What you saw Tuesday night was faith rewarded.
San Francisco Giants fans had drawn the ire of the baseball world yet again. This time it wasn’t for liking just one player, who happens to own a couple of home run records. This time, it was for loving all our players. We voted en masse for the popularity contest known as the All-Star Game, and had gotten three players voted in to start. And boy, everyone seemed to hate that. Even the one guy who got appointed to a starting role by a World-Series-Winning manager was second guessed across baseball.
It might be taken for granted in McCovey Cove, but supporting a ballplayer does not come easy. A lot of places are hard on players, or worse, ambivalent. That tells you how hard A.J. Pierzynski and Armando Benitez worked at it during their time in San Francisco. Heck, even Barry Zito isn’t really hated out here, just his paycheck. When he does well, he gets cheered pretty damn hard.
You hear the players say it a lot, but fans should take it to heart: they mean it when they feel supported by the fans. The attitude in San Francisco may be a little homer-ific, but that’s what being a fan is. So when guys like Sandoval and Posey and Cabrera heard the heat that we were taking on their behalf, they wouldn’t have said it, but I believe they felt the pressure to perform.
So they did. And damn, it was glorious.
Maybe there’s something to this advertising tag the team has been using. But the players put out 100%, and the fans love them unconditionally for it. And that comes around full-circle, because then the players will put out 110%.
The thing that no one really took into account about the four Giants in the All-Star Game was the kind of people they were. Matt Cain has always been one of the most even-keeled, humble guys you’ll ever know. Buster Posey has a competitive fire that earns respect rather than demanding it. Melky Cabrera has been through hell (i.e., playing for the Yankees), and irrelevance (playing for Kansas City), and he knows how special the support in SF is. And Pablo may love playing this game more than any human being ever has.
I believe they did this for us fans.
So thank you, guys. Thanks for not making us look like fools, even if we are sometimes.
Now, how about getting to the Series to take advantage of this home field advantage?