Baseball was the first sport I ever cared about. We lived in Milwuakee until I was in the first grade and my first fandom was the Brewers. I remember asking to stay up late to watch the end of game 7 of the World Series in 1982, but it was already past my bedtime, so off I went. It was just as well since the Brewers lost to Saint Louis that night, and they haven't really been close to playing for it all since then. After that heartbreak, I became a casual fan of whatever team was associated with the city I was living in and mostly ignored baseball. Last fall, however, so much baseball mania crept into the area where I live that it became impossible to ignore. The entire Bay Area had caught a case of Giants fever.
I may not be a Giants fan but several of my friends are. Jenny could even be considered a superfan, she has travelled to watch the team play and owns a lot of Giants swag. We were both guests at a mutual friend’s wedding in mid-October, and she was nearly vibrating after the ceremony. I soon found out why-- the first game of the NL championship series started as we were seated for dinner. Several folks in the room were huddled around their smart phones, watching the game unfold while they ate the prime rib. When the band started playing the lead singer announced the score periodically to those of us on the dance floor so we knew what the people glued to their three inch screens did. Luckily the bride was enough of a sports fan to be amused. Finally the Giants won and suddenly a dozen people were back with us fully, and having a great time.
I started paying attention to the game scores vaguely. I knew they were playing a best of seven series but I didn’t really know the count of wins and losses. Then on October 23 it was official – the Giants were playing in the World Series. At that point things got crazy. Even the time of year seemed to favor the Giants, when your team colors are orange and black the whole world is for you around Halloween.
I know what it’s like to be a fan of a team that regularly does well, but not quite well enough. The energy and passion were infectious. Suddenly everyone was a little nicer to each other. It felt like the entire Bay Area wanted the same thing.
The World Series started with two home game wins for the Giants, and enthusiasm was at a fever pitch. I could tell when the games ended by the sound of fireworks in my neighborhood, and at least once I heard screams from several apartments around me at the same time when a particularly great play happened. There was a chance they could win it all on Halloween which seemed like an omen of good fortune for the orange and black.
I went to a Halloween party that Saturday, October 30 – game three. The party started mid-afternoon, so we could watch the Giants game. Again a few people stayed glued to their seats throughout, and others of us wandered a bit, mostly watching the game but also chatting and making an occasional drink. It was the only game I watched more than an inning of all season long, and the Giants lost. The energy in the room dipped for about 30 minutes and then came limping back up. One loss in a best of seven doesn’t matter. If they lost one more in Texas they could win it all at home. Tomorrow would be the Giants’ day. And the party went on.
The Giants did win on Halloween. The series was 3-1 in favor of the Giants. Monday night was game five, and I got home to tune in sometime during the eighth inning. It felt like the whole region was holding its breath until the final strike. Then – explosion! The Giants won!
I wore orange and black the next day, and followed the news of the team coming home, and the parade through SF on cable cars. It wasn’t my team, but somehow being right in the middle of it meant that it didn’t matter. For a few weeks in late October I was a Giants fan.
@@@This is my entry for week 13 of LJ Idol, the topic was "inside baseball" (which has a cool metaphorical meaning that I didn't use). Other posts on this topic can be found here. Thanks for reading.@@@