Why San Francisco is Weird, and Awesome, and Not Worthy of Your Derision
This blog post is directed at Jeff Seidel. If you aren’t him, you can see why I felt compelled to write to him by seeing this article here.
Dear Jeff Seidel,
Seriously, where did you learn to attend baseball games, Soviet-controlled Germany?
You make it sound like ballparks should have a selection that’d make a market in Soviet Russia look like a bastion of delicacy. A beer, a brat, or a coney, and you’ll take it and like it?
I’m sorry that you think giving people choices are a bad thing. I’m also sorry that you don’t think that a good ballpark dog aren’t one of the choices that many Giants fans choose. The Doggie Diners serve dogs by the load, and the Say Hey Stand is one of the busiest stands on the Promenade.
But if you frown upon people enjoying good food while watching good baseball, I think you have some serious problems.
And it’s funny to hear about a Detroit writer talking about the unique nature of right field like it’s a bad thing. I seem to remember a right field at some other legendary stadium that overhung the field like things that overhang belts at your average trailer park. I also find it amusing that you think this is something that center fielders have to overcome.
You can look at that right field and laugh, and think that it’s an easy target for Prince Fielder. It’s easy to think that, after what Barry Bonds did hitting balls over that. But ask Prince, and everyone else who took part in the 2007 Home Run Derby, how easy it is to hit over that wall. No one hit the cove in a competition that was designed to allow that. In fact, not a single left-hander advanced in that year’s competition.
The right field wall juts because, to find the right spot for a perfect ballpark, the team needed to adjust to an oddly shaped piece of land. So did Fenway. So did Crosley Field. Our park lets people watch the game for free at field level. That’s a little quirk no fan has ever complained about.
Let me tell you something about us in San Francisco: we have fun.
You can make fun of the costumes. You can make fun of the beards, fake, real or dyed. I’m sure you laugh when our grannies fist pump and our broadcasters do it Gangnam Style. You can shake your head at the boats in right field, and you can hold your nose when the best odors of North Beast eateries waft across our concessions, and you can shake your head when fans dare warm up a chilly evening with a Ghiradelli Hot Chocolate or a steaming Irish Coffee.
And you can make fun of a concession stand that was put in place to take advantage of a fan-favorite player who has a nickname related to bears. Maybe you’re familiar with him. I know Justin Verlander is. Go for it. It makes you look about as mature as the intended owners of all those teddy bears (and teddy Lou Seals).
But I’ll tell you what Giants fans are. We’re having fun. And more people should.
Giants fans come out to games in droves. And not just big games. We’re there every game. Most stadiums lose fan interest after their first year. Like, you know, Comerica Park a year after it opened in 2001, when they fell to the bottom third of baseball in attendance with just over 24,000 a game. Or the following years where they dropped to under 20,000 a game. In the leanest Giants years, in 2008 and 2009, we bottomed out at 35,000 a game.
Is supporting your team in thick as well as thin “wimpy” as well?
So if you have to criticize us for our food, go ahead.
So there may be animal hats, and unusual foods. But we don’t come here for the food. People don’t pay as much as this team’s fans do for beer, or sushi, or sandwiches of any variety, if they aren’t here for something else.
If that makes us less manly, or whatever it is you’re implying, fine. But let me tell you something.
At Game 6 of the NLCS, the seats behind my season tickets were filled by twins. Beautiful blonde twins. Sure, they wore panda hats, and drank drinks whose names I probably couldn’t pronounce. But they also stood up and cheered every hit. They chanted Vogelsong’s name. They yelled “Scutaro!” in response to a call of “Marco!”
And, as I learned today, they had such a good time at the game that they will be buying those tickets many times next season as well.
Go enjoy your little mancave you idealize baseball as. I like our baseball shrine in San Francisco, and all of its accoutrements, and especially all of its fans, just fine.