Having a nervous breakdown? I just had one
At 4:54 p.m., I bought my carrot sticks from the City Market.
I eat carrot sticks or fruit salad for lunch because my father died of a heart attack at the age of 64 in 2006.
I’m pretty sure Pop is OK with the fact that he is in the great scotch and cigar lounge in the sky tonight. Despite growing up as the son of immigrants in New York City during the 1950s, the golden age of baseball, he hated the game. Naturally, he married Elsa Doskow, aka Mom.
All with Doskow blood are crazy baseball fans, including me. Mom and I drove him nuts with Giants baseball. Pop thought every game went extra innings and that every playoff series went to seven games simply to spite him.
So welcome to Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, Pop.
Mom — I’ve never taken her to brunch on Mother’s Day; I take her to a Giants game — and I are convinced we are doomed. Yes, the Giants won in 2010 and 2012, but those moments of indescribable glory are the exception rather than the rule.
The Giants exist to break our hearts.
The Giants snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Even when they don’t do anything, such as the 1989 World Series — the A’s swept us, 4-0 — there’s an earthquake. (Pop always said, “Baseball kills,” — for no particular reason — because he hated it. In 1989, by the law of averages, he was right.)
More particularly, when the Giants lead a series 3-2 and head back on the road, we’re screwed. In the 1987 NLCS, up 3-2 we went to St. Louis and didn’t score a run. In 2002, we led the Series, 3-2, and Game 6, 5-0, against the Angels. We lost.
I approach Game 7 with the simple thought, “Our loss is foreordained.”
• 5:59 p.m.: In a positive sign, all three Fox pregame guys pick the Royals to win Game 7. Of course, the same guys all picked the Royals on Tuesday night before Game 6, a squeaker of a 10-0 loss.
• 6:01 p.m.: Joe Buck does the intro. Giants and Royals fans agree on one thing. Everyone hates Joe Buck.
• 6:32 p.m.: In the second, Giants load the bases, ignited by Pablo Sandoval being hit by a pitch. In fairness to Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, Pablo is as big as a planet and his gravitational pull likely caused the HBP. Giants DH — I hate the designated hitter — Michael Morse and shortstop Brandon Crawford actually engage in situational hitting — a rarity for the Giants — getting sacrifice flies to give the Giants a 2-0 lead.
I should be happy. The Rangers (2011), the Cardinals (1987), the Red Sox (1986), all road teams in Game 7, all scored first and loss. We will find a way to blow this.
• 6:52 p.m.: See, I’m not being cynical. I’m not joking about this. The Royals score two in the bottom of the second to tie it.•
• 7:04 p.m.: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie has gone further (three innings) than Giants starter Tim Hudson (one and two-thirds). Hudson has 214 career wins. Guthrie has a career record of 83-100. He’s Jeremy freaking Guthrie. He was traded by the Rockies, for crying out loud, for former Giants legend and pitching prospect/washout Jonathan Sanchez.
• 7:17 p.m.: Beautiful double play by the Giants’ Joe Panik, Crawford and Brandon Belt. Why did the Royals’ Eric Hosmer slide? Pop always yelled “Slide” when a runner was going into first. Of course, he didn’t know anything about baseball, but that’s not important right now. (In fairness, Pop was excruciatingly smart. Baseball? Not so much.)
• 7:23 p.m.: I liked Rob Lowe in “The West Wing.” I really can do without his multiple personalities during DirecTV ads.
• 7:25 p.m.: Sandoval gets an infield hit. That just should be noted. Sandoval is officially listed at 245 pounds. Yeah, right.
• 7:29 p.m.: Belt flies out. Sandoval actually tags from second and takes third. Richter scales back in San Francisco register the movement.
• 7:34 p.m.: Mike Morse singles to right, scoring Sandoval. I have been yelling at that big galoot (Morse, for clarification) to go opposite field all year, and he waits until Game 7 to do this? We lead, 3-2, in the middle of the fourth, but the Giants are just toying with me.
• 7:51 p.m.: Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt pitches a brilliant two and two-thirds innings. Madison Bumgarner is up in the bullpen. This should be good, but they are just tempting me into being excited about our chances. (OK, I’ve bitten the hook already.)
• 7:57 p.m.: The reason I worry about MadBum is not his performance so far in the postseason. Nothing about which to complain there. It’s the fact that he’s left handed and pitching in Game 7. The two most hateful words to a Giants fan are — Los Angeles Dodgers are three words — Atlee Hammaker.
There’s usually another word between his first and last name. He started Game 7 of the 1987 NLCS and gave up a three-run homer to Jose Oquendo. I know Red Sox fans have their thing with Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone. The thing is that Oquendo had fewer home runs in 1987 than Dent did in 1978.
• 8:05 p.m.: Bumgarner already has a runner in scoring position, but Giants outfielder Juan Perez makes an outstanding catch in left for the second out of the bottom of the fifth. Perez for Travis Ishikawa in left field in Game 7 is a small move but a big one defensively. Thou shalt not doubt Giants manager Bruce Bochy. It’s the 11th Commandment.
• 8:16 p.m.: The Giants are 0-4 all-time in deciding Game 7s of the World Series (1912, Red Sox; 1924, Senators; 1962, Yankees; 2002, Angels.) Deciding Game 7s may seem redundant, but there were World Series that were best-of-9.
• 8:30 p.m.: MadBum has thrown two shutout innings. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I just keep thinking to how we will lose this game in excruciating fashion. I’m not talking like a Bill Mazeroski or Joe Carter walk-off. I’m thinking walk-off balk. (Readers might finally be learning what my co-workers already know — I am deeply disturbed.)
• 8:39 p.m.: Fox shows the trophy on TV in the bottom of the seventh. I avert my eyes.
• 8:43 p.m.: Copy editor Ross Leonhart is probably pondering the merits of gun ownership. He somehow is putting out a paper and our weekly while I am watching and bellowing at the game. The Giants lead, 3-2, after seven.
• 8:51 p.m.: First off, we are officially in Giants Baseball: Torture mode. Our broadcaster Duane Kuiper dropped the phrase midway through 2010 and it stuck. We aren’t scoring any more runs tonight. I think I’m having a heart attack.
• 9:02 p.m.: MadBum has thrown four shutout innings, and the Giants lead, 3-2, after eight. John Hickenlooper? Bob Beauprez? I’m voting Bumgarner for governor of Colorado. I’m thinking MadBum should pitch the ninth,
• 9:10 p.m.: And we go to the bottom of the ninth. I have already hyperventilated.
• 9:11 p.m.: Mom calls. She says, “The Giants are trying to kill us.” I agree. Always listen to your mother.
• 9:14 p.m.: Bochy agrees with me. It’s nice when the manager of the Giants does what I say.
• 9:18 p.m.: Alex Gordon hits a simple base hit with two outs and the Giants defense nearly make it an inside-the-park home run. Gordon’s on third, and I’m putting a hit out on Gregor Blanco. (I wasn’t joking about the Giants’ ability to blow a ball game. This explains a lot of my neuroses.)
• 9:21 p.m.: Salvador Perez pops up. The ball lands in Sandoval’s mitt. Glory, glory, hallelujah. The rest I really can’t say in a family newspaper. The Freuds have won the Series again. Yeah, you too, Pop. Have fun up there.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.