It was another of those should have, could have days for the Bay Area, the ones overloaded with bad memories and worse possibilities.
There was Manny Ramirez standing at the plate for the Dodgers, two outs in the eighth and you knew what was going to happen.
You knew the Giants’ great afternoon — Barry Zito’s wonderful performance — would be trashed about as quickly as you sigh “Kirk Gibson.” This wasn’t a World Series, but it was Dodger Stadium. And it was inevitable.
Then not long after, there were the Sharks, flailing at pucks, shooting, shooting and shooting again. Finally, in a manner of speaking, they shot themselves in the skates against the Avalanche.
Their own man, Dan Boyle, put it in his own net in overtime. On the radio, Dave Maley, who does analyzing for the glib Dan Rusanowsky, kept mumbling, “I don’t believe it ... the Sharks are the better team.”
As they may turn out to be. But they had lost a game, 1-0, they seemed certain to win.
The way a few hours earlier the Giants had lost a game they — well, playing down in L.A., no Bay Area team ever is destined to win, so let’s simply say they very well might have won.
Isn’t it always that way? Don’t we always hear the same refrain?
Cal could have beaten USC. The Niners could have had Aaron Rodgers. The A’s should have kept Dan Haren. JaMarcus Russell could have been effective. (Yes, Stanford did whip USC, but we can’t always be on the outside, can we? Can we?)
Essentially we are the bad news Bay. The NFL draft is Thursday, and somehow the Niners and Raiders will select the wrong guys.
The only thing we can feel good about is Ben Roethlisberger isn’t employed locally.
If it can go wrong, for us it will go wrong. There was Gibson limping off the bench in 1988 to pinch hit against the A’s. There was Ramirez hobbling off the bench in 2010 to pinch hit against the Giants. Same park, same result, if not with the same drama or meaning.
“I don’t believe what I just saw,” the late Jack Buck told his TV audience after Gibson homered off Dennis Eckersley. He might not have. Nor might Maley after the Sharks were stunned.
But we believed it. We believe anything and everything. We’ve seen it, suffered it.
“We play these kinds of games,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy insisted after the Ramirez shot, “and we’re going to be fine.”
How are we supposed to interpret that? Blow a 1-0 lead in the eighth, and the world is delightful? Tommy Lasorda get to you, Bruce?
Sergio Romo, the reliever who pitched to Ramirez (déjà vu time; like Eckersley to Gibson, it was a slider) said, “The great thing about baseball is you never know what’s going to happen.”
We know. We’ve learned the hard way. The Dodgers will beat the Giants. On a pinch-hit home run or merely a sacrifice fly.
Was it coincidence hours before the Ramirez blast, the Dodgers dropped ex-Giant Russ Ortiz, he of Game 6 infamy? That misery was against the Angels, managed by a former Dodger.
There’s no escape.