Okay, we did it! The Giants beat the Dodgers while the Padres lost to the Cardinals. This is the first day the Giants have been in first place in September since 2003. Terribly sad fact. But, first place is only good if you're there after the regular season is over. So, let's Go Giants!
Since 2003, the Giants have obviously been the least effective team in the NL West. Every single other team in the division has at least one post-season appearance since the Giants last did. In those last six years, NL West teams have won three wild card positions. The Dodgers won the division in 2004, '08 & '09, the Padres in 2005, '06, the Diamondbacks in 2007. The Dodgers took the wild card in 2006, the Rockies and Padres tied for it in 2007 and the Rox won the playoff game, and the Rockies again in 2009. So, in total, the four other teams have combined for nine playoff positions in the last six years, including one tie, and an all-NL West NLCS in 2007. No Giants.
The Giants, on the other hand, had a total collapse in 2004 in the last weekend of the season, and in 2009 were the only team of 8 teams in baseball in a playoff position at the All-Star break that didn't hold on in the second half. Their 2005-08 seasons were abysmal.
I hope this leap into first place is the beginning of three consecutive World Championships and seven in the next fifteen years, to bring the winningest team in baseball history up to the law of averages.