Avenue of the Giants
The torture is over. The Giants clinching the World Series on November 1 was like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and your best birthday ever wrapped up in one orange and black package.
The pride of having a winning sports team is the great equalizer, the common thread that makes gangbangers high-five investment bankers and soccer moms hug the homeless. The San Francisco tribes were bonded together in jubilant celebration this week. We did it! (Though mostly the Giants players did it, but we showed great support!)
It’s really fun to cheer on sports teams when they’re doing amazingly well, but the Giants’ win came at the perfect time for me personally. I was feeling really down about San Francisco. Somehow everyone I knew in the city seemed really jaded, almost hostile. A cynical coating glossed the 415 to the point where I was almost ready to move to the 213. The Giants brought the city back together as a community. Hugging complete strangers became perfectly acceptable.
On Wednesday morning, the Giants fever heightened when they were given a victory parade that was like nothing I’ve seen in my years living in San Francisco. As far the eye could see, Market Street was a sea of baseball caps, and there were loud chants of “Fear the Beard!” There were thousands of ecstatic people in the streets of San Francisco. I caught up with a couple of them.
I passed this Giants fan, who initially said he was giving away free “Tim Weedecum” posters. “I was down here at 8 p.m. last night and there was already people here. I just put a picture of him with some weed … ‘cuz Tim said on radio that he was caught smoking,” he told me.
I walked away, and a few minutes later, the vendor came up to me again. “Actually I’m selling these for $5 each,” he said. “I didn’t know if you were an undercover police officer.” (Pause.) “Do you want to buy one?”
A group of fans wearing Giants schwag walked by someone dressed as the team's beloved Kung Fu Panda (the nickname, of course, for infielder Pablo Sandoval). Said Panda was wearing a Sandoval jersey and a very skimpy undergarment. Cheers arose from the group: “He’s got the rally thong !”
What did this shirtless San Jose man think of the World Series games? He simply pointed to his stomach and taunted, “All of Texas can suck my……” He then pointed to his back, where there were more inscriptions written in permanent ink: “Tim makes me linCe CUM!”
San Francisco camaraderie reigned supreme during the parade. I only witnessed one fight, when a kid elbowed an older man, who then lunged for the kid’s throat. The crowd seemed outraged that anyone would dare fight on this celebratory day. “That’s bullshit!” screamed one onlooker in a Giants jersey. “There’re kids out here.”
The crowd was intoxicated by SF's victory. To wit, the collective commentary from this crew: “It’s fucking nuts. We took the day off of work to be here. I’ve been living in San Francisco all my life waiting for this. Halloween, then this. Back to back victories. (Pause) If only Prop 19 would have passed.”
By the way, Market Street smelled like Prop 19 had passed.
This fan, originally from San Francisco, left Los Angeles at 9 p.m. Tuesday night to get here in time for the parade. “I had to come back,” he said, “like a salmon swimming upstream.”
I felt a hat shoved toward me, as this intense guy shared his civic pride: “I am glad to be where I’m from, baby!” He added that he’s "on fucking top of the world. I’ve been a fan my whole life.”
I asked these guys how a Giants victory made them feel. “It makes me feel like a champion. It’s going to help me in my personal life,” one said, while the other added, “They can win, I can win. It’s all about teamwork.”
Why do these young women have the Giants’ catcher’s name written across their stomachs? “Cuz he’s the sexiest!” they answered in unison. I guess leather daddy Brian Wilson wasn’t their type.
The Giants win affected more than the spirit of the city. Having a victorious team bridged familial bonds as well. “The series was a real nail biter,” this fan told me. "I’m here because my dad died this year, and he was a huge fan. This is for him.”
Do It Yourself
To be a Giants fan any time of year, simply wear orange and black and shout “Go Giants” whenever you’re feeling camaraderie with your fellow San Franciscan. Buy tickets for next season’s games on the Giants’ website.