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Dark Materials

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With the news of Juan Pierre dwindling down and not much else to talk about I'd thought I'd resurrect an old story I wrote when I was bored to tears before I changed jobs.  This was originally written in late Sept, 2007 two months into my TBLA career after I had finished reading a fascinating trilogy called Dark Materials.

With the Giants coming into town and Barry Bonds finishing up his career as a Giant, combined with the boredom of my day job, my imagination took off today and you readers will pay the price.

In the fall of 1953 Leo Durocher's managerial career was going nowhere. His team had finished 8th in a ten team league, and he was feeling the heat. He had the best player in baseball coming back from the Korean War and he knew he needed to deliver the goods.

On a blustery fall night he entered McSorley's to have a drink alone when a beautiful dame sat next to him. Her name was Alyssa and her eyes were coal black where no color could penetrate. She was easy to talk to and seemed to know more about baseball then any dame he'd ever met. As they drank he became more open about his hopes and fears for the future. The night was winding down when she pulled him close and whispered into his ear that she could help him in his endeavors to get back on top, but the price would be steep.

He was very drunk by this time and wasn't sure what she meant. To erase any doubt she said it again. She stated she had seen the future and without her intervention, Willie Mays would never play for the Giants again. At 1st Leo gave an unsettled laugh, but after staring into those eyes he knew this was no laughing matter. Without Willie, the Giants would be nothing, he started to panic but she calmed him down with a touch of her hot hand. She wasn't a devil but a baseball daemon, and she showed him her power. All activity in the bar had ceased, except for theirs. He was a desperate man, who couldn't bear the thought of not having Willie for next season. With a deep sigh he grudgingly agreed to her price.

The next morning he remembered the previous evening, but he had been so drunk he felt he must have imagined the crazy parts of it. As time passed he prepared for the next season and his memory of the evening faded until he hardly thought of it at all. It came to pass that Willie Mays came back unscathed from the Korean War and joined the Giants in 1954 and led them to the World Championship with the greatest season any Giant had ever had upto that point in history. It was his 1st World Championship and as the celebration continued into the winter he felt it would only be the 1st of many.

Then on the one-year anniversary that Leo had met Alyssa she came to his home when he was alone, and demanded the price he agreed to one year ago. He was horrified that it hadn't been a dream and refuted the idea that she was instrumental in Willie playing for the Giants and so he refused to pay the price that he had agreed to. The black eyes flashed with fire and she denounced him and told from this time forward no Giant team would ever win another world championship and that all her favors would instead focus on their hated rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers. He scoffed as she drew herself up and whirled away from his house.

Leo should have known better. A broken promise to any woman will cause a rift; a broken promise to a female baseball daemon split asunder the baseball world for the next ½ century.

In 1955 she quickly showed Leo the depth of her power and broke the spell that had bewitched the Boys of Summer so they were able to win their 1st World Championship.

That was only the beginning. Her wrath has not waned, since the day that Leo refused to acknowledge the deal; she has teased the Giants forever and a day.

She set it up so that they would follow the Dodgers to California but they would end up in an unforgiving bay where it is cold and damp, while the Dodgers played in sunny Southern California with the beautiful people.

She saw to it that the Giants would have bountiful talent, but always play second fiddle. She found out that she loved to tease and so no one has been teased more then the Giants.

The Dodgers got Dodger Stadium, which was the best place to watch baseball while the Giants got Candlestick Park, the worse place to watch baseball.

When Willie McCovey hit the ball as hard as any man has ever hit a baseball, all it did was drill a hole in Bobby Richardson's glove.

Juan Marichal was the greatest pitcher in baseball during his time, except for a guy name Sandy Koufax so he was often an after thought season after season.

Willie Mays was the greatest player in baseball, but since 1954 all he could do was lead his team to almost victory. As great as he was, it is hard to defeat a baseball daemon.

Bobby Bonds was so talented they thought they had another Willie Mays, and he teased the Giant fans with his talent until it turned out he was only made of moissanite and the diamond talent that glittered was only a mirage.

She gave their hated rivals moment after moment. Six World Championships starting with that 1st one in 1955. Eleven times have they appeared in the World Series. Sometimes even a daemon has limits. In 1988 she overindulged her favorites, which left her weak for several years. The only thing she could do for a while was to send them a gift from the heavens, packaged as a HOF catcher, when they spurned her gift, and sent it away her anger was great, and she turned her back on them. They are now paying the same price as the Giants did for all those years.

Once she got her strength back she came up with the greatest tease ever to be perpetrated upon a franchise. She brought the best player in baseball home to where his Dad had starred. However no matter what Barry did he couldn't get the Giants into a World Series.  He became inflamed with jealousy over the fawning of McGwire and Sosa, and went outside his god given talents, which took his game to levels never seen on a baseball diamond. Finally the big head Bonds takes his team to the 2002 World Series. In 1962 they came as close as you can come, but they fell short. They would again be second best in 2002 and again they came oh so close. This time they were done in by a Rally Monkey. You see she made sure that Dusty Bakers managerial ineptitude would offset Barry Bonds greatness. Dusty Baker in all his swagger went out to the mound to replace his pitcher and then tell the dugout to save the ball. This time she really had them. Not one Giant fan thought this wasn't going to be the moment. And then Scott Spiezio hit the second greatest home run in California history, and broke the back of the spineless Giants. Year after year Barry Bonds would be the best player in baseball just as Willie Mays had been in his time. And year after year someone else would end up World Champions. It became hell to be a Giant fan.

She is not done, not this vengeful god. 2007 will see the end of Barry Bonds as a Giant, and while he gave Giant fans plenty to cheer about, he wasn't' able to deliver the final payment. Neither were Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, The Alou Brothers, and countless other great Giants.

Oh and the man who started it all. Just look up the 1969 pennant race and you'll see that she never forgave him. If you think this is a bunch of hooey, then you tell me why the Giants couldn't win a world championship with some of the greatest players to ever play the game on their team over the last 55 years?