Tuesday, June 26, 2007


A Reason To Cheer

As is painfully clear by this point, the Giants don't have a very good team. Unfortunately, the easiest thing to do during a miserable, go-nowhere season is to just turn the station and focus on your fantasy team. Perhaps if the Giants had a lot of young guys with some potential taking the field, the losing would be tolerable. For example, if the Giants and Devil Rays switched rosters right now you can bet that I wouldn't miss a game.

Sadly, this team is old, hurt, crabby, sucky, and just loathsome to watch or even listen to on the radio. Even the normally exuberant Jon Miller sounds like he's preparing a noose for himself on the KNBR broadcasts. Except for the days when Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum pitch, this team is the most gawdawful boring bunch of Giants that I've ever seen, and yes, I was a fan during the Desi Wilson/Dax Jones period.

So as we Giants fans join hands and wallow in our Sabean-made misery (it loves company, you know), we have to scrounge for our bright spots and take them wherever we can get them. Luckily, this weekend, I found one, with a fun story from a place where Giants fans are normally not welcome.

I was in enemy territory this weekend, as I took a trip to LA and San Diego with some friends to catch the Angels and Padres. The Angels game was your typical nondescript, "who cares?" interleague matchup, as the Halos beat the Pirates in extra innings. I must say though, that the energy level at Angel Stadium is impressive, much more electric than anything I've seen at Mays Field in a long while. Maybe that's a product of the Giants losing so much, or maybe it's that damned Rally Monkey, but the atmosphere at that ballpark is just so much more fan friendly. It's quite a contrast.

Anyway, the Boston-Padre game, well, it was quite an experience. As per usual, drunk, obnoxious Red Sox fans descended upon downtown San Diego in droves, filling up the bars, starting their chants, and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. The typical routine for a group of Red Sox fans was this: walk into a bar, talk loud shit, order shots, talk shit to the stewing bartender, pound shots, talk more shit, then walk out and look for another bar. Rinse, lather, repeat. And they wonder why we west coasters love them so much.

A few hours before the game began, my friends and I were down in the hotel bar, er, "warming up" for that night's contest. The Giants-Yankees game was on the television (luckily the sound was down so we couldn't hear the latest moronic Thom Brennaman sermon), and I had more interest invested than usual because I hate the Yankees (and don't we all?). Likewise, all of the Red Sox fans in the bar (and there were plenty) were rooting for the Yanks to lose.

Naturally, when Nate Schierholtz's blooper fell in to plate the winning run, the place went wild. I cheered, my friends cheered, I slapped hands with the Red Sox fans. It was quite a moment. For that little speck in time, we, the smart, articulate, well-read Giants fans could see eye-to-eye with the drunken, hairy, brain cell-deprived Sox fans. Giants fans and Red Sox fans living in harmony? Has this world gone mad?

Of course, all of that goodwill was wiped clean when the game started, and despite their division rival status I rooted hard for the Padres, because our section in the nosebleeds was filled to the brim with more of those loud morons cheering on the Sox (I hope I'm not denigrating an entire fan base here, but from what I understand this is sort of the norm). It took only ten minutes, I kid you not, for a Padre fan to challenge a Sox fan to a fight. And don't even get me started on my seventh inning trip to the Sox fan-infested restroom.

The Sox ended up getting their asses handed to them, and two pivotal calls by the third base umpire were overturned to go against Boston, which, to my never-ending glee, sent the drunken bastards in our section into a frothy, alcoholic rage. So by the end of the night I was exchanging emphatic high-fives with Padre fans. I was having a very diplomatic (or traitorous, you choose) day at Petco.

Anyway, going back to the Giants-Yankees, it goes to show that even in the worst, most depressing seasons, there's always something to cheer about. There's never any excuse to just stop watching. If you stick with it through the bad, the good is just that much better. That's what I learned during the amazing 1997 season. And the best way to make it through the bad stuff is to find stuff to cheer for, even if it means you have to share a tender moment with a boorish Red Sox fan.

-Anyways, just because, here is a picture I took of Petco Park from our seats (waaaaaay up there). Downtown San Diego is in the background. It's just a lovely sight, and a wonderful experience. Also notice the smattering of red shirts in the seats. It makes me cringe every time.

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