Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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The conundrum of my final look at the baseball season: As a Colorado Rockies fan, is it sacrilegious to root for the San Francisco Giants in the World Series?
The Giants are the Rockies’ rivals just from playing in the same division. But the rivalry came to a whole new level in late September, when San Francisco accused Colorado of cheating. In baseball — save for the steroid era, when we all were injected with blind eyes because of 550-foot home runs — cheating is far and away the worst thing you can do.
The Giants accused the Rockies of using juiced balls when Colorado was up to bat, and non-juiced balls when they were on the mound.
It’s no secret Colorado uses a humidor that helps keep balls from becoming dried out in our thin air.
But San Francisco filed a complaint with Major League Baseball after that September game.
To add to it, Bay Area heartthrob Tim Lincecum was seen on video using an expletive and saying a ball he had was juiced, in a game he won, 2-1, by throwing a two-hitter.
But here’s where the conundrum comes in.
I’ve found myself rooting for the Giants in this World Series.
Cheering against your rival in sports is almost as fun as cheering for your team. It’s the old thing of, “If my team isn’t going to win, I hope, at least, they don’t.”
I hated the Giants after they accused the Rockies of cheating. I wanted to beat them bad. I wanted, the next day, for the Rockies to brush back or hit several of their hitters. I wanted Colorado to take a stand. I wanted to see the benches clear just to make a point.
But as the season progressed and the Rockies gave up down the stretch, the Giants continued to play well, all the way to the World Series.
Frankly, it’s become tougher to hate them right now.
They have a lineup of throwaway players no other team wanted. The atmosphere in the first two games in San Francisco was electric. It seemed less corporate than when the World Series winds up in New York or Philadelphia. It seemed like one huge party.
Plus, San Francisco fans have been through it. You never think of them as a city that’s been tortured like Chicago, Boston, Buffalo or Cleveland.
But since the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, the team never has won a World Series.
At one point, the team almost moved to Toronto. In 1989, the Giants made the Series but went through the “earthquake game” — the quake hit before Game 3 — on their way to getting swept by the Oakland A’s. The team almost moved to Tampa Bay after that ’89 Series. The Giants then blew a five-run lead in the seventh inning of Game 6 in the 2002 World Series, which the Anaheim Angels won in seven games.
That’s tough on a fan base and a city. I’ve always found myself rooting for towns as much as teams.
So as painful as it is, San Francisco, you’ve got my vote.
But to quote Tanner Boyle from “The Bad News Bears,” (edited for the children, of course) “Hey (Giants). You can take your apology and your trophy and shove ’em.”
— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org