“Sport,” unless it was used in a wry, british way, was pretty much a bad word in the house I grew up in. We were slightly roly-poly bookworms, and while swimming and walking around the lake were seen as sensible forms of exercise, jogging was looked at with suspicion, and organized sports just outright flummoxed us.
I’m not sure how three sport fans emerged from that. I remember illicitly sneaking down to the family room on Sundays to ogle Steve Young and cheer on the ‘niners, but I was always cheering to an empty room. I moved on to baseball, and hid my interest like the bad habit I was sure it actually was.
(On a sidenote, don’t Google “Steve Young fan art beefcake” with your safesearch off. You won’t like what you find. Or maybe you will, but you’ll be disappointed it’s not THAT Steve Young.)
Rachael, Christy, and I each took separate, solitary paths to fandom, and each of us favor a different sport for that reason. Rachael has gone through some hardcore football fan seasons, and still likes to sneak the games into the family Tivo. Christy adores basketball and can recite the lineup for the Warriors for the past 4 years. And I love me my Giants.
Baseball is simply the perfectly paced sport. Enough downtime to chat with your friends, grab a beer, figure out a particularly intricate bit in your knit shawl pattern (stitch ‘n’ pitches rock!), and still look up to catch the awesome parts. Of which there are many. It’s not like football, where there are long periods of inactivity, followed by a brief, confusing hustle that often leaves the team right back where they started. In baseball, balls are flying, people are running, things are happening!
I’m a patchy fan, but this year I’ve been following it more closely than usual. All thanks to the McCovey Chronicles. If you aren’t reading this blog, you should be. The snark, the pop-culture references, the Buster Posey love (C’mon. He’s a nimble pitcher and catcher and slugger who happens to be named Buster Posey. He’s like apple pie and Norman Rockwell and 50s pin-up models in baseball jerseys… How can you not love?). Even if you know nothing of baseball, Grant and this beautiful blog is brilliant.
From back in September when the torture that was Giants Love was in full swing:
“I’m worried that Tim Lincecum will regress. I’m worried that Pablo Sandoval will regress even further. I’m worried that Aubrey Huff really is Aubrey Huff, and that he’s not in the final act of some zany ‘80s brains-switching-bodies movie with Todd Helton. I’m worried that the bullpen is going to be worked too hard. I’m worried that the starters are going to be worked too hard. I’m worried that Buster Posey is going to be worked too hard. I’m worried that giving Posey a day off will somehow cost the Giants a playoff spot. I’m worried that Jose Guillen will get his watch band caught on his hat when trying to field the last out of a game in Coors Field. I’m worried that my wife wants my beard to be as full and creepily dark as Brian Wilson’s, which will raise even more questions about my masculinity. I’m worried that Andres Torres will come back, only to have his table of contents rupture. I’m worried that the Pacific isn’t as blue as it’s been in my dreams…”
Thanks to the McCovey Chronicles, this year I don’t feel like a fair-weather fan, but I do admit my interest ramps up when we’re this close. Whose wouldn’t? It’s like seeing your favorite band make it big. Maybe you didn’t go to the tiny, local venues they played often enough. Maybe you only saw them at Bottom of the Hill one time out of ten. But as soon as they’re playing Shoreline, you claim them as your own, and buy every album they put out. Even the crappy live ones.
So, Giants. I love you. Last night was like that 10 minute jam that you somehow felt your fans expected to find on your Live at AT&T Park album, with really good bits mixed in with boring and semi-soul-sucking bits. It’s all good. We love you for what you’ve done, and what you will do.
Specifically, what you will do today. Let’s clinch it! Let’s see everything you’ve learned this year flow into a beautiful, harmonious… phbt, enough with the metaphor. Beat those smug San Diego beachboys!
Let’s go, Giants!!