Friday, October 22, 2010

Believing you can make a difference

Last night I was lucky enough to be given a ticket to the NLCS between the Giants and the Phillies - Game 5 - the chance to clinch it in SF. This game came on the heels of an incredible game where the "come from behind" Giants were playing the best baseball game of the year to a sell out crowd at ATT Park. From what I saw on the TV this was a game where the fans were more than into the game, they helped drive the course of the game through their collective will.
I looked forward to game 5 after having been at a Braves Giants game in the Division finals. A game that we lost eventually, helping to create a sense of "TORTURE" that the 2010 Giants have been known for. But it wasn't just the 2010 Giants.

Atlanta/SF , Beth, Rob and Skyler Conroy and Chris Hurley

A "Wilson" Ball

The crowd - largest in SF history.

No, there have been other times. True Giants fans can name them all. The one I remember most was in 2002 in the World Series. In Anaheim. Dusty Baker felt the game had been won, but it was not over. He asked Russ Ortiz to come out of the game. When he went out to the mound, he handed Ortiz the game ball.... Oh no, I thought at the time. You don't do that. It is thumbing your nose at the other team. The Angels went on to win the series. Other fans remember the line drive to McCovey that ended their hopes in another series. No there have been many many times.

I have heard a Giants fan say "I am not even watching this series, they have broken my heart too many times."

And the 2010 Giants have been great at keeping that feeling going... TORTURE.
But all along, this year, we will lose the lead, regain the lead and finally the Giants find a was to win those games why? A lot can be said for the crowd believing. Now that we are so close to the World Series, even I had a fear in my stomach as I boarded the ferry to the park with Kerry Gallagher, I feared the crowd would stop believing.

I was excited to know though, we would be sitting in Section 138 (the left field bleachers). These seats generally contain some of the most rabid fans around. The loud, the crazy, the TRUE Giants fans! I thought "Hey, I better up my Giant's game!" I considered painting my face , wearing a beard, basically going nuts. BUT..... The most I did was wear my orange and black (bought a beard as a present) and took my seat.

When we went into the park I saw men putting the orange pom poms under their hats as they climbed the stairs to their seats. Oh no... pom poms. Men hate pom poms.
This was the first bad omen.
The game started off well enough (even though I thought the stands were a little too mellow) as the Giants took a 1-0 lead. But when the Phillies started scoring, there was a sense that belief left the stadium. It stood up and walked out and left zombies sitting in Section 138. I scanned the crowd and saw only a few brave souls yelling at all.
Kerry and I did our best trying to get them to yell. I stood up at during the 8th and pointed directly at person after person and yelled "DO YOU BELIEVE?!" Having a few yell back "I BELIEVE!" Having others smile but say nothing. No.... this was not good. The entire section should have yelled "I BELIEVE!"
What happened was predictable...the Giants could feel the let down. The disappointment. This was going to be a celebration and we as fans were denied once again. But we as fans have responsibility to share. They own a piece of this loss as surely as Pablo Sandoval with his bad throw to first. Yes..... if you do not believe something will happen... it will not.
Maybe it is because I had an enemy who could have beaten me too. I could have stood facing Cancer and been intimidated into submission. I do not stop believing that we can control our own destinies. I am incredibly pissed off when people give up. I simply cannot understand that.
I KNOW the Giants can break this spell. But I KNOW it will take more than play on the field. It will take people in the stands believing in them. Let's hope as we head to Phillie, the Phillie fans will ignite a fire in our players. I will take this win anyway it comes, but it will come.... after all
CRAIG believes!