The light wind that caressed the beautiful summer evening was blowing the flags out towards the bay at Giants Park (we refuse to use that commercial name). The position of the Giant’s fluttering flag on the National League West pole in right field on Friday night told the recent story. The orange banner flew at the bottom of the five teams, designating its position in the division standings: last place. 7 straight losses. Not one player hitting over .300. In fact, not one player is among the leaders in any hitting category.
Worse yet, the demoralized team is now finding ways to lose and the season is officially in the dumper.
When that spunky female announcer called out, “And now the starting lineup for your San Francisco Giants,” I thought many would deny ownership. (They are our Giants much the way the Santa Clara 49’s are ours.) Yet the 43,425 packed into the park let out a healthy roar meant to stifle the surprising number of Yankee fans.
The Yankees are easy to hate. The ridiculously over-paid, arrogant team and their fans refuse to admit they are second-class now. Kinda like the French.
And perhaps on this evening the anger the fans will express is a mixture of Yankee loathing and self-loathing for being a Giant’s fan.
The easy, done to death take on Giants fans is they are too refined. A mocca-sipping crowd out for a casual evening, carting laptops and cellphones. Just aint so. Before the game began a vigorous chant of “Fuck the Yankees” rang through the concession area and that resentment would be expressed multiple times with the mildest chant being “Yankees suck.”
Yet each time the home crowd’s cheers would build, the Giant players would find a way to deflate it, with help from one pitiful fan. Hard-luck pitcher Matt Cain thought he was out of the second inning, when with two outs a Yankee lofted a ball near the stands along the right field foul line. Randy Winn was there to make the grab when a stupid Giants fan reached out and knocked the ball down. Bad enough, but the ineffectual Cain had to make it worse. Rather than get out of trouble, he gave up a walk. And then up came easy meat, Kei Igawa, the rookie pitcher from Japan. Since American League pitchers have designated hitters take their at-bats, Igawa was at the plate for the very first time. Yep, his batting average was .000. Cain could lob strikes over and get out of an unlucky inning. But tragic comedy doesn’t work that way. In a testimony to this pathetic season, Cain couldn’t find the plate and committed a professional baseball sin by walking Igawa to load the bases. So the next batter gets a hit and two runs score. Yankees 3, Giants 0.
The best thing to do in that situation, for a Giants fan, is to go get one of those Cuervo margaritas in the huge orange cup that allows for multiple shots (Please drink responsibly!).
Then between the fourth and fifth inning some more antagonism broke out in a men’s restroom. While waiting in line, a potty-mouthed Yankee fan with a Mark Gastineau Jet’s jersey, unkindly and loudly expressed doubts about the Giant’s manhood. When the Yankee fan was at his most vulnerable--standing at the urninal with his zipper open -- the Giants fans screamed back with fighting words. Some scardy-cat Giants fan alerted the cops. Four of them came in and told Mr. Gastineau he was getting tossed out of the park. When questioned about why, one cop said because “he was creating a disturbance and swearing.” Huh? Wasn’t this a free speech zone (“Fuck the Yankees”)? Actually, it is a commercial zone and the Giants are paying for the cops.
To soak up some of that alcohol in the middle innings, I recommend a tasty Sheboygan dog with grilled onions and sauerkraut; the Giants supply the indigestion.
Oh yeah, Bonds hit a homer in the 8th, but that was only a brief chance to vent, not glow in victory, because the men in pinstripes won easily, 7-3.
The gloating Yankee fans piled into O’Neil’s bar across the street and simply had to extend the mouthing off to maintain their reputation. But then came the louder cheer, “Let’s go Giants.” Yes, indeed, let’s go.
The Giants have revived their fan's spirit by beating the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday.