It’s been two decades since the San Francisco Bay Area has celebrated a baseball title. So with the Giants one game away from winning their first championship since the club moved here from New York, it’s only natural that I get excited, right?
I’ve sat on the edge of my seat — literally and figuratively — as the Giants have dismantled teams over the last month. I’ve been there the entire year listening to local sports talk radio as fans have discussed what to do with Pablo Sandoval, when to call up Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, and debate whether Bruce Bochy would ever get the team to the World Series, let alone the playoffs.
But here’s the catch: I’m a Red Sox fan.
I was in the ball park this summer when Boston came to China Basin to play the Giants, and I was among those cheering in the end when the Red Sox came out victorious.
But here we are on Nov. 1 and I am cheering on the Giants as if they are MY team. Does that make me a bandwagoner?
For years I have been one to chastise so-called bandwagoners — people who change allegiances simply for the fact that they love to follow a winning team. Like in 1995 when out of nowhere a bunch of Carolina Panthers fans sprouted up amid the Kerry Collins hoopla, or in 2008 when suddenly everyone was a Tampa Bay Rays fan. Hell, I consider just about any Miami Heat fan — who is not from Miami — a bandwagoner.
But here’s where I differ from a bandwagon fan: I know who I am — a Red Sox fan. Don’t mistake my cheering for the Giants as being bandwagon activity. I have not gone out and bought up a ton of Giants gear and worn it proudly as if I have been a fan since the days of Juan Marichal. I cheer for this team because they are local, and because they make me feel like a 9 year old kid again.
In 1989, the Giants and A’s played a historical World Series, one that had a vast portion of the Bay Area talking baseball. People were hanging on every out of every playoff game, clamoring over the thought that the hometown A’s could face the hometown Giants for the championship. To say the region was stricken with Baseball Fever would be an understatement. As a 9 year old kid that was exciting to witness and experience
Now some 21 years later, I’m getting that same vibe. And as a baseball fan, I am loving this. I love listening complete strangers debate the efficiency of the Giants bullpen, seeing casual fans get caught up in the gimmicks such as the “Panda” and “Fear The Beard,” and hearing stories about lifelong San Francisco Giants fans finally getting their wish.
And I am also loving that in some way the Giants front office is being vindicated for the way they’ve built their team. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain may not have been household names across the country before this year, but locally, we all knew who they were. And for years we’ve heard that if the Giants can just get to the playoffs, they can make some noise.
So to the true Giants fans, I salute you. I applaud you for staying with your team through thick and thin. Living with all the crap that the front office has been selling you for years: Barry Zito’s contract, trading a pitching prospect for a wounded second baseman (in hind sight this worked out great), signing aging veterans on the downside of their career, and seemingly missing the boat on big-name free agents who said they didn’t want to play in a pitcher’s park.
This title, should the Giants close out the 2010 World Series, is well deserved and a long time coming for most of you. I’m just glad that I’m able to witness this.