October 29, 2002

Heartbroken Fan

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My mom was supposed to mail me my World Series shirt today.

The city of San Francisco was supposed to throw the biggest celebration for its baseball team since it arrived from New York in 1958.

But on Sunday night and into early Monday morning, I cried. I’m not afraid to admit it. For two hours, I was a weeping mess.

For the first time in 13 years, my San Francisco Giants were in the World Series. The last time Los Gigantes had made it to the big dance was 1989, when they lost to the cross-bay A’s in a four game sweep. I was only seven, incapable of fully comprehending the significance of the event. Moreover, a devastating earthquake struck at 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, delaying the Bay Bridge Series for 10 days, and depriving Bay Area fans of something that should have been special. I was cheated.

But 2002 was different, or should have been. After the Giants took a three-games-to-two-lead in the series and a 5-0 lead into the seventh inning of Game Six, I was confident. The Giants were getting ready to pop the corks of their iced champagne, and I was ready to down some celebratory alcohol of my own. This was the team of Dustiny.

Then, everything fell apart. Angels 6, Giants 5. A three run homerun, a solo shot, and a two-run double later, and I became the most pissed off individual on campus. Just ask anyone in my room immediately following the game. They can testify to seeing all types of flying objects, great and small.

Although I outwardly exuded confidence before the series deciding Game Seven, in my heart of hearts, I knew the Giants had blown their chance. Indeed, the Halos won Game Seven 4-1, in arguably the series’ most boring game.

I watched helplessly from my “lucky” chair, as the Angels poured onto the field in celebration. Needless to say, I’m feeling like the chair is pretty “unlucky” right about now.

For the first time in my life, I felt empathy for other fans who have watched their teams fail on the sport’s biggest stage. I now understand the pain that Red Sox fans must have felt when Bill Buckner let a harmless groundball trickle through his legs. I feel the pain of Buffalo Bills fans who saw Scott Norwood’s 47 yard field goal attempt sail wide right.

With the loss, the Giants are still looking for their first championship since moving to the city by the bay. Everyone references the curse of the Bambino, but I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a curse on the Giants. The franchise lost in seven games on a lineout in 1962 to the Yankees, lost in the aforementioned earthquake-marred 1989 series, and now just dropped a seven-game nail-biter to the Angels. Of the teams that were in existence since the Giants last championship in 1954, only the Cubs, Indians, Red Sox, and White Sox have failed to win the prize. Meanwhile, franchises such as the Marlins and Diamondbacks have won with less than 10 years in existence.

I’m a fan of the 2002 National League Champions, but why do I feel like such a loser?

After the events of this past weekend, I began to question my loyalty to the Giants. It might just be safer and less heart wrenching to root for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays or the Detroit Tigers. After all, isn’t it less painful when you expect your team to lose? I know for a fact that I never feel this bad when my favorite basketball team, the Golden State Warriors, loses 60 out of 82 games on a consistent basis.

My last month revolved around baseball, and now, it’s all gone. Looking ahead, I just might get my wish of a horrible ball club in my hometown. With Dusty Baker, Jeff Kent, and a slew of others reared to leave the Giants, the team is shooting for the bottom.

As for 2002, I was cheated once again — this time, not by a natural disaster, but by a monkey and singing cowboy.

Alas, who knows when I will once again have the opportunity to watch my club in the Fall Classic. I only pray that the Giants win one during my lifetime. They’ve got more than a half-century to make that wish come true.

Until then, I’ll be sitting by my mailbox, waiting for my championship t-shirt to come.

Archived article by Alex Ip