Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

The bag is the bomb in enthralled city by the bay

You can’t spend 20 minutes in San Francisco’s downtown and not see someone — or more likely several someones — touting a stylish shopping bag — or several stylish shopping bags — from Bloomingdale’s, Victoria Secret, Louis Vuitton, Diesel or the telltale bag of the all, the little blue bag from Tiffany.  This city we love is known for many things, but we all know that shopping reigns supreme. Ugh.

So it’s no surprise this morning on my jog around AT&T Park a certain bag today topped them all. They were EVERYWHERE! The bag? The orange and brown bag of The Dugout, the official San Francisco Giants swag store.

Less than twelve hours after our miracle hometown nine wrapped up its third National League Pennant in five years ( and it’s second walk-off clinching homer and subsequent “The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant” radio call in sixty years) San Franciscans were doing what they do best: They were shopping. Lines at The Dugout in Embarcadero Center were still requiring red rope type security at the entrance late in the Day. By early afternoon, the World Series T-shirts were sold out.

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The massive store at the ball yard itself had folks waiting before it even opened.

In short, this town’s gone mad for its Orange and Black Boys of Summer. How do we express it? We shop till we drop, apparently.

What’s all the fuss, you might ask? The million-dollar boys club of professional athletes and the American Idol-like worship of these often flawed heroes is in many ways as superfluous and surfacey as TMZ and reality TV.

True, all true. I often ask myself why — after finding so many other interesting and productive things to do with my time — why, why do I still get wrapped up in something like  a Pennant Race.

It’s an intriguing question, one The Bride and I both have revisited often this past year. We’ve loved the 49ers since before we met (we jumped on the 49ers in 1980 and didn’t find each other to jump on until 1984) but the team sold its sold for a billion dollar stadium in the burbs that nobody wants to go, the league is wracked with violence, especially against women, and we know its stars are killing themselves with concussions. Why contribute to that? Honestly it gets harder and harder, which is why the 49ers are now about the only football team I’ll watch. The Bride is still protesting the stadium, but she’ll come around by the playoffs I’m guessing.

I gave up basketball more than a decade ago.

But baseball, well, that’s something all together different for me, and few teams I have ever cheered for have ever so embodied what it means for a city to be in love with its team. This overachieving bunch of transplants that have so little in common with the city’s ethos, have come to embody us with its togetherness, teamwork, genuine affection for each other and defiance of the highest bidder franchises like the Yankees and the Dodgers.

Watching them play baseball is like watching something so ugly and odd that it becomes its own work of art. Timeless and memorable. It’s the art of this team — teamwork — I celebrate today along with thousands of other orange and brown Dugout bag toting fellow fans.

I’ve watched baseball ardently for forty years. I can’t recall a team ever — EVER — that was as unlikely to win as this group. Some playoff teams have holes. Some get hot and overcompensate. But if these Giants had Swiss Cheese like weaknesses its safe to say they were more hole than cheese. They just shouldn’t be winning. In one clinching game they started four lefties and a right-handed batter hitting .160 and a pitcher against a lefty pitcher. They shouldn’t have scored a run, yet they won. It made no sense. Still doesn’t. Yet game after game they had no business winning, they did just that.

They won and won and kept on winning.

All year long the team’s slogan as been “Giant Together.”

Watching this team, I see it’s true. Baseball has brought my entire family together many times. We cheer together go to games together, text back and forth during games together and get pissed together. It’s the one game we all love. I have memories at ballparks across the country with my kids. I proposed to The Bride in a ballpark on the big screen. It’s just our place and it means so much more than professional athletes and professional sports and all that is wrong with both.

But when a team in a city comes together and transcends all that professionalism, well it doesn’t get any better than that. These Giants do that. This season has done that. It’s been wonderful and delirious and unexpected and victorious by our team in our beautiful ballpark in a game that is largely unchanged from 100 years earlier. It’s the game of my youth. A game of symmetry and beauty and balance with no clock and yet its ageless.

I love the game. I love this team. I even bought The Bride a sweatshirt, doing something I never do: shop… and stand in line to do it no less. Why not? The Giants won the pennant!

It’s just one of those things you can’t explain, just like our National League Champion San Francisco Giants.

Day ten: Clean eating in a pennant race

Today is one of the days every addict faces when life’s road seems determined to detour your best efforts. Because today is day ten of our 16-day, clean-eating challenge/detox/ break-the-addictive-compulsive fixation on chocolate, dessert- and other-shit-that-makes-me-fat day.

It’s also The Bride’s birthday, which begs for things like Tony’s pizza and a massive chocolate cake with homemade peanut butter ice cream (none of which The Bride wants because she’s nearly as insane about this clean eating challenge as she is about the insanity workout she’s doing).

But see, I’m planning the birthday, so I have plausible deniability if I want to run us right off the rails into a combo pizza big enough to satisfy a Roman god.

Then to make matters worse, part of The Bride’s present today is one of the simple greatest pleasures on this green ball of humanity hurling through space: a day baseball game at ATT Park in the PLAYOFFS with our beloved Giants embarked on another of their tortourous runs to the World Series championship. It’s especially meaningful for me because the first time they won in 2010, I watched alone in a day room of a drug and alcohol treatment facility I was in, while my family made plans to attend the parade back home in Downtown San Francisco.

Needless to say, we’re going to the game today. Day baseball? The Giants? Discount nosebleed seats? Check, check and check.

But interwoven in that check list is also, chili dog, garlic fries and Ghirardelli chocolate sundae. Check, check and DOUBLE check!

eh hmmm… the Bride said a few moments ago. Not so fast.

“I already gave up beers at a game, so I’m not giving up the hot dog. But it will be a plain dog. No extras. And I won’t even order the Garlic Fries!”

I applaud her commitment (outwardly) even while I curse her inwardly. Say goodbye my lovely Ghirardelli. Sigh.

So day ten of this challenge is truly the first that officially BLOWS.  We ate our morning omelette, packed a snack of peanuts and fruit and will swap in only a hot dog. The Bride already worked out. It’s my rest day, so I’ll be back on the road tomorrow. We avoid my secretly desired detour and will finish the race.

Sigh.

But you know what? It’s been great. I don’t obsess about chocolate at night while unwinding like I was. The Bride feels so much more energetic. We both feel like we’ve stopped the waistline creep dead in its tracks. And mostly, and this is the most important reason of all to do this challenge, we’ve recalibrated our meals. We’ve gotten into a routine of five small meals. We’re eating smaller portions again. We like the creativity of the menu ideas, which is helping me break out of the menu standby ruts. Not everything works. Some dinners are like more lunch (lots of salads, which get old) and some dinners are more like the side dish, as if the main course got lost on the way to the plate. It’s not perfect by any means. It’s not even completely sustainable. We will eat SOME bread and A few desserts now and again. Their will always have to be room for Tony’s Pizza. But the framework of sustainability is there and most importantly, we feel back ON track after several months of eating drift.

In short, I may bitch (alot) and I may grouse about a birthday at the ballpark in the playoffs with less than exciting food, but I couldn’t recommend this challenge more, especially before the holidays, before things get really out of control.

Balance. It’s the key to everything. I lost it before this challenge. Now I see it coming back. Follow the Bride on Twitter today at the game. It’s sure to be interesting!

Go GIANTS!