I remember reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in Mr. Adamo's Senior English class in high school and one of the vocabulary words we had to know was "epiphany." Of course I was familiar with the proper noun being a Catholic school boy, but the word--by itself--was new to me. Ecclesiastically speaking it means "manifestation of a god." But Joyce used it to mean a "leap of understanding, an insight or revelation." I have epiphanies all the goddamn time. Not that they are especially deep or original, but nobody said they had to be. Call 'em what you want: "aha!" moments, brain farts, putting two and two together, etc. I get 'em regularly. I love words that are both sacred and profane, sublime and ridiculous, living in the ethereal plane as happily as the quotidian. Sort of like baseball. It's a kids' game, played on dirt and grass. Yet it is beautiful, and gives me something akin to spiritual satisfaction. It's simple--hit, run, throw, catch. But what makes a team great, or a player achieve, is a mystery. No one has any fucking idea why a guy who hits only three homers in 72 games turns around and hits two homers in six games in the World Series. Winning baseball, despite the best efforts of a lot a bright folks, is not all that amenable to analysis. Ain't that just grand? As the old man used to say, "opinions are like assholes, everybody has one." He sure knew a lot about being an asshole, but that's not the point. The point is, I love the internet. Everybody gets to have their own asshole. I mean opinion! Everyone gets to have their own opinion. Hell, they get to have their own goddamn blog. Look at me! I AM BLOGGER. I HAVE OPINION. Like I said, ain't it grand? Anyway, this is Raising Matt Cain, and we got some bloody serious opinions around here.
Spending The Twelve Days of Christmas opining about the 2012 Giants was a lot of fun. I had a lot of insights, er, epiphanies. Or was it just one? Epiphany, that is. The question I have is "is it still an epiphany if it just reinforces what you already thought?" I mean, I thought the 2012 Giants were going to be a good team. Then I did the posts, and I kept having these deep revelations like "yeah, dude, right on, they are gonna be fuckin' killer." I had one every day. It's not like I sat down at the keyboard thinking "this team sucks they shoulda done this and that" and then Bog And All His Holy Angels And Saints would manifest themselves with heavenly choruses and seraphim and cherubim and whatnot and change my mind. Nor did I leap out of bed "oh boy oh boy oh boy this team is gonna be so fuckin' good I gotta tell the whole world" and start pounding away like a coke fiend who found his misplaced bindle.
I'd say it was Gradualism as opposed to Catastrophism. I set myself to this task (Twelve for 2012) because I love the Giants and wanted to enjoy the interesting team the Brian Trust has assembled. I've had a good feeling about this club since the season was over, but had not really wrapped my mind around it. The more time I spent looking at this roster, the happier I've become. I really like this collection of ballplayers. I think it is a team suited not only to the park but to the times. I like the speed and versatility in the outfield. I like the emerging superstars in the infield. I like holding three aces. I like a deep 'pen. I like the strong core of homegrown talent (of the thirteen I profiled, all were Giants draft picks and/or farm products except the FNGs). I like the mix of VSC and youth. I like the competition at key spots. I like the question marks. I suppose my epiphany is that I like it all--even the flaws in the team. I've always managed to work myself up into the usual "we're gonna win it all" state at some point before Opening Day. I'm a fan, after all, which is shorthand for fanatic. (Or fantasy.) That means I'm a dreamer--I'm always imagining the game-winning hit in the Series and all of us jumping up and down and going crazy. This off-season, though, I find myself at peace. I'm not anxious. I'm not frustrated. I'm relaxed. I'm confident. I feel good. I think it is going to be a fun ride. I can't remember ever having this pax anima. Perhaps I'm just deluded and the team needed Carlos Beltran after all. But it's my delusion and I'm sticking with it!
Thanks for sticking with me and RMC, friend readers. Hope your Twenty-Twelve is all you want it to be.