With 13 games left to play, the Giants find themselves 7.5 games out of the NL West, and 9 games out of the 2nd Wild Card spot. Yes, the Giants will be missing the playoffs in 2015, and that’s okay. They continue to be a part of the best list in all of baseball:
Teams that have gone 10+ years without losing a playoff series
- Blue Jays (24 years, 0 championships)
- Mariners (14 years, 0 championships)
- Giants (13 years, 3 championships)
- Marlins (literally never, 2 championships)
- Astros (10 years, 0 championships)
The Padres join this illustrious group next season, those lucky dogs. I like to refer to it as the No Heartbreak Club, and the Giants are currently kings of the club. The Blue Jays’ and Astros’ spots on the list will be at stake this year, and the Mariners/Marlins haven’t really come close to the playoffs since their last postseason appearances. The last time the Giants were eliminated in the playoffs, well…
This feels so long ago! Watching it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it used to. Yes, life is much better in the Three-Ring Era, but we’ve been spared the seasons of anguish and agony as well. Sure, 2004 was a bit sickening, 2009 was a bit of a tease, and 2011 will always have a bit of what-if to it, but outside of that, the 13 seasons since the last postseason elimination have evaded the feeling of bitterness over the end result.
Compare that same 13 year span to, say, the Cardinals. St. Louis have made the playoffs eight times, made the NLCS seven times, the World Series four times, and have won it all only twice. Losing in the World Series twice?! In the NLCS three times? Sounds awful. I can’t even imagine going through that once.
Cardinals fans went through that feeling twice in the same span, while losing in the round before three more times. Are two rings really worth all that stress and disappointment?
So yeah, three rings in three playoff appearances is the way to do it. World Series champs or in the shitter, nothing else. Pick up a Cy Young or Rookie of the Year every now and then and the fanbase is content. Losing in the playoffs sounds like the worst thing ever, and I’d very much like to avoid that feeling for the rest of my life, thank you very much.
Which is why I’m glad the 2015 Giants won’t be making the playoffs. Fans will blame it on the odd year, blame it on not acquiring a big name at the trade deadline, blame it on the injuries, or blame it on the pitching, but this year’s Giants never had any glaring flaw. It was one of those sports seasons that can only really exist in baseball, where things never went well when they were supposed to. When the lineup was healthy, the starting pitching (non-Bumgarner edition) faltered. When the pitching came around, the injuries started piling up. The Dodgers started plummeting in August, and the Giants started plummeting right alongside them. The Dodgers turned it around in September, and the Giants couldn’t follow suit.
In truth, this article would be entirely different had the Giants/Dodgers series at the beginning of September gone differently. Even losing two out of three, as opposed to being swept, would’ve made a massive difference. The Giants would’ve been only 4.5 games out at the end of that series, as opposed to 6.5 games out. The 4-game series at the end of September would’ve loomed much larger.
So, you can focus on the problems of the big picture of the season, or the problems of the little picture of the season. Or, you can focus on the really big picture, specifically this really big picture:
All season long, I’ve been imaging what the early-2010 versions of ourselves would think of us if we were complaining about not making the playoffs in 2015. So many have already forgotten how special that 2010 championship was, what it meant to the city, to the organization, and to the fans who waited so long to see the Commissioner’s Trophy say “San Francisco” across the front. Just one championship was seen as the crown jewel, three feels like some alien overlord gave us the most precious gift in the universe. We have no right to complain.
We do, however, have a right to desire more. To be a fan is to crave victory, and, luckily, the future looks brighter than ever before. So, I implore you to enjoy these final days of the 2015 San Francisco Giants. Reminisce while watching the final starts of Tim Hudson’s career, get a warm fuzzy feeling when Matt Duffy wins the Willie Mac Award, and spend the final hours of the season with your baseball family of Kruk, Kuip, Miller, and Flem. Before you know it, winter will be upon us, and baseball will be nothing more than a memory and a dream. These are the days of San Francisco Giants baseball that will make us smile in amazement years down the line. Make sure you enjoy them; that’s what baseball is here for.