San Francisco is one of America’s great baseball cities


San Francisco may not be a “traditional” baseball city, but that’s fine with Giants fans.

The fall classic is upon us and, fortunately for me, I am one of the lucky souls whose team is represented this year. I grew up in the Bay Area and have been a Giants fan for as long as I could wave an orange rally rag. Now I could sit here and talk about how I think, after we have seen so many incredible moments in these 2012 playoffs, that the Giants are what we in sports call a team of destiny. I could talk about the effect of the Tigers’ time off and the Giants getting hot just at the right time. But these topics have been discussed from here to Lake Michigan.

What I would like to talk about instead is how San Francisco is one of the greatest baseball cities in the country. This claim comes in response to an article published by a Detroit sports writer, who will remain unnamed and said the Tigers would be ashamed to lose to such a “strange” baseball town. Are we strange? Absolutely. Ashamed? Not a chance. We’re a bunch of beard growing, panda-head wearing, Gangnam style dancing “freaks.” And you know what I think? I think it scares the crap out of opposing fans, players and, apparently, sports writers.

The article criticizes San Francisco for its food selection at AT&T Park being too exotic and not “baseball” enough. Heavens is he right; I would hate to have any option other than hot dogs and beer. Forget about our addictive garlic fries or world renowned clam chowder from a famous San Francisco sourdough bread bowl; bring on processed meats wrapped in foil. And who likes a full bar when you can drink yesterday’s flat beer. Let’s not even bring up the Ghirardelli hot fudge Sundays. Yuck. AT&T Park sits atop most “best stadium food” articles, so if that’s weird, bring on the crab cakes and wine.

One place he may have us is our slide and build-a-bear shop up by the giant Coke bottle in center field. These things are, admittedly, not the most “manly” attractions a baseball park can have, but take your children to every park in America and ask them which one they want to go back to most. I bet stuffed animals and slides look a lot better when you’ve got an antsy kid in the summer sun who can’t seem to sit still. Let’s also not forget that Comerica Park features the least intimidating baseball attraction of all time, a carousel. Careful with those stones in that glass house you’re living in.

Lastly, and perhaps most heinously, he takes to attacking our right field, saying that it looks like something a child designed. You know, that big beautiful red brick wall that separates the spacious confines of AT&T from the frigid waters of McCovey cove? It’s not unusual for visiting teams to critique our right field because playing in it is incredibly tricky, but it is also the thing that makes our relatively young stadium look like an all-time classic along the ranks of Fenway’s big green monster and Wrigley’s ivy. Not to mention, quirky outfields are one of the reasons we love baseball. It’s one of the few sports where no two playing fields are the same and the design of the stadium can greatly affect play. Our right field plays like no other in the league, and we like it that way.

The article closes with a few halfhearted compliments before stating that something here in San Francisco feels “wrong.” I think I speak for all Giant’s fans when I say: If eating great food, having a beautiful family-friendly park, and being up three games to none in the World Series is wrong, then baby, I don’t want to be right.

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  1. Right, the Giants selling out every single homegame of the season = fair-weather fans. But the A’s selling out only once they were in the playoffs = “real” fans? Makes sense…

  2. I love my Giants, but San Francisco is certainly not the # 1 American Baseball City of all-time. We have had good years and BAD years. We have a great stadium to watch games at (now), the organization is committed to winning and has smart people making decisions, lots of fans have made a commitment to going to lots of games. The band wagon fans jump on and off for the playoffs, etc. The Giants have developed a business plan that works. A smaller stadium, public transportation, and a developing neighborhood. The CITY has become a good baseball city, but it takes decades of supporting a team well to be a great baseball city. I applaud the Cardinals, Reds, Cubs and Red Sox fans for their long-time rabid support of their teams.

  3. I’m sorry but even according to that study it should be renamed the bay area. Not SF. The surrounding area is more then just SF. And I would argue a majority of the players are from all over the BAY AREA and not just SF. Unless Oakland is now a suburb of SF?

  4. As you said fairweather fans are good. Coz they supply both teams with the money we need. I just hate it when someone who hasn’t been paying attention all year shows up and act like the team that just won is better then mine because they’ve only seen the last month of baseball. I have more respect for people who are there for the ups and downs of the team then the no bodies who show up and start talking trash. Like you. I can tell your a real fan and I have alot of respect for you. Congrats on your team btw. But come next year it’ll be our time to shine again! We got a great team that battled all year. No offense to you but the Giants had a weak division. We had to battle Texas and the Angels all year. And what was up with people in SF RIOTING? I would’ve expected that in Oakland but SF? Seriously…

  5. Yeah….2010….Thats three years….not enough to say its a great baseball town…..Sacramento is a great baseball town. Not only did they sell out every game since joining the PCL but they’ve been in the top five for attendance every year…..New York and Chicago, St. Louis are probably the only true baseball towns. Cubs, Cards, tend to sell really well even if the team sucks. Red Sox too.

  6. Umm its two World Series in three years. And two in three years does not make a great baseball city. And I would argue a half of the fans at Pac Bell and The Coliseum are not actually living in the Bay. In fact, according to a poll three years ago in the Sac Bee it showed that about a third of the 49er season ticket holders were actually from the Sacramento are.

  7. But we aren’t at the stick anymore. And attendance at AT&T has been solid since it opened, and sold out more than three straight seasons now. Hard to knock a fan base that fills 42,000 seats for that long of a time. I agree that fair weather fans come out of the woodwork when they start doing well but isn’t that true for all teams in every sport? I have been to a lot of Oakland games (I am originally from east bay and the tickets are WAY cheaper) and its sad how few people come out. But, as you saw, as they got hot down the stretch this year the seats started filling up. That’s sports. And as a hardcore fan, I got nothing but love for fair weather fans of any team. Do I wish they cared all the time? Of course, but the more people cheering for baseball the better as far as I’m concerned. Not trying to bash you or anything, and I understand what you are saying, just stating my case.

  8. I love SF as a baseball city. First of all, three World Series in two years makes it a baseball city… but the weather, too. It’s 65-70 degrees all the time. It’s a great place to play ball.

  9. I’m sorry but I disagree with you that SF is a great baseball town. I too grew up in the Bay and remembered seeing empty seats at the stick on highlights for local tv. In fact in Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Lineups he says that attendance for Giants games at the Stick had shown significant decline since they’re first season in SF other then slight spikes in attendance when the team was doing well. Yes I am a hardcore A’s fan but I also try to see it from a baseball perspective. I just find it funny how Giants say they’ve endured torture. By far Brooklyn Dodger fans experienced far more torture then Giants fans ever will with not only having good teams failing in the World Series but losing the Dodgers to LA. I don’t know if your a true hardcore fan of the Giants. I would assume so by the face paint and such and the fact your able to put a column up. However as a long time fan of the Oakland Athletics, I feel in the Bay there are far too many fairweather Giants “fans” who come out of the woodwork when the Giants do well. Oh and please, please, please tell your fellow Giants fans to quit doing the Bernie Lean. Thats an Oakland thing and we really hate seeing Giants fans using our rally cries.

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