NEW YORK — One part of covering baseball for a living is renouncing your fan loyalties. That’s just part of the deal, and I think over the years, I’ve done a pretty good job of it. In fact, I thought that part of me was dead.
But for a moment last night, as the Giants rushed the field in celebration of their first ever World Series championship in San Francisco, I felt a tinge of that fan loyalty come back when I shook my head, muttered an expletive, then put out the following Facebook update:
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, who now only trail the Oakland A’s 4-1 in the Bay Area World Series championship count.
I just couldn’t help myself.
You see, I grew up rooting for the A’s, and part of that experience is feeling resentment for the Giants. It seemed that no matter what the A’s did, the Giants got more coverage, more attention, more love from the fans of the Bay Area. Even as a kid, I could sense this disparity, and it made me sick.
After all, the A’s had won four world championships since coming to the Bay Area and the Giants had won none. The A’s played in a pretty ballpark (pre-Mount Davis) and the Giants played in a dump as Candlestick Park was a windswept concrete ashtray covered by seagull crap. The A’s once had one of the game’s great dynasties in the 1970s and the Giants for all their Hall of Fame players and tradition had never won jack.
Then 1989 came and the A’s won the Battle of the Bay in a sweep. Most people remember the earthquake, which ultimately took away from the A’s winning it all. I remember Dave Stewart dominating, Mike Moore doubling over Brett Butler’s head and light-hitting shortstop Walt Weiss taking Scott Garrelts deep — the other way.
Yet, despite the A’s clearly being the better of the Bay Area teams in the late 80s, it was always easy to catch a Giants game on TV or on the radio. Meanwhile, it seemed like the A’s change radio affiliates every season. For awhile there, the only way to catch an A’s game was if you had cable, because the TV affiliate was based in San Jose.
So you can see how this could be frustrating for that oddball kid who was an A’s fan.
Of course, I carried this resent with me as I followed the team through the years. In typical Bay Area fashion, it was common to see those old split A’s/Giants caps, a testament to how most baseball fans in Northern California can root for both teams. (By the way, that sort of thing would never fly in New York, where no self-respecting Yankees fan would ever put anything Mets related on, and vice versa).
I wore my split cap to games too — with a white X taped over the Giants logo.
Once, I had a friend from out of town insist on taking him for a stadium tour of Pac Bell Park. At the end of the tour, I raised my hand and asked the guide to show us which room housed their World Series trophies. The guide wasn’t amused. But I was.
But alas, the Giants have put an end to that nonsense, which is why I’m writing this post. My Facebook update — and accompanying Tweet — triggered the following responses from my old friends back home.*
Kris Mukherji writes: “Pathetic Carig – Pathetic.”
Marcus Walton writes: “LOL! Just because the A’s haven’t been relevant since 1989 doesn’t mean you have to hate. ;-)”
Corey Pride writes: “Marc nobody likes a hater.”
Alas, Corey, you are right. Nobody likes a hater. So this is it. The above video represents the last bit of Haterade I will douse on your parade.
I will admit: The one thing that could always be said about Giants fans is that they have been loyal. Through all the heartbreak, through the near disaster of the team nearly leaving for St. Pete in 1992, through all those frigid nights Candlestick Park, Giants fans kept caring.
As I write this roughly seven blocks from where the Polo Grounds once stood — which until last night it was the last place to host a championship Giants team — it’s clear that the fans deserve this.
Though I gave up on rooting for a team a long time ago, I am still a fan of the game. As such, it is great to see the Giants and their fans win a World Series.
So here it is, this time without the snark: Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, World Series champions.
— 30 —
* At least I’m not my kid brother, who bet one of his Giants fan friends that the Rangers would win it all. Now, he’s got to wear a panda hat, snap a photo of it and put it on his Facebook, with a caption declaring that the Giants are the Bay Area’s best team. Ouch.