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Greetings from San Francisco

Oct 24, 2012, 6:00 AM EDT

AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — Because of personal weekend travel on top of World Series travel, I wake up this morning in the third different time zone in the space of four days. I’ve wrestled American Airlines to something close to a draw — they may not have given me what I wanted for all of my trouble but I am certain now, based on their disdain for their customers, that I will outlive them — and I am staring six days of World Series coverage right between the eyes.  I may be tired, but I am winning.

But who is winning this World Series?  Such bets are for suckers. A proposition that, if we didn’t know before this month, we certainly know after seeing the improbable occur again and again this postseason.

As late as mid-September the Tigers looked like they’d be golfing right now. An 88-win team which seems remarkably well-constructed for the playoffs. A team which is going to start Delmon Young in the vast expanses of AT&T Park’s left field tonight and presumably tomorrow and who counts Phil Coke of all people their most reliable reliever is favored by the people who are supposed to know these things.

For personal reasons I watched the Tigers more this year than I had since I was 11, and not one time until they started sawing off Yankees bats in the ALCS did I look at them and say “yes, that’s your probable World Series champ.” But I am inclined to say it now. It’s a mild inclination, one I may forget as soon as pitches begin to be thrown in anger tonight, but an inclination all the same.

But what of these Giants?  One thing noted by several smart people in the past 24 hours is that while they may be playing cardiac kids again this year and may have some flaws of their won, they match up well with these Tigers. The Giants don’t strike out a lot and don’t hit a lot of homers which means a lot of chances for opposing defenders to make fools out of themselves.  The Tigers, of course, have a defense that could very well be exposed in such an instance. Or maybe they could just defy the predispositions of Giants hitters and strike everyone out like they’ve been doing a lot of lately. I don’t know, but we kind of have a neat matchup in that regard.

Intangibles are pure rot, but if fan enthusiasm has any bearing on this sort of thing, the Giants should actually be your favorites. When I got off the plane at SFO, this was the first thing I saw in the airport:

source:

OK, that has nothing to do with anything apart from my never-ending wonder at how on-the-nose Californian this city can be.  But the point here is that I have been here before, several times over the past 15 or 20 years thanks to many friends calling it home, and never in all of those visits have I seen so much conspicuous Giants gear festooning the place.

I’m sure it was nutso in 2010 as well, but you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an old person wearing a Giants cap, a young person rocking Giants shirt, a bus flashing “Go Giants” from its route sign and every bar, restaurant, bodega and coffee shop sporting a banner or a sign (a couple of them still say “Beat L.A.,” but old habits die hard). And it’s not just in SoMa where I’m staying or right over in front of the park. It’s everywhere. Not long after I hit town last night I hopped a train down to have dinner with a friend in Belmont and the orange an black was flying high down there as well.

There’s an electricity in this city as I awake this morning. A bursting-at-the-seams energy that is poised to explode when Barry Zito — Barry Zito?! — throws the first pitch of Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. I’m assuming that electricity exists in other cities just before the World Series begins too, but this is my first World Series and I find it a remarkable departure from the norm.

And I kind of love it.

  1. xjokerz - Oct 24, 2012 at 6:04 AM

    Zito Vs Verlander game 1..almost as if the Giants are trying to give us game 1

    as for this..
    ” For personal reasons I watched the Tigers more this year than I had since I was 11″
    Translation – Tigers signed Fielder, and you quickly jumped on the bandwagon, don’t worry there’s room for all.

    • kiwicricket - Oct 24, 2012 at 6:25 AM

      2 Giant swings and misses there slugger. Try a little slap single to right when leading off next time.

      • xjokerz - Oct 24, 2012 at 6:42 AM

        i love the baseball references.. partner…but i see no misses in what i said, in all honestly Craig, San Fran is a beautiful city, now go get some body paint, balloons and join the rest of the ” G MEN ” in the parade.

      • kiwicricket - Oct 24, 2012 at 7:02 AM

        Watching the Tigers more might coincide with a new female partner of his being a massive Tigers fan? Perhaps? Nooooo, you had to be a bit of a dick about it.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:11 AM

        A bit of a dick Kiwi? No. A full fledged raging penis.

      • cur68 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        Kiwi lives on the bottom of the Earth and he’s got a better grasp of what’s going on than you, Xjoke. You must be new here, so I’ll refrain from really piling on. Tell ya what, though: there’s usually an on-line chat for the WS. Join in that and if it’s Craig hosting it (he’s kind of so-so at hosting them, though. Really. I hope its DJ. Anyhow…) you can ask him yourself what it’s like trolling a Tiger’s fan and getting embargoed from any female affection. Man must not want to get laid, like EVER.

      • nategearhart - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        C’mon guys, this dude doesn’t deserve comparison to the noble penis.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 24, 2012 at 7:46 AM

      Don’t jinx us, you fool!

    • sailcat54 - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Yes, it’s almost as if the Giants are trying to give you something, xjokerz, but it’s not the game. Giants ahead 4-0. Read ‘em and weep.

  2. kiwicricket - Oct 24, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    Wearing pants should help with your airport/airline issues, Craig.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 24, 2012 at 7:48 AM

      Also, the Morrissey t-shirt. You know they hassle him just for that…you know, to see how petulant he’ll get.

    • indaburg - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:04 AM

      With our ridiculous TSA rules, not wearing pants may actually streamline the process.

      • kiwicricket - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        I am willing to bet you one million dollars(Canadian) that if I walked into LAX completely stark naked, security would still ask me to take off my shoes, belt and empty my pockets.

      • nolanwiffle - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        They use real foldin’ money up there? I thought they still traded pelts and whale blubber.

      • indaburg - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        I know, right? I learn something new every day.

      • cur68 - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        Hey! its SEAL blubber, thank you very much! And we do SO have real folding money. I think we make it in Saskatoon or Ottawa or somewhere obscure like that. Either there or in Mexico. Whatever. Usually we just trade the seal blubber around. Regardless of any of this our Seal Blubber Based Currency is currently worth 1.0086 US dollars and maybe 10 NZ Sheep Dollars…or more. Don’t mock our currency or we’ll burn your capital again. This time we’ll stay, too.

      • kevinbnyc - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        There was a guy who stripped naked after having to consent to a pat down at security. It was his form of protest against the TSA. He was arrested.

        I’ll collect that $1 million Canadian ($12,000 US) anytime Kiwi.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        Amusingly, when I visited Quebec, I got a survey in the mail afterwards. Not only do they let Staters grade them on their tourism, they’d outsourced it to a company in Dallas.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        In all fairness though, Randy, I believe that dude was from Oklahoma — in which case I’m pretty sure he was packing naked.

        And, Cur, you better watch yourself because we still might convince the French to make a joint assault. It is, after all, what our Founding Fathers wanted.

      • cur68 - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:09 PM

        Valentine runs the Fench over while texting on a bicycle: they are not hard to defeat. A pre-school day out could involve defeating the French. So long as they get done before nap time (which they would) the pre-schoolers would have no trouble at all.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 24, 2012 at 7:34 PM

        Yeah, well…um…BASEBALL!!!!

  3. phisticuffs - Oct 24, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    Be careful where you swing dead cats, Craig. You’re not in Ohio anymore.

  4. proudlycanadian - Oct 24, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    Greetings Craig. As a died in the wool Braves fan, I must remind you of an important event that happened in Atlanta twenty years ago today. The Braves lost the World Series. The Toronto Blue Jays became the first team from outside the US to win the World Series. Mike Timlin still has the ball from the last out. Playing first base, Joe Carter made the last put out of the series. A year later, he would score the last run of the 1993 World Series. Dave Winfield finally got a World Series ring. I do not want to talk about the 1994 World Series which should have been won by the Expos.

    • heyblueyoustink - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:17 AM

      I hate dying in wool, so….so….so….scratchy

      • kiwicricket - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:42 AM

        All this talking about sheep is making me uncomfortable.

  5. Old Gator - Oct 24, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Craig: you do need to get over to Sears (the restaurant, not the department store) a block and a half north of Union Square for breakfast. The little Swedish lingonberry pancakes. That is all.

    • 4d3fect - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      There’s a dozen places I could think of right now to recommend in Craig’s first eat-your-way-across-the-city tour. Early breakfast at Dottie’s (prob not too far from your room) would be a good start.

      • APBA Guy - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        I actually prefer Wise Sons Deli to Dottie’s, but it sounds like he’s staying closer to Dottie’s.

      • 4d3fect - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:39 PM

        I screwed that up anyway, Dottie’s not open til 7:30

      • clydeserra - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        All good suggestions as Craig has been here before, but any multiple day trip to San Francisco should include at least 3 meals at different Taquerias.

        APBA guy, you must be close to me.

    • IdahoMariner - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      oh my god, yes! damn you gator, now i really am homesick…

  6. thinman61 - Oct 24, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    I predict the team that wears orange will win. Oh, wait…

  7. beelza - Oct 24, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    If Detroit wins games 1 and 2, it’s over in 5.

  8. yankeesfanlen - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    A casual poll of my Tigersfan friends indicate that even though they don’t know how they got this far, they now expect them to win. I feel they are correct, but it will probably take 6 or 7.

  9. mcs7584 - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    American Airlines can suck it. After canceling a return flight from Boston earlier this month on a mere 12 hours’ notice (three of which were spent on the phone trying to find an alternate route home), I’ve decided to boycott American Airlines. This weekend I have to be in Lubbock, Texas, and while I could fly American through Dallas to get there from here, instead I’m looking forward to the nine-hour drive.

    And so I don’t get lambasted for not talking baseball: Go Giants! (In six games.)

    • kiwicricket - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      Respect. I will never fly Alaskan Airlines(it’s often the connecting flight up to Vancouver) or go through LAX ever again. Worst international airport in the world, with what seems to be 95% of the people working in there going out of their way to be rude to you.
      As you said, they can suck it.

  10. vincentbojackson - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    I have a feeling if the Tigers win 4 games they’ll win the series.

    You heard it here first.

  11. heyblueyoustink - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    I’ve never encountered pan handlers as I have in San Francisco. Been to most of the major cities and there’s nothing like it. Alcatraz was cool, I got the local’s tour of the city and outskirts, as well as the Dirty Harry tour, but what I rememeber most is the pan handlers: just…. so many of them

    • IdahoMariner - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      have ya been to seattle? holy cow….

  12. hojo20 - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    I recommend Tommy’s Joynt on VanNess/Geary for a quality hoffbrau dinner.

  13. redux23 - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    I’m surprised you were able to find a hotel with a basement suite.

  14. sdelmonte - Oct 24, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    1. I’m flying American this weekend (going to Columbus, in fact, which means Craig timed it just right). Can’t say I am enthused about my flights now. Can’t say I was before, either. (Craig, it used to be really easy to fly to your town. That is sadly not the case anymore.)

    2. The last time I recall any sort of WS electricity in NYC was 2000. I could give a long list of why we don’t get jazzed for it anymore, but the bottom line is that you should cherish what you are seeing in the city by the bay.

  15. chumthumper - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    So, I guess the 88-win Tigers deserved to be in the playoffs and the 88-win Cardinals did not? Someone’s gonna win and someone gonna lose. The Cards served themselves up as road kill the last three games, but that doesn’t lessen the fact that they qualified for the playoffs within MLB’s new format. Their magic wore out.

  16. number42is1 - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    This works on so many different levels

    Fidel Castro: Comrads, our nation is completely bankrupt! We have no choice but to abandon communism!
    Castro’s Aide, Castro’s Associates: [sigh]
    Fidel Castro: I know, I know, I know… but we all knew from day one this mumbo jumbo wouldn’t fly! I’ll call Washington and tell them they won.
    Castro’s Aide: But presidente, America tried to kill you!
    Fidel Castro: Ah, they’re not so bad. They even named a street after me in San Francisco!
    [Aide #2 whispers something into his ear]
    Fidel Castro: It’s full of what?

    • historiophiliac - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      Too bad spelling and satire were not two of those levels.

      • number42is1 - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        http://www.hk94.com/hk/uploadgal/gallery/album_195/gallery_1_195_65489.jpg

      • cur68 - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:29 AM

        I think you can count “good taste” in there as well.

      • number42is1 - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        I’m a little surprised that you missed that Simpsons reference Cur…

  17. greymares - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    I predict that this series will get the lowest T.V. ratings of all time. I sense apathy from a lot of known baseball people unless your a fan of either team or earn your living through the industry you really don’t care. but as a fan of National League baseball and a national league team. GO GIANTS.

    • kiwicricket - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Who honestly gives a rat’s ass about ratings of…..well…anything?
      If you like it, you watch it.
      It has to be confirmed as a blockbuster in the ratings before people decide to watch something?
      Rather sheepish.

      The continual and painful comparison between the NFL and Baseball is completely and utterly uniquely American. They are two completely different sports, one is played in summer the other in winter. Who cares besides network executives?

      If you compared Cricket and Rugby in commonwealth countries, people would actually laugh at you and tell you to calm down.

      • greymares - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:51 AM

        i dont beleive i compared baseball to football i compared the teams that are in the series to teams that could have been. your right if you want to watch it go ahead, but i think those that will is a small number in other words the majority wont give a rats ass.

  18. stex52 - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    San Francisco is a lot of fun. Love the visits, but we tend to stay on across the Bay around Berkley (family considerations). Recommending a restaurant is a fool’s errand (so much good), but I will jump in with Cafe Fanny in Berkely for breakfast. An Alice Waters joint.

    The only problem is, the Bay area is so crowded. After about 2-3 days I’m ready to head north for so peace and quiet, or maybe down to Monterrey. If you ever wonder where all the hippies went after the ’60’s, head for northern California/ sourhern Oregon.

    • kiwicricket - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      I made the mistake of renting a car and trying to get out to Napa on the weekend. I almost cried. Completely agree about northern CA/OR.
      Get onto the G.G bridge, hang a left and follow the coast for as far as you like. Sneak through the Sanoma hills on the way back and pick up a couple bottles of rouge. Fantastic drive.

      • stex52 - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:01 PM

        One of my favorite drives. Spent our 25th anniversary in Fort Bragg some years back. Everything is just so kicked back.

    • IdahoMariner - Oct 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      no, no, no. Okay, north of the city is gorgeous, but… go south on highway 1, as far as San Luis Obispo. SOme of the most beautiful coastline you will ever find in your life, along with several awesome towns with great food along the way. just sayin’.

  19. indaburg - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    How jealous am I of Craig! Let me count the ways. There’s nothing like that electric feeling in a city in the throes of World Series passion, and to be in arguably the prettiest of American cities during autumn at the same time. So, so jealous. Looking forward to your reports.

    • mrwillie - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      Couldn’t agree more. I love San Francisco, and throw in the WS….I don’t think I’d sleep.

  20. nategearhart - Oct 24, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Fellow commenters, could we maybe get just one World Series related post without a bunch of bad gay jokes? I’d settle for just one. Thanks.

  21. historiophiliac - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Last night was Baseball Eve but I did manage to sleep. I hit the liquor store so I’d be sure to have cold beer for tonight and warmed up with a little smack talk with my buddies. Is it time yet? I’m ready!

  22. bigtunany - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Have dinner at House of Prime Rib, Craig. It’s a man’s man dinner, and you can also call yourself a Cardiac Kid afterwards

  23. joecool16280 - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    If you want an exceptional meal check out The Boulevard.

  24. APBA Guy - Oct 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    And don’t forget to have post game cocktails at Smuggler’s Cove.

    http://smugglerscovesf.com/trapdoor/

    Craig is right about the Giants’ gear, though. It’s everywhere. Look closely and you’ll see some left-overs from 2010,

    None of that matters, of course, and even the ratings are meaningless to the cities involved, as we’ll all be watching.

    Best still, the weather appears to be typically gorgeous today.

    Have fun in SF, Craig!

  25. foreverchipper10 - Oct 24, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Craig,

    Have dinner at Forbes Island one night. You literally get picked up on a boat/ferry by the owner who is a bajillionaire and he takes you to the island which is a converted ship. You then go downstairs for dinner and can look out the windows and see that yes, you are eating dinner UNDERWATER. It is really, really cool and a unique experience. I was there about a year and a half ago and have a postcard sitting on my desk here at work.

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