Wow...just wow. As most of you know, I am a San Franciscan by adoption, having moved here in 1996. I love my City by the Bay, from the tourists at the Wharf being spooked by the Bushman to the almost-always gray Ocean Beach. But this week has been more than an incredible one to be a part of this city, largely because of the Giants shocking win (I'm still stuck two weeks ago when we were battling the Phillies and dreaming of just being in the Series!).
SF is often overlooked as a baseball city, despite our beautiful AT&T Park. Our fans are ridiculed for bringing laptops to games and milling about and focusing on the park's gourmet fare. We were the underdogs, hardly expected to top the Padres to make it to the postseason. Then we weren't supposed to make it past the Braves, nor the Phillies. And the Rangers? Much was written and said about the Rangers hitting and pitching. There was hope that the Giants pitching could hold the Rangers hitting down, but it was said in hopeful terms. Sure, it could happen, but chances are greater of finding no wait at the Powell Street cablecar turnaround in July. The sportscasters, the announcers treated the Giants as an amusing sideshow that would soon be sent to a postseason vacation.
But something happened in the past week. Perhaps the Rangers were weary. Perhaps they were cocky and didn't put 100% into it...or perhaps the Giants were simply the better team, as a collection of misfits and unwanteds from other teams, cobbled together throughout the season into a unit where no player was the focus, they all were. Games won because of pitching, because of well-timed homeruns. Yes, there was some luck due to Rangers mistakes (who will forget the "walk a thon" in the second game, 8th inning, where the Rangers walked several Giants in?) but wins were due to the Giants playing great ball, not just from a great collection of pitchers, but suddenly from a team that could hit when it was most needed.
Monday, I stopped at Trader Joe's on my way home. The game was on over the store sound system, the usually crowded store sparse. I then hurried home and watched. 6th inning, 0-0 score. Oh, boy. Well, boys, at least you will win at home. Then, the homerun that brought in 3 runners. But then the Rangers managed to score and looked ready to tie it up. The 8th and 9th innings were excruciating to sit through. Then suddenly, the Beard, La Barba! Seeing Wilson stepping in for Linsecum, well, I started to believe that it could be over. And suddenly it was! The bus drivers' break room, across the street from my apartment erupted into cheers. Then the City did.
It's been a week of "wooHOO!" and pride in the City that I have never experienced, culminating in yesterday's parade. I don't think a single office in SF was staffed yesterday between 10 AM and noon. If you needed something from an SF business, you were leaving a voicemail. I left my office at about 10:30 and made it to the middle of Bush Street (ironic, yes) near Montgomery, about 8 people deep from the corner, with the block soon filled behind me--as were all the streets crossing Montgomery. There was cheering, screaming, even as the buses that brought the team in went by, empty. Then, the team staff--from the ushers to the owners, everyone got a place in the parade (I learned yesterday that the staff of the Giants, from team docs to admin staff and ushers were flown to Texas on a charter to see the game. Pretty darn classy to treat the employees to such a thing!).
Then, the players, on cable cars--the motorized ones. One in front, one in back, unless you are Tim Linsecum, the longhaired pitcher who looks like he'd be more at home in some alternative rock band than on the pitcher's mound--he stood in the rear of his car, waving at everyone. The feeling was celebratory in the extreme and it continued long into the night. From my apartment in Fisherman's Wharf, I would hear random "wooHOOOOO!" and "Giants!" throughout the night. And I have a feeling it will continue throughout the month.
Thank you, Giants. Thank you for a week that feels unreal. For bringing the City together and allowing us a huge party in your honor. For showing the real SF spirit--a bunch of players that would look out of place most anywhere else, a group of misfits and characters coming together as a team and doing what just a week ago seemed impossible. SF is a city of characters, of misfits and personalities that would be unusual elsewhere and the year we had a baseball team that showed that same unique spirit, we brought home the prize for the first time for the City...how completely fitting.
And what a week it has been!