|Two Teams/Two Cities|
Well, Jeter has a fiance named Minka Kelly; you should not worry about him.
It happens that I have two teams in my life: the other one being the San Francisco Giants, with whom I have a long history. Here it is:
I instantly fell in love with the Giants, based on aesthetics as much as anything else: the orange and black team colors, the way they looked on the off-white Jerseys, the old stadium itself. My father bought me a baseball signed by all of the Giants, 1954 World Champs: Willie Mays, Johnny Antonelli, Dusty Rhodes, etc.
Sadly, I no longer have that ball, but I have the memory of that ball and that day. I'm eternally grateful to my father for taking me, even though the team-bond I formed has caused some heartache over the years
The Giants could not win another World Series in the next 56 years , and I have wondered more than once, if my attendance was far more meaningful to them in some catastrophic way, than it was to me. Perhaps 2010 will be different.
I naturally assumed that Hodges was at the games, but he was in a NY studio reading a ticker-tape, while a sound technician created the crowd noises and the crack of the bat. Hodges was famous for once having to invent the game action for about 17 minutes, when the ticker malfunctioned one day. He was so good, his fake game would surpass most of what passes for announcing of real games today.
Talk about lingering! That ball is still headed into right field for a 3-1 win in my heart, if not my mind.
1976: That season, I lived in San Francisco near Alamo Square. I attended what was supposed to be a rare Candlestick double-header with the Mets. It turned out to be about six different games after factoring in the weather over 8 hours: bright sunshine, cool evening breeze, fog from the Bay, and finally finger-numbing cold. San Francisco summer at its best, and worst.
1989: Yes, we waited 27 years for another chance, against the cross-Bay rival Oakland (Phil/KC) Athletics, who quickly took the opening two games at their undistinguished home field. On Oct. 17, I rushed home from work to see the 3rd game only to have my wife, the DG, meet me at the door (naturally, at 54 Highland Road) to tell me about the huge earthquake hitting the Bay area at that very moment.
2001: I purchased a ticket for a seat right behind home plate, before flying out to attend a business meeting on the peninsula. I took the train right to the new Pac-Bell Stadium (now AT&T). The Gilroy Garlic Fries' concession was located directly behind home; the catcher, batter, umpire and fans smelled those fries for the entire game: probably everyone in the whole place did. Yes, I did have them, and they were real and they were great: so great, in fact, I don't remember the score or care.
2002: Hanging on the chair beside my right shoulder is a 2002 World Series commemorative Giants cap. Honestly, I do not have too much to say about 2002, when the Giants were ahead in games 3-2 and 5-0 against yet another California team, the Angels, in Game 6.
They lost the game and the Series.
2010: Any team needing to win one game out of two, going into Philadelphia, no matter what the sport, is up against history and the culture of a city with THE most rabid fans anywhere. But, the Giants did it, taking the NLCS game-six 3-2. I had to listen to the games on radio again, due to a little boy executive spat between Fox and Cablevision. Even those dim-wits can't ruin baseball.
I remain calm, loyal and will be at peace, no matter what happens in the Series against the Rangers
My father bought four tickets that changed my life. He took me to that Giants' game and he took me to my first tennis match at Forest Hills. Both decisions have made a richer life. I still have a young boy's enthusiasm for his team, do or die, and I enjoy my tennis games more than ever. The artistry and the small details of the games still appeal to me as much as the outcomes; grown men competing and at play.
That's a pretty good thing to have, but maybe one win every 56 years would not hurt either.
© 2010 TWMcDermott
Ed Note: We dedicate this piece to the memory of our great friend, teammate, and opponent, Kurt Sanger, and to Bradley White. Kurt and I used to gather every "little kid"in the neighborhood and play baseball against them: just the two of us. He died in 1989 just outside Candlestick Park. Bradley and I specialized in stoop-ball and our own invention "cup-ball," for which we crumpled up a wax-paper cup ball and used a piece of fencing for a bat. We each made up all players' names. This game was brilliantly played underneath beach cabanas. Bradley's family moved to SFO in the Fifties.