I’ve existed as an away fan for 14 years now. Fortunately, the Nationals fans tolerate me much more than the Philly fans did when I saw the Giants win the Pennant in 2010. It isn’t that I’m an obnoxious fan, but there is something about wearing the orange and black these days that brings, well, disdain. Just ask Bryan Stow.
But, I’m often asked, “Why the Giants?” The question came more often when I tended to be the lone fan in San Francisco gear at whatever East-Coast game I attended to see my boys play. Ever since the World Series win in 2010, the Giants colors are in full force. I actually miss the days when you ran into a person wearing a ‘90s-era Will Clark jersey. You knew they were from The Bay and you knew they were a true fan. I even remember a conversation with a fellow fan in Camden Yards pre-World Series wins. We broke bread during a rain delay and found out our parents had served on City Council together. Again, a small San Francisco world back then.
So, back to my question: Why the Giants? Of course, growing up near Candlestick Park is a big reason. But it’s more than that. If I had to sum it up, I would say that the Giants are about family.
Baseball Means Bonding with My Family
You see, every year, for as long as I can remember, my dad either had the Giants playing on the radio, or on TV, or he took me to Candlestick Park. Essentially, the Giants were the soundtrack to my life. He never had a son, but I was the daughter that would oblige his sports habit (and, subsequently, his political persuasion and love for communication). Year after year, we watched them lose.
There were some successes. There was the National League Pennant in 1989. But they lost in four to the A’s. That series reminds me most of the Loma Prieta Earthquake and witnessing not only half of my downtown destroyed, but also some of my friends losing their homes. Needless to say, there were other things that needed our attention, and since my dad was mayor he put his focus where it should have been. There was also 2002, but I still won’t talk about game six.
Then 2010 happened. And 2012. And so much has changed since then. It’s actually a weird switch to go from following a team that loses to following a team that wins. Of course, it’s AMAZING. But there is something surreal about it. There is something strange about walking outside your home in DC and seeing someone wearing a SF hat, or going to an airport and seeing a Hunter Pence shirt. It isn’t that I don’t want that. It’s just that, to me, it’s more than a World Series win—or two. To me, it’s personal.
It’s personal because the Giants have not only bonded my dad and me (we talk and text most during baseball season), but also been passed along to my nephews. I flew my oldest nephew out to DC when the Giants came to town in 2010.They lost every game in that hot July DC heat, and I guess you could say we bonded in that misery (neither one of us would have guessed they would be World Series-bound after that series).
The Baseball Memories Keep Accruing
It’s personal because I still remember so many things. I remember the day that Barry Bonds was picked up by the Giants. My dad was driving me home from school, and I can still hear his “Yes!” in my head. I remember summer games at Candlestick bundled in parkas and draped in blankets, and I’ll always remember talking to my dad after the Giants won their first World Series since being in San Francisco. He proceeded to tell me about being an eight-year-old boy when the Giants moved from New York, and how he followed them every year since then. After all those years, they had finally brought a championship to San Francisco. I can still hear the emotion in his voice.
So here we are at another even year, and it remains to be seen who will win it all in 2014. But regardless of whether the Giants win or lose (and don’t get me wrong—I want the Giants to win!) I’m thankful for every Giant’s baseball season because of the memories my family has made.
This year alone, I’m thankful I was with my dad when Timmy threw a no-hitter, I’m thankful I was with my nephew Stephen when the Giants beat the Nationals in the division series, and I’m even thankful that my three-year-old nephew Jake was so distraught over last Friday’s loss that he cried and dropped his San Francisco hat on the ground. It means he’s a Giant’s fan in the making (no worries—he was in better spirits after the win on Saturday evening).
I’m most thankful because, through the good and bad, we’ve always been in it together. And that’s why the Giants are more than just baseball to me. The Giants are about family.