Tuesday, November 02, 2010


It took 56 years for the Giants to win a World Series. Before last night it was 1954, and they were the New York Giants. They moved to San Francisco in 1958 and over those 52 years no championships – before last night.

I wasn’t a Giants fan in 1954. Ooops, that sentence makes it sound neutral. I wasn’t neutral. I was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and as an article of faith we hated the Giants. When Bobby Thompson hit his ‘shot heard round the world’ that September and launched a home run in the 9th inning of a pennant playoff game to defeat my beloved Dodgers – it was a dagger in the heart.

In the 50’s I was on the east coast in college and later in New York as army Private Miller. So I saw these New York teams close at hand. There were no major league franchises west of St. Louis in those days. Those of us in the west who cared about baseball had to choose long distance favorites.

When I was in New York I often went to Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field where the Dodgers played. Never to the Polo Grounds, home of the Giants. When the Giants and Dodgers headed west to San Francisco and Los Angeles I was living in L.A. So it was easy to maintain my allegiance to the Dodgers.

Then for a long time I drifted away from baseball. I was living in India and then in a New York that had no Brooklyn Dodgers. So I put baseball on the back burner – until I moved to San Francisco in 1978. What to do? I loved San Francisco and the Bay Area. I didn’t love L.A. But still, become a Giants fan? It seemed like I’d be turning my back on what I believed in. So it took a while.

Little by little, as my love affair with San Francisco deepened and my antipathy of the sprawling metropolis down south, the megacity with no heart or soul, grew stronger – I switched. I was now a Giants fan. I could appreciate the accomplishments of the pre-San Francisco Giants – when they were the hated ones – but I never embraced them. I did embrace my hometown Giants and now the Dodgers were the hated ones.

I went to a few games at Candlestick Park, but it wasn’t a wonderful place to be, so I never became a regular visitor. In 2000, though, when the new ballpark opened I was enthusiastic about watching my beloved Giants from the stands. That first season, through a friend of a friend, we managed to score access to season ticket holder seats, and thus began a tradition. Over these past 11 years we’ve seen about one game a month, 5 or 6 games a season, from the Club Level, just to the left of home plate, Section 220, Row D, Seats 8-9. I want us to win, of course, but win or lose, it’s a totally pleasurable experience to be in the ballpark. Our view out over the water to the East Bay is stunning. The park is people-friendly. And I get my hot links and an Anchor Steam every time. Can’t ask for anything more.

The only thing missing was a championship. We’d had some great moments over the years, the most memorable of which was watching Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run to break the record. What a stroke of luck – to be in the ballpark that night. But still, in all these years the Giants had never won it all in San Francisco. Until last night. Unbridled joy in this City by the Bay. Unbridled joy as we sat in front of the TV and hung on every pitch for all these games of the playoffs. And then to have it end with victory. Well, we deserved it. It’s great to be a Giants fan today.


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