I'm the kind of person who, when momentous things happen, or anniversaries pass, or what have you, likes to look back on where I was at a similar point in the past- or not so similar, as the case may be. And so, in this spirit, and because I am trying to stay awake while I wait for my laundry to be done (ahead of a 6:30am call time tomorrow), I will now reflect upon the last time the Giants got to the NLCS and beyond.
It was the fall of 2002.
I was a sophomore living in CRC, just getting started with my "film career," which at that point looked at lot more promising than it does now, after having pursued it for 8 years. I was working on The Caseys, a Studio 22 Bindley grant film that I thought was just about the coolest thing in the world; I was gripping for the first time, overseen by JP Belliard and Mike Sippel. I had just met Kevin Cannon, when we were seated across a table from each other as background in a diner scene, and we were becoming friends. George W. Bush was president, and at the time I was absolutely certain that he wouldn't be reelected. I lived with Martha on the second floor of the dorm, which meant I came home from set a lot to Martha and Nate making out in our room. Sarah was down the hall writing something about insane people, which spawned one of my favorite lines of dialogue, "the proof is in the insanity pudding." felt distinctly unloved by a lot of the people who were supposedly my friends, to the point where I was thinking about transferring away from Northwestern. Not all that different from now, actually.
I had a crush on Matt Olson, who had no idea, but we were friends enough that he sat in the TV lounge in the dorm and watched the World Series with me- because oh yes, the Giants got to the World Series. They had beaten the Braves to get there, just like this year, and then the Cardinals. They and the Angels were both wild card teams, which was unique. This was one of the Giants glory teams- Barry Bonds, JT Snow, Jeff Kent, and one of my favorites, Benito Santiago. The days of Dusty Baker, who at the time felt to me like a San Francisco institution. This was before the Bonds steroids issues exploded, before any asteriks or careers ended in shame. It was the first World Series to be played at Pac Bell, which had only opened a couple years before. It was a Big Deal. The Giants had bats galore, and they had a decent pitching staff, including Robb Nen, whom I think about to this day when the 9th ("Nenth") inning rolls around and Brian Wilson comes in as the Giants' closer. Nen was a hell of a closer.
I want them to win this NLCS series so much it hurts. I want them to get to the World Series. This is the scruffiest, scrappiest group of weirdos I've ever seen on a baseball team, and I feel like that deserves some recognition. Lincecum, Posey, Schierholtz, Wilson, Uribe, Vellez, Sanchez and Sanchez- I fall a little more in love with each of them every day, with their lanky postures and wide-eyed excitement and strange facial hair. They make baseball fun, and not just because they win- because it's like the Peanuts gang playing little league. Part of me wouldn't be surprised if Snoopy were stationed in left field.
I was apparently the only person who really cared about the Series that year in the dorm, because the TV lounge was pretty deserted besides me and Matt- I'm sure Marc came down for some of it, and there must have been others, but I don't remember who. When it was over... when the stupid Angels had won... I was basically all alone there, sad, telling myself it was only baseball, but it felt like a lot more. Watching felt like being close to home.
I guess the main feeling that ties 2002 to this year, for me, is that intense desire to be back in San Francisco, with all the other Giants fans, cheering on my team. Sitting in the basement of the dorm was a bit better than sitting alone in my room watching on my computer- and WAY better than sitting in the sun in Santa Clarita, checking scores on my cell phone- but my basic reaction to seeing my city on TV, in all its glory with this crazy cast of characters, is the same: I should be there. I just... should.
Sorry for all the rambling.