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6.02.2006

The Swoon in June Falls Moonly on the Prune 

When I was growing up...gosh, that phrase conjures up so many images. Walking to school backwards in the snow. Eating 5-cent hot dogs made mostly of sawdust and snout hairs. Necking in Model-A Fords. Carhops. Saber toothed tigers. The Fourth Amendment.

But none of these memories are so vivid, so painful, so delineated in the backlit mise-en-scène of my mind's eye as the June Swoon.

Every year, the Giants would show promise, and every year the dreadful Swoon would blow in from the Farallones, reeking of seal shit, and envelop the Giants in a miasma that inevitably included Candlestick bleacher thuggery and reefer* smoke.

My dad would warn me about the swoon, lest I got too giddy over the hot start of Derrel Thomas, Randy Moffitt or Gary Thomasson. Call it luck, coincidence, whatever, but the old man was right. Or so it seemed to a tot whose first taste of Giants' fever included two seven-game losing streaks in June (1975-1976).

In my formative years, the Giants were not very good in June, but I didn't quite grok that they weren't very good in any other month, either. My dad wasn't disposed to teaching me the finer points of critical thinking back then. Better to chalk up yet another 74-88 season to that damn swoon.

By the time I was 8, I was convinced the Giants would win the World Series if they somehow could skip June altogether, just as I understood on a primal level the need to keep my finger skyward when going through a tunnel, something I still do to this day. Thanks, Dad.

Or keeping my fingers crossed while driving past Cisco Grove, where as family legend has it, my mom accidentally ran over my dad's foot when he was outside putting chains on the car. This would have been a year or two before the divorce. When asked about the incident years later, my mom replied, "Gee, I don't remember that at all. It must have hurt."

I no longer fear Cisco Grove, and I no longer fear the June Swoon. Silly childhood superstitions are packed away in my closet with the bogeyman and the Bubble Yum spiders.

Longest days of the year? Bring 'em on, I say! Make way for the Re-June-venation! Matt Cain, clear a space on your mantle for that fine-looking Pitcher of the Month trophy. Moises Alou, consider yourself activated and dangerous. Barry Bonds? Fountain of youth, baby, if you know what I mean.

And please remember, the rally caps don't work unless they're inside-out and backwards.

*Current slang to describe hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes.

UPDATE: I realize I haven't written anything about Barry hitting #715. Why bother when Hammer says it all:

Now that we've gotten that out of the way and have celebrated this historic achievement, we can now move on to the business at hand. The business at hand is a country that still wrestles with old demons that haunt and destroy the progress that we have made here in the land of the free, as a country and as a people.

I for one look forward to a swift resolution of the Iran nuclear program negotiations and the immigration bill impasse. You no doubt have your own priorities: reining in child pornography, perhaps, or corruption and influence-peddling in Congress, or the soaring national deficit.

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