainly not for the iron-depleted Orange and Black offense.
Oh well, it happens.
What really added insult to injury was not the familiar face in Cinci's dugout
The City will always have an inexplicable soft spot for Dusty Baker, even though you could argue it was Bake who cost us the 2002 World Series...
On second thought, that's just me being bitter—the tenderness is actually well-deserved for 10 mostly fantastic years at the helm in San Francisco. Nobody likes losing to an ex-player, ex-manager, ex-owner, or ex-anything, but going down to a former ally isn't the worst way to go.
No, the real kick to the gonads was that the lone victory in the three-gamer—a Barry Zito gem on Saturday—wasn't televised.
You have to understand, if you live in the Giants' home market and you subscribe to CSN Bay Area, you're used to seeing basically every game. There are maybe, maybe, ten games that don't make the airwaves.
And most of those overlap with other premier events that would supersede any early season baseball game.
So it's always a rude awakening when we get this late in the season only to be greeted by those dreaded words "Radio Only" (with all due respect to Jon Miller, Dave Flemming, and the rest of the radio crew).
This one wasn't an April/May game to be easily overlooked and then forgotten. This could end up being a hugely consequential series with the division leaders coming in on the Reds' victorious heels.
We are, after all, entering the dog days and they slip into the stretch run while nobody's paying attention.
Plus, did I mention it was the only freakin' win of the weekend?
That's the really tough pill to swallow because, as devoted baseball fans, we need to see the redemptive win after yet another soul-crushing defeat. That's baseball's dirty little secret—with so many games, you're not supposed to care about each individual outcome as much.
Except you do.
Big wins in the season's opening stanza are euphoric and the losses tragic. As the marathon wears on, the illogical happens as the sensations only intensify. Each new loss heaps misery upon a growing pile and each subsequent eradicating win makes you forget the ominous pile of defeat.
Until the next one repeats the draining cycle.
After 111 games, the San Francisco Giants are buried under a 50-game mountain of misfortune and this fan can't remember what a win looks like.
Nobody said love was easy.