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Erect Posture
As we enter the cusp of the playoffs for Major League Baseball, I would like to take a moment to assess our rooting posture. My concerns rest chiefly with the fortunes of the San Francisco Giants, but I am hoping there will be something useful here for anyone who has a team still in the hunt to become World Champions in 2021. That includes those who consider themselves to be fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The first canon of our fandom is pretty straightforward: don’t get ahead of yourself. Yes, even though this year the Giants have literally been ahead of every other team in baseball for most of the season. In fact, that history of success is all the more reason to ignore it. To pause — even for a moment — and reflect on those glories would all but guarantee disaster in the playoffs.

The only glory we will settle for is winning the World Series, and the only way we get there is by not thinking about getting there — or how we got here. Only the present matters.

It will be particularly hard to stay in the moment this year. Our championships of 2010, 2012, and 2014 all came with teams that were widely dismissed as real contenders, and rightly so. They were all wild card teams with not much to reflect on from the regular season. That made it easy to focus on the here and now.

It is possible that they could end up a wild card team again this year. Even though the Giants currently sit in first place in the National League West, the Dodgers are right behind and gaining. Or, worse yet, the Bums could tie us, forcing a one-game playoff to decide the West. The loser of that game would then face another one-game playoff against the other NL wild card team.

That would be a hellish scenario for either team, especially if you consider the long and emotionally charged rivalry between the two teams. None of those other Giants teams had to contend with the Dodgers in their postseasons, and that surely helped their chances.

This brings us to our second rooting canon: don’t be a hater. I understand that this may be difficult. Hating the Dodgers is seen by many as central to the Giants’ fan ethos. My research, however, has revealed that hating actually makes it harder to win. It’s much better, I have found, to think of your opponent as a lifeless thing, something you can crush and dismiss without a second thought. Like lint or a dead maggot. But no hating, please.

Lastly, the most important guidepost of all: keep your eye on the ball. While this rule is admittedly less important when you are sitting at home on your fat Barca-lounger, the focussed mindset it represents is fundamental to winning.

So see the ball, be the ball. And get me a beer.
Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon