“I had a friend was a big baseball player
Back in high school
He could throw that fastball by you
Make you look like a fool …”
“Glory Days,” Bruce Springsteen
It’s how life works. Rome’s dominion crumbled. The sun set on the British Empire. The Yankees can’t beat the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hey, it was great. I still have a Giants’ t-shirt with the word “Dynasty” in big letters. “Strength in Numbers”? A couple. “Gold-blooded”? Of course.
The Giants are a little further removed from their days of glory than Golden State, and the hangover is a little more painful: After 40 games, only one team in the National League has fewer wins.
The pitching is thin. The offense is spotty. Attendance is down. And really, the team is dull. What is there to be excited about? Lamonte Wade, Jr., drawing another walk? Tyler Rogers scraping his knuckles before releasing his 82 mph fastball? Brandon Crawford hoping to reach the Mendoza Line?
Even so … this is the essence of fandom. If we gloried in the triumph, we cannot abandon the Orange and Black as they tumble to the bottom of the standings. We can grumble, yes, but we cannot abandon. After all, did anyone really think the Giants would keep winning the World Series every other year? Did we really believe, in our heart of fan-shaped hearts, that we’d beat the big-spending Dodgers indefinitely?
Sadly, no. But still we tune in, hoping that Joey Bart becomes a top-shelf catcher. Faithfully following the progress of Marco Luciano and his balky back. Pretending that Heliot Ramos is going to break through.
It’s part of it, though. The miracle of Hunter Pence was only exhilarating because of the frustration of watching Edgar Renteria. If it weren’t for the downs, the ups wouldn’t be so joyous.
Which brings us to the Warriors …
The simplest formulation is the most brutal: It’s over.
Was it fun? Oh, yes.
It was so much fun to see a scrappy team domimate without the prototypical hulking human being who has to duck to get inside a room anchoring the victories. Steph Curry is actually as much a genetic freak as Giannis Antentokounmpo, and in his way, just as arrogant as Russell Westbrook, but you can’t help but love him.
And you couldn’t help but love the Dubs – well, except for Draymond Green, who many love to hate, and even Warriors’ fans can grow tired of. But he was part of the story, part of the fun.
The trophies, the parades, the celebrations. We couldn’t have asked for more, really, and we savored every second.
But now the bill is due, and Joe Lacob can’t even afford to pay it. We can say “Oh, we’ll trade Jordan Poole for some inside help for Kevon Looney.” Or “Klay just had a bad couple weeks.” Or “Steph has three more good years.”
We have to say those things, of course. We’re fans, after all, and everyone knows you never know – well, except for the fact that we know dynasties fall. We know the wheel always turns. We know that what goes up must, sadly, come down.
“Back in school she could turn all the boys’ heads ...
Her and husband Bobby well they split up
I guess it’s two years gone by now …”
But even though the Warriors, and the Giants, are unlikely to play for any titles in the near future, does it really matter? Isn’t the essence of fandom to rise above the harsh and remorseless cage of reality?
Hey, the Giants will still beat the Dodgers now and again. There will be rookies who rise, and wins to celebrate.
The Dubs will shock a contender, Chase Center will be rocking, and for a while, the glory days will come back to us. Dynasties crumble, yes they do, but the bittersweet pleasures of fandom are always there for us, just on the other side of the bridge between verse and chorus, between titles and mediocrity.
“Glory days, well, they’ll pass you by …”
I will watch the Giants this summer, and mumble and groan and complain, and wish for better days. But there’s a perverse pleasure in the struggle, even if the struggle is doomed to defeat. And when the Warriors return to the court, I’ll be watching then too – dynasties may crumble, but the road goes on forever and the party never ends.
“Glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye …”
She was so pretty, so sweet, so everything we’d dreamed of …
“Glory days …”
And now she cheers for L.A.