Will all the real Giants' fans, not just the ones that became fans in 2010, stand up!

Definiton of a 'real' Giants' fan

It's easy to call yourself a Giants' fan.  How many times have I heard people say that they became a fan Way back in 2010. That's the crowd that hangs out at MoMo's, across the street from AT&T Park. Then there are the real Giants fans, who can maybe remember a particular game they attended in 1969, with the wind swirling in the Candlestick parking lot that they were practically blown over walking back to the car. That's a real Giants' fan!

My wife is continually amazed-or it might be baffled-that I can tick off the memory of a game I attended, but cannot find my car keys or my wallet. (Raise your hand if you're with me so far guys.) A former roommate and friend asks me from time to time what I know about a particular player and just shakes his head when I come up with info about such and such player. I've been a Giants' fan soooooooooo long-1963-that when a new player is brought up or comes to the team in a trade, I know the player from years past who wore that uniform number.  Case in point: Clay Hensley, a relief pitcher brought up last year wears #34.  Anyone besides me know which  pitcher (a hint) wore that number for a number of years in the 1960's?  (No fair looking it up on the Internet.  It was...Ron Herbel, a fair to midland pitcher, mainly in relief, but did start a few games.  (He passed away in the recent past.) It's easy to remember the numbers of guys like Mays, McCovey and Marichal, but knowing the numbers of some of the more obscure players and their numbers, goes a long way to proving you are a real Giants' fan.

Here's another one to prove I am a real Giants' fan: When it came time to choose a college in the early 1970s, I chose San Francisco State, largely because it was well, San Francisco. Officially I majored in Political Science, unofficially my major was San Fransisco Giants. I was at Candlestick on a night in 1975 where the attendance was below 1,000! That's real.

All of us real fans suffered through the decade of the 1970's.  Except for winning the division in 1971, the cumulative seasons could count as baseball's version of the 'Lost Generation,' with kudos to Gertrude Stein.

And my last point: I became a Giants' fan in 1963. Very few games were on TV at the time: One weekly game on Saturday and the 9 games that the Giants played the Dodgers in Los Angeles.  But still I became a fan.  In September of 1964, I went to my first game.  A charter bus was going from Napa and my mother paid a friend's son to chaperon me.  I probably bounced my way down to catch the bus on Third St. near Soscol, which was light years away from crossing the river. With traffic not nearly what it is like today, we got there in just over an hour.  The game was against the Phillies, who were still in the pennant race just a week or so before the end of the season. (They would eventually lose the pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals by blowing a six game lead with nine to go. Me thinx the Giants finsihed like 6th in a 10 team league.) The point: A 10 year old, first game, big time hero worship: Willie Mays went 0-4 and I took it personally.


Tom Ontis is a Napa ex-patriate now living in Contra Costa County with wife Shelley, also from Napa and four darling and hilarious kitty cats.  He grew up on a ranchette east of town, one mile and half from Silverado Junior (now middle) School.


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Kristina October 25, 2012 at 02:21 AM
I felt compelled to leave a comment because coincidentally, I was just pondering this idea of "real" or "true" fans. I walked into the office yesterday and began making small talk with an older male co-worker about the upcoming Giants game. For whatever reason, he felt compelled to tell me how "big" of a fan he was by citing similiar stats to above, that he coached little league, that he "loved" the game and that he had been following the Giants for 25 years. As far as myself, I started following the Giants back in 2006 or so. It was a total fluke as to how I became a "fan". My friend had an extra ticket and I decided to go because I had never been to a game. I could not beleve the amount of emotion, thrill and entertainment I experienced. Since then, I have followed the Giants attending a few games a year and toggling between channels to check the score when I noticed a game was on. I am a 33 year old female. I don't know all the rules of the game and I certainly don't know any player stats off the top of my head but, when I see a great play or the Giants score, I hoot and holler like I won the lottery, yell at the tv and stand up and clap. The definition of a fan is, "An enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity,, etc." and I know I am most certainly that. Fans are born every year...every game...at all ages, genders, races and levels of experience with the game.
Jeffrey Wright October 25, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Why are all the ''REAL FANS'' always fat out of shape old guys Tom ?
Scott Yeager October 26, 2012 at 03:58 PM
In general, a fan is one who is following a team even when it isn't very good or is even really bad. I remember a customer came into a store I worked at in the mid 90s and he had on all this expensive Chicago Bulls gear. I told him I worked with a guy who grew up in south Chicago and asked him where he lived in Chicago, that's when I realized he wasn't from Chicago and was a "fan" because they were winning a bunch of NBA titles. By the way, there is a really good film about an obsessed NY Giants football fan called "Big Fan" that I would recommend. It puts being a fan in perspective.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau October 26, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I am a fan of the sport of baseball, the game, the strategy, the atmosphere, the probability of incredible things happening or not happening. People who focus on one team are a fan of that brand or corporation, not the team of players. I split season tickets to the Oakland A's with four others. People say, "Oh, you're an A's fan." I tell them, "No, I am a baseball fan, and I can AFFORD A's season tickets and my seats are front row on the first base line.". There are teams I like better than others, but it's because the players work well together as a team, not because of the brand. Watching the SF Giants play the St. Louis Cardinals was exciting simply because it was a match between the past two World Series winners, although the two teams were slightly different. It was a good way to see which corporation made the correct choices for their team for the 2012 season. The Giants chose wisely.
Cathy Gumina Odom December 07, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I think this is a kind of difference between men and women on what defines a sports fan. My husband doesn't consider someone a fan if they don't know the current lineup (those playing baseball that night)when they go to the baseball park for a game. He's hard to learn baseball from (and golf). I've learned more with my girlfriend, Kay, than my husband. Kay will explain things nicely, with a smile, and not be upset when I ask questions. She'll make things exciting. My husband just looks at me when I ask a question like I'm asking the stupidest question in the world. Sorry, no, I didn't learn baseball at age 2, my dad wasn't into sports and throwing me a ball, and I didn't play baseball, soccer or softball in school. I ran cross country for fun in high school. I showed horses competitively at the State level, riding from the age of 5 to 20. Dad and Mom came to most of the horse shows, but never attended a cross country meet. I still ask a lot of questions, I've just learned to google stuff first before asking my husband. Or daughter. She still looks down her nose at me. Sigh.


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