Friday, December 26, 2008

Favorite Baseball Team

Sometime back I recall some comments about changing favorite teams if you moved to a city that had a major league team. Chris sent me a note recently that I think addresses that question as it regards the SF Giants.

"A simple question with a great answer…

What's the point of being a Giants fan? Managing general partner Bill Neukom said on KNBR that he hopes the team will finish .500 next year ... then become a contending team two years after that. I appreciate his honesty, but man, after four losing seasons, all we get is three years from now. It's obvious why players like Mark Teixeira and Carlos Lee don't want to play for the Giants. So I ask, other than being interested in Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum, what is the point for a fan to root for a self-proclaimed hope-to-be-.500 club?

-- Billy R., San Jose, Calif.

You stick with the Giants because that's just what fans do. Otherwise, you're something else beginning with the letter "f" -- fickle. You stick with the Giants because you understand that baseball is a game of failure (remember, even the best hitters return to the dugout fruitlessly seven times every 10 at-bats) and only people who can't grasp what the game's about demand constant success. You stick with the Giants because hope is one of the biggest words in the English language, and because watching guys like Matt Cain, Fred Lewis, Randy Winn, Brian Wilson and Sandoval give you hope. You stick with the Giants because Lincecum pitches every five days, and there isn't a better show in baseball than that.

You stick with the Giants because they're among baseball's crown jewel franchises and they play in a gem of a ballpark. You stick with the Giants because you cherish the link to legends like Mathewson, Mays, Marichal and Bonds (pick either one). You stick with the Giants because, if you're around 40 or older, you saw them almost move to Toronto and Denver and Tampa-St. Petersburg, so now you'll never let them go. You stick with the Giants because you feel like your scalp would break out in a rash if you put on a different team's cap. Go ahead and switch to the A's or Dodgers or Phillies; life is full of many more important choices. If it's that easy to jump ship, you never were a true fan anyway."

I was there when they almost moved to Toronto and I can tell you the fear and panic of losing the Giants to Canada or anywhere was significant. The City rallied around the Giant's and Bob Luire came to the rescue, along with Cattle guy, I think. Botton line, live in a city with a baseball team that isn't the Giants if you must, but I would find it very difficult not to continue as a Giants fan.

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