As a long-suffering fan and San Francisco native, I tried to replicate the team’s joy when the Giants won it all. I jumped on the person next to me (fortunately, my wife) and then poured champagne (a bottle from BevMo’s .05 sale) on my head. Wet? No worries. I had that thick orange towel they handed out at World Series Game 1 to soak it all up.
What a season. What a championship. 56 years it took? That’s just about my entire life.
So I’m still in a Giants semi-stupor, though it’s wearing off fast as I turn on the news and get a taste of reality.
Mid-terms, the stuff that counts, the direction of this country. It’s all bad.
It’s the reason we need the Giants.
I voted last week so I didn’t have to think about real life too much today. I didn’t want a mid-term implosion to get in the way of my Giants’ euphoria.
I know I can’t stay in my Orange haze for too long, but the Giants’ story is just what this country needs. It’s a story of optimism, hope and belief. It’s a story of what happens when we all hope for the same thing and pull together. In many ways, it’s a perfect fairy tale for a country struggling to stay afloat, socially, economically.
The Giants’ weren’t exactly royalty at the beginning of the year. They had some great young arms, but no supporting staff. No pop, no power. This team wasn’t suppose to play in October, nevermind November.
But there they were, a team put together with a recession budget. GM Brian Sabean was like a guy at the pick and pull, looking for parts to build a champion racer. He had a list and a credit card limit. He had already overpaid badly for Zito and Rowand in previous years. And even Renteria got too much. So the Giants didn’t have the dough to build a Yankee-like coupe. Instead, they put together a team that could race to the last day of the regular season and to Game 5 of the Series. Castoffs? They were all grinders. Every piece was necessary and had a moment to shine at some point in the season.
But no real stars. Why that’s no good for baseball, as one commentator suggested.
The Giants and baseball may have a hard time competing with the violence of football. But they are reflective of a recession-age champion. It’s excellence built-on a budget. A team of hope. A team that the chardonnay sippers could love, along side the blue-collar bleacher bums. I sat with both during the playoffs.
First off, there is no team that has as diverse a fan base as the Giants. You look at the crowd and it’s not all of one type. That’s how you know it’s San Francisco. I sat next to a young Latino teamster from the Mission, a Caucasian female business owner from Potrero Hill married to an Asian, a white professional couple from the Peninsula. A Korean immigrant and his born-here son from the East Bay. What kind of entertainment/team attracts that kind of mixed demos?
And after every victory, I must have hi-fived several hundred strangers after every home-run, run scored, or ultimate victory. No Purelle necessary. We were Giants family.
That kind of teamwork on the field, a sense of unity, is what was special about this team and their ballpark. Over 43,000 a night coming together over a victorious championship run is not as trivial as it seems on first blush.
I admit I felt the same way in the AT&T stands as I did when I stood in 15 degree temperatures two years ago in the Washington Mall for the Obama Inaugural. There was a real sense of unity and hopefulness that I hadn’t seen or felt in a long time. There was no divisiveness, just talk of working together, of a brand new kind of politics. There were cheers, parades, speeches.
It wasn’t a game nor entertainment. It was for real. Where did it go?
That’s why I want to hold on to my Giants’ feeling as long as I can. Because after today, I know the real world is not going to feel so great.