My year with the San Francisco Giants

So. I’ve officially been a fan of baseball for a year, and I feel like it’s time to sit down and talk about this glorious sport and how many gray hairs I have sprouted because of it.

First of all, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m a Giants fan. I mean, really? Did you read ANY of my other posts? Jeremy Affeldt’s blog is on my blogroll, for Isis’s sake. Last year, one of our brilliant commentators coined our season as torture (something I take offense to because seriously, AT&T Park is not Gitmo, but I digress) and that statement was accurate. Torture came back this season, even though we really didn’t want it to, but now it seems like such an insufficient (AND COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE, YOU GUYS) word. There HAS to be something more accurate to describe this turbulent season, which has resulted in 18 of the 25 men on our roster winding up on the DL at least. Two of them happened today, along with four other injuries that happened LAST NIGHT. And while we’re talking about last night, Brian Wilson. Oh, Willie. You have no idea how much I wish I could sit you down and have a very, very long talk with you about a number of things (I might ask if I can touch the hawk because it’s just so pretty) that might help shore up the walls of your fury.

And just so we’re clear, anyone who comes here to rabble about how we need to bench him or trade him can just sit down.

It was bad enough when Buster was injured. It happened a few days before we got cable, so we didn’t get to see the game, but the day after, when I heard the news and later when I saw the video, my stomach turned. Surely this was enough of a sacrifice for winning the Series last year, right?

Wrong.

The baseball gods have taken Freddy Sanchez for the season, too. Intermittantly, from the beginning of the season, they saw fit to take Brian Wilson, Santiago Casilla, Jonathan Sanchez, Barry Zito (twice), Brandon Belt, Mark DeRosa (twice), Mike Fontenot, Jeff Keppinger (injured, not on DL), Pablo Sandoval (DL & injured now but not on the DL), Carlos Beltran, Cody Ross, Aaron Rowand (injured, not on DL), Nate Schierholtz (injured for the second time in a week, not on DL), Sergio Romo, Miguel Tejada, Pat Burrell (might be facing career-ending surgery), Darren Ford, Andres Torres (twice), and Bill Hall.

Oh, and while I was typing this, Jonathan Sanchez got injured in the 3rd inning.

So I stopped writing for awhile and now we’re in the top of the 11th. I just posted this on Twitter and I’ll repeat it here: no matter how this game ends, I could not be prouder of this team.

And this is why I love this team. This is why I have come to love baseball so much in a year. I didn’t grow up in a household that watched baseball. I think I’ve mentioned that before. I grew up on a steady diet of basketball and football (college variety) with a very, very, VERY small chunk of college baseball thrown in for good measure. I mean, we have to pull for our boys and girls in all sports, right? Right.

As I’ve grown into this sport, I’ve discovered people like me, people who love to be a part of something bigger than themselves, people who obsess and discuss and are fervent in their love of the game, of the players. I’m not familiar with other clubs, so I can’t speak to their fanbase, but in San Francisco, you are swept into a giant family that bleeds orange and black. We live by our team and die by our team. We stay until the last out. We rise to our feet when Vogelsong, Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Sanchez, or our relievers come out after a well-pitched game. We jump around for the Beard. We flail our arms toward the Cove, urging the ball to find a resting place in the water. We sing songs between innings.

We love this team. We love them when they win. We love them when we lose. Of course we get frustrated. Of course we lose our tempers. But most of us stand strong and stay Giant. In my first year of being a baseball fan, I’ve screamed and yelled and shed a few tears and met some really incredible people. I’ve been inspired – who hasn’t heard Vogelsong’s story and felt a swell of “anything’s possible if you keep the faith” in their chest? I’ve been changed. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I finally understand what all the fuss is about.

Thank you for the amazing year, Giants. I look forward to decades more.

I didn’t make any of these gifs!