Last February, I decided that the San Francisco Giants had a pretty great chance of winning it all this year.
I figured that their pitching would be so good in 2010 that, if they made the play-offs, they could run away with it. Good pitching, after all, always wins in the post-season.
I predicted that the pitching would be so good, in fact, that the ownership would be forced to take advantage of their golden opportunity and acquire the requisite bats that have been sorely lacking the last few years.
So, when a buddy headed to Vegas, I asked him to place $100 wager on the Giants to win the World Series.
Truth be told, the only reason that I was open to betting on the Giants in the first place was that my own team, the A's, had betrayed me. Ever since the current ownership declared their intent to move the team out of Oakland, I've ceased to be a fan. And, although I didn't become a Giants fan, I no longer had to consider the team acros the Bay as the enemy.
Therefore, I granted myself permission to bet on them.
During the course of the season, although I wasn't paying attention (I was more concerned with my fantasy team,) things unfolded as expected. The pitching was spectacular and the front office brought in some big bats to help the team make the final push to the post-season.
Then, once the play-offs began, I was glued.
From the very beginning of the Divisional Series with Atlanta, I realized that this Giants team was very different than the A's teams from the early 2000's. When the clutch moment was required, the Giants were able to pull it off. Unlike Jeremy Giambi's non-slide, or Miguel Tejada's argument with the umpire halfway to home, or Eric Byrnes ignoring home plate in order to get in a scuffle with the catcher, the Giants made few mistakes.
When the final out came against Texas and the Giants won the World Series, I was hit with a sense of profound elation. I didn't think a moment like this would ever come. During my lifetime, my teams had always come oh-so-close to the finish but they had never actually managed to cross the line.
In my high school years, Bishop O'Dowd lost two state basketball championships by a single point. One loss was a direct result of a bad (and probably corrupt) penalty call.
The A's lost two World Series during their late 80's/early 90's dynasty. They did manage to win one but it didn't really count since we weren't able to celebrate due to the earthquake.
A decade later, the A's, again, had a dominant team and made the playoffs five out of six years. Yet, each time, even though they took commanding leads, they always managed to fall to the lesser talent.
The Raiders in the Super Bowl? Yeesh.
It was all about potential. Never the ultimate achievement. Always the potential. Which just so happens to be an apt, and oft heard, description of Oakland.
I, as a fan, had never gotten to celebrate the big one.
This time, however, I had bet on the City across the Bay. Things were going to be different from now on.
That night, after the victory, my pal Chris Ferreira and I headed to the City to party. I wanted to enjoy this rare moment and to be a part of the celebration. We took BART and Muni out to Church Street where the block had been closed off and we met up with some other friends.
Music was blaring. People were dancing. Beer and champagne were everywhere. The mood was ecstatic. It was fun and festive.
These people had won something. They felt like champions themselves. Their city was the toast of the nation.
And then, as I stood in the middle of the street and watched a procession of drunk revelers climb onto a white van and chant to the crowd, as I watched them dance in their Freak t-shirts and shake their big fake beards and wave their orange and black flags, it struck me...
I hate the Giants.
Even more so, I hate Giants fans.
Who the hell are these people? Where are they from? Are any of them from San Francisco?
Of course not.
They're all from the Mid-West or Spain or wherever the hell people who decide to move to The City come from.
And they don't know anything about baseball. I'm sure of that. They're celebrating their championship but they can't describe a suicide squeeze to save their lives.
A's fans, on the other hand, know their sport and are far more likely to have grown up rooting for the green and gold.
Win or lose, the A's are my team. That's just the way it is. Except that, in this case, it isn't and they're not, because they could leave at any time. So, I guess, I'm ultimately just a guy without a team.
Who's $2500 richer.