Thursday, October 11, 2012

How To Spot a Fake Giants Fan or How To Avoid Looking like One

For this blog, I decided to do something a little different. I am not a big baseball fan, but I have listened to enough sports radio to follow what is going on in the league, especially with the home teams (San Francisco and Oakland). What I've noticed is that all of a sudden people you know who were never interested in sports, suddenly become big fans of teams. Well, I've decided to create a truth detector to allow you to figure out if the person you're talking to is a real or fake fan. Of course, I could not do this alone. I enlisted the help of Matthew (@figslee on Twitter) who has been a San Francisco Giants fan since in the womb. A special thank you to him for collaborating with me on this guide.

It's October.  The most exciting time of the year, if you're a baseball fan.  It's time to put all regular season stats and match ups aside and begin the tournament that crowns the World Series Champions.  It's the playoffs and when the playoffs arrive, it is inevitable that people all of a sudden become "die-hard" fans of the hometown team. True fans of the team bemoan this as the bandwagoners seem to grow in numbers. After the Giants won the World Series in 2010, fans, new and old, flocked to the stadium.  After a disappointing season in 2011 in which they failed to make the playoffs, some returned to only paying attention to when the playoffs came around this year. First it should be pointed out that aside from the core pitching staff,  a lot of key changes have occurred for the Giants.  Namely the fact that only two starting position players, Buster Posey and Pablo "Panda" Sandoval (just to remind you why you bought that panda hat), remain from that 2010 World Series winning team.  So here are a few tips to help you spot the bandwagon fans and how to avoid looking like one.

1. Brian Wilson is not an active player. The 2010 World Series introduced the world to Brian Wilson, arguably one of the best closers in baseball. But what really held people's attention is a playoff beard that inspired the slogan, "Fear the Beard." This 2012 playoff, there will be no beard. In April, Wilson underwent Tommy John surgery and has not played since. Thus, not mentioning this player or wondering why the Giants aren't putting him in is probably a good idea. Please leave your Beard shirts at home, thank you.

2. The other memorable character of the 2010 World Series is Tim Lincecum, the Freak. After signing a two-year, $40 million contract and turning down a five-year, $100 million contract before the beginning of the 2012 season, Timmy just hasn't lived up to the extremely high standards that he set for himself, for the majority of this season. There were a lot of theories circulating about why he was struggling so much. Maybe it was the money, a curse of the Giants, his losing a ton of weight, or his laying off the weed. However, he bounced back and is looking to return to Freak form after winning a sudden death playoff elimination game four against the Cincinnati Reds. I only mention this, so you avoid saying something like, "Well, he's been doing this all season."

3. Barry Zito doesn't suck anymore. For years after the Giants signed Zito to a mega-contract, the pitcher was never quite able to live up to the expectations that came with it. However, when Lincecum struggled, Zito stepped up his game and helped the team win. Thus, no lamenting about why he's in the lineup. You can trust him.

4. MELKY Caberera played for the Giants, not MIGGY Cabrera. This is an easy mistake to make if you're the casual fan. The two have the same last name and very similar first names. Miggy Cabrera plays for the Detroit Tigers and won the Triple Crown. MELKY is NOT on the Giants roster, as he had been suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. Just to avoid confusion, you should know this.

5. Andres Torres plays for the Mets now. Yes, a lot of you reading this blog or someone you know bought his jersey and loved him dearly, but the Giants have Angel Pagan patrolling center field now.  Matthew would like to for those trying to fill the Torres void to give him a chance because he promises you will love him just as much, if not more. Maybe you can eBay your Torres jersey and buy the Pagan.

6.  Jonathan Sanchez, who pitched a no hitter for the Giants against the Padres in 2009, is also no longer with the team. He was a fan favorite, especially for his bold words and great performance on the last day of the season in 2010 to get the team into the playoffs. Don't be surprised if you hear a surly response to your "where is Jonathan Sanchez?" question; he was traded to the Royals for Melky Cabrera (see number 4).

7.  Hunter Pence is a new face to the lineup, picked up just before the trade deadline this year from the Phillies. What Pence brings to the team is a big bat to address the problems on offense the team has had. He might look awkward in just about every aspect of his game, but he's a really good baseball player. Maybe you can be the first to suggest the appropriate animal hat for the newest member of the team.

Though some of the faces of the team have changed since the magical 2010 World Series run, this 2012 team has a lot of characters to really cheer for.  It is embarrassing to be caught jumping the bandwagon, but this is a guide to help you not break your ankle on the way up. By the same token, this can also help you spot who is trying to pass himself or herself off as a true fan. If you were enthusiastic enough to buy tickets, hopefully this list prepares you in some way to fight off the parking lot jeers and scolding you will receive on your way to true fandom. Welcome to AT&T Park (forgot to mention that's where they play), enjoy the ride.

No comments:

Post a Comment