We are charging up a San Francisco street, following the cable car line, when the driver realizes we’re Diamondbacks
fans. He had turned on the radio when we got in, down by the piers, and turned it up when I asked if it was the Giants
game. He, my wife, and I all made small talk in the way baseball fans do, chatting about the upcoming games. As he fought the late afternoon traffic, he asked, "so where are you guys from?"
"Arizona," my wife answers.
"Oh." He says, and then pauses. We are waiting to get around a cable car stuffed to the brim with people. "Sorry."
I’m not surprised that everywhere I go in San Francisco I see monuments to Giants baseball. Winners will make fans of anyone except those in Florida.
From my hotel room I see rolling hills and stackhouses and the edge of desolate poverty and city hall and a tiny sliver of water. Amidst the confusion and wildly converging streets, I can spot a rundown church with large orange banners that declare, "Let’s go Giants! Go Giants!" I know somewhere over the hills directly in front of me is Candlestick Park, which we passed on the way from the airport. But now baseball has passed it by.
On the first day we took a driving tour of the city, going through various neighborhoods and staring at buildings. Every other bedroom window seemingly had a Giants sticker. Even as we pass public housing, there are Giants stickers on the windows. These are kids who likely don’t have much of anything, but baseball. I wonder if these children play baseball, and where do they play? Where are the baseball fields in San Francisco?
The highest concentration of Giants gear I’ve seen has been around Union Square, which is the spawn point for tourists. "Fear the Beard" shirts, black and orange hats, orange sweatshirts overrun Union Square as people jostle to get in line for a cable car ride.
In Chinatown there are stores that, if they were in Scottsdale, would sell awful Southwest kitsch, but here they sell Chinese ‘cultural’ artifacts. Jade jewelry and clothing and chopsticks fill these stores down Grant, as we all tumble downhill towards the Dragon Gate and back into America. Every other shop has a display of knitted Panda hats.
At the game last night we saw a few specks of red amongst a rolling tide of Giants faithful. Outside the stadium, by Willie Mays’ statue, we chatted first with a man in a Diamondbacks hat, and then two nice ladies from Tennessee who were there to cheer on the Giants. The ladies had lost interest in baseball during the steroid era, but were slowly getting back into the game. They hoped to go to the All-Star Game in Kansas City next year.
Overall we’ve had a largely stress-free existence. Most people haven’t even noticed what we’re wearing, and the few who did at the game were generally nice or indifferent. People seem very polite in San Francisco, or maybe they don’t consider us to be a true enemy yet. Things might turn today if the Diamondbacks win.
After the game we waited outside for a bit. A group of twentysomething Giants fans walked by and yelled, "[expletive] the D’backs!" To which my replied, "yeah, the Diamondbacks sure [expletive] you!"
So maybe San Francisco isn’t completely a city of love.