I have written before, that as a youngin', smitten by baseball in 1960, it did not occur to me that I had to be a fan of any given team. That is, in 1960, it did not occur to me, though I was excited to get Giants baseball cards, like Jim Davenport--who was in the first pack of cards I ever bought--and their then shortstop Eddie Bressoud--who as a seven-year old, made me struggle to recognize his surname due to my youth and the semingly strange spelling and pronunciation of his surname.
By 1961, largely due to the goading of my older brother, Peter, who along with all of our friends was a Giants fan, turned my back on the locals, opting for the Dodgers and Duke Snider and Don Drysdale and Frank Howard and the Davis's--Tommy and Willie. At the time I did not know I was being contrary, in fact I did not mean to be. I did want to be myself, and I liked being different, but it took another 35 years of life along with 15 years of therapy to figure those riddles out.
In the mean time, though, I enjoyed a World Series win in 1963, and again in 1965, so that even losing in 1966 to Baltimore gave my team a better resume than that of Peter.
Those were indeed glorious days for a kid to be a baseball fan, and the Giants and Dodgers, in particular, had a vicious rivalry that carried over from Flatbush and Coogan's bluff. I remember listening to the infamous Juan Marichal/John Roseboro bat incident, as well as Drydale's consecutive shutout inning streak, notoriously controversial thanks to Dick Dietz, if memory serves.
I stayed loyal to those same Dodgers for many many years after, at least until I started playing sim games, and then got sucked into playing the Royals in the late 70's, and then the Blue Jays, and eventually moved into the roto world when I realized I better not have favorites if I wanted to truly write objectively about player performance.
And, that is the path I have tried to follow since, not that I don't enjoy relationships with the local teams, Oakland and San Francisco, nor do I deny having players I love to watch, but mostly, I want to see a good and exciting game.
Then, last year, when the scrappy Giants, with no offense at all, made some September noise and almost made the post-season, it was fun to be at ATT Park. The crowd was into it, and well, that made the games electric.
So, it has been kind of fun this season with the San Franciscans hanging in the fray all the way into August, such that Diane and I, in San Francisco this weekend for a wedding, went to see the Giants and Padres go at it the first game of their series on Friday.
It was looney indeed, riding the Muni with a throng of boisterous orange and black fans--for Friday is orange and black night at ATT--anticipating arguably the biggest series here in years.
The game was calculated on both ends, with a double switch, seven pitching changes, a protest thanks to a disputed runner's interference call, and a one run game that was as much decided by Aaron Rowand's baserunning blunder--he got picked off second with one out in the third--as it was the winning run being scored on a fielder's choice with a wide throw to the plate.
It was a tough loss, and it was odd to feel sad that the Giants lost, but also recognizing, how beautiful and optimistic baseball is, as there is always tomorrow. As we walked back to our hotel after the game, I was really hoping the Giants made the post season.
For one thing, I wanted to work a post season game.
For another, I wanted the home team to win, and on this Friday, I was wearing my orange sweater and black leather jacket to prove it.