So this is what it feels like.
The fans of 29 teams in major league baseball woke up this morning, rubbed their eyes, and repeated the old adage: “there’s always next year.” Not us.
This is what it’s like to be a world champion. It’s about paying a whole bunch of money you don’t really have, to attend a World Series game you’ll never forget. Where the crowd somehow transforms into an electric, fist-pumping, rally towel waving crowd, and bustles with an energy more traditionally suited for college football than major league baseball. The unbridled roar with each and every crack of the bat, the fist pump with the swinging 3rd strike. And in the lulls between innings, 43,000 sway as one, singing along to “Lights” as the Golden Gate majestically lights up the scoreboard.
And the tunnels. Oh, the tunnels. The wonderfully long, winding tunnels, which seemingly never end when you fight the crowds to escape a Giants loss, are beautiful, blissful calamity after playoff victory. “Let’s Go Giants!” chants echo and mix with the sound of random high fives to grown men who haven’t shaved in a month and have recently begun experimenting with Just For Men’s hip cool colors like “afro black” and “jet black”.
And the streets. Oh, the streets. The streets have seen so much, but they’ve never seen quite so many bottles of champagne, “OOOOO-REE-BAY” and “RENT-ER-IA” chants, and random strangers embracing, dancing, screaming. If it weren’t for the high fives and hugs, it’d be more mosh pit than baseball celebration. And yes, more singing – the entire street bellowing “We are the champions!”
Our drought never reached Cubbie proportions. We never suffered as publicly as the Red Sox did. But we’d seen enough, been burned enough, for every diehard Giants fan to be wary with each 3-2 series lead, each 2-1 game lead. If they let us down again, at least we were prepared. Yet for some reason, this season, and this playoff run, played out differently. For each Eric Hinske, there was a Brooks Conrad. It turns out Travis Ishikawa is just barely faster than JT Snow. More times than not, the Giants won, we all exhaled, and all allowed ourselves to believe just a little bit more.
That’s what made the 2010 San Francisco Giants so special. We honestly believed these Giants COULD win every game. Hell, the most diehard of us believed that these Giants WOULD win every game. But never did we feel that the Giants SHOULD win every game. No expectations, no entitlement. Surprise us. Make us believers.
Name a 2010 playoff San Francisco Giant*, and you’ll find a contributor, in some way, shape, or form. Maybe not more than once, maybe that once was just a mop-up 9th inning, but every player did his part. Never have a group of Giants been so unique, so likable, and so much fun to root for.
* Sorry Eli.
Rooting for a team on the (W/B)est Coast isn’t easy. The constant hype and focus on East Coast teams and belittling of the Giants’ offense probably left a few of us feeling a little disrespected. You’d pretty much think that Juan Uribe closes his eyes and swings as hard as he can (there may be some truth to that), Pat Burrell is washed up (mm… yikes), and Josh Hamilton managed to strike himself out (ok, c’mon now!). It’s easy to get worked up about that kind of stuff.
But you know what? We could care less. The San Francisco Giants are World Series champions.