I’ve been a San Francisco Giants fan for over twenty five years. In many ways, I was incredibly lucky to start following the team when they finally became decent again after over a decade in the wilderness. At the same time, I instead got to grow up with a team which managed to break my heart frequently.
1987—Still hurts. And I still dislike St. Louis because of it.
1989—Never had a chance but a special year nonetheless.
1993—Who knew that a 100-win season could hurt like that?
1997—A hell of a ride in the regular season. And a hell of a let down in the playoffs.
2000—Nothing like rallying in the 9th to tie a game only to lose it later.
2002—Game 6. Six outs away. Closest I ever expected to get.
2003—A blur. Still reeling from 2002.
By the time 2010 came around, I had pretty much given up on ever seeing the Giants win the World Series. I watched that post season hoping for the best while expecting the worst. I was ecstatic when we finally won and experienced a sense of relief/satisfaction at seeing something that I could honestly say I had been waiting my entire life to see.
I went out and spoiled myself with a jersey.* I had always wanted one as a kid and had semi-seriously filed it away as something I’ll get when we win the World Series. Those things are expensive.
*There is an interesting series of posts ranting on that experience. If you don’t make it past part one, at least keep in mind that it all ends well and that I don’t harbor any resentment against the official MLB online shop.
The best outcome from 2010 though is that it was sort of a rebirth in my fandom. I had started to check out after 2002 due to a number of factors* and it took the 2010 team to pull me back in and remind me of how much I used to care. While I’m still much more of a casual fan than I used to be, I’m much more up-to-date with the team than I’ve been for the last decade.
*Family, job, and the interminable Barry Bonds circus where the only news worth reporting on Giants games was how Barry did. For a few years, the headline/lede for every Giants game was only about Bonds and often didn’t mention who won.
Which takes me to this season. It’s a novel experience for me to be rooting and caring for a team while also feeling somewhat zen about whether or not they actually win. I’m still coasting on the high from 2010 and know that nothing will replace that feeling of seeing something I never expected to see. I’ve seen the Giants win it all. I’ve been pulled back into baseball. The reminder in the pit of my stomach that it ain’t over ’til it’s over is still there but it’s no longer an impending sense of doom.
As a result, I’ve been able to truly enjoy this year a lot more than I ever expected to and the World Series victory was true surprise. It’s extremely fun to win something when you haven’t invested anything. 2010 was after an investment of 2o+ years. 2012 was still the bonus round.