The other day, your humble narrator had a sporting experience that flummoxed him. After Bay Area local Jimmy Rollins doubled home the tying and winning runs for the Philadelphia Phillies over the Los Angeles Dodgers with two outs in the ninth, a clatch of L.A. fans in the corner actually booed and jeered me for having the temerity to root against the Dodgers in a bar located in the heart of San Francisco.
I was also razzed for "wearing a button-up." Evidently working for a living earned me demerits in the eyes of these Southern Californians. Now, this isn't Latin American or European soccer -- there's nothing so useless as physically tussling over the exploits of the millionaires paid to wear our cities' names across their chests. But a little verbal repartee seemed to be in order; it's fantastically entitled behavior to ostentatiously root for the Dodgers in Downtown San Francisco and then bristle at even the hint of locals' alternate preferences.
Well, as our SoCal visitors might have put it, "Whatever." The lead Dodger fan -- who could make many sounds resembling speech -- curtailed the situation by waddling out of the bar and shouting "fuck off."
So, yes, I was pleased when the Phils finished the job last night and knocked L.A. out of the postseason. While those who sell commercial airtime for a living were no doubt pining for the bonanza of a Los Angeles vs. New York World Series, for Giants fans the matchup of the loathed arch-rivals vs. the ultimate corporate monolith was unappealing (the Yankees' ascent to the Series seems inevitable; sorry Anaheim fans).
It's nice to have a vested interest in this Series. And, yes, as a long-suffering San Francisco fan, I'm happy for my counterparts in Philadelphia, Boston, and the south side of Chicago -- whose teams have recently ended long championship droughts. But vicarious pleasures -- or the schadenfreude of watching excellent Dodgers teams fail, repeatedly -- do lose their charm (especially the latter).
I've written it before and I'll write it again -- the Giants have spurred me into cajoling my relatives into living healthier lives, because the notion of the team hanging a championship pennant anytime soon feels far-fetched.
Imagining the Dodger fan we mentioned at the top of this article tossing his flat-brimmed hat to the ground in frustration is a momentary pleasure. But the joy of savoring a championship season with the friends and family who've been pining for this team for 30 years or more -- that's something to savor.