Here’s what you get from a half crazy-eyed, half clear-thinking baseball fan who’s just seen one of his once-favorite players avoid a stint in the clink:
The default position of McCovey Chronicles is that you wouldn’t understand. You weren’t there when Bonds was doing amazing things. You weren’t there when the Giants played their first game of 1993 in San Francisco instead of Tampa, and they had the best player in baseball — a local kid with a family history that was completely intertwined with San Francisco Giants history. You weren’t there when he hit his 500th homer into the water against Terry Adams to beat the Dodgers. You weren’t there to see him hit any into the water after battling hypothermia and sludge mites at Candlestick, doing it at a new park that he was at least partially responsible for.
And when I use “you,” I mean heathen non-Giants fans. Those people. But Cardinals fans who still have an affinity for Mark McGwire can surely understand a little bit. Cubs fans who still remember Sammy Sosa fondly can understand. The repeated success of a player — with the player in question being wholly tied into the identity of your favorite team, which you’ve somehow tied into your own identity for some weird reason — toggles a bunch of switches in your brain. Those switches are hard to turn off. Some of them might be irreversible.
When I was in high school, one of my favorite players — along with a few of his teammates — was actually sent to prison for using drugs. I don’t recall cheering for him any less, upon his return.