"All across the nation such a strange vibration...People in motion. There's a whole generation with a new explanation...people in motion, people in motion." - Scott McKenzie, San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)Prior this series, I had such high hopes.
I believed the Mets might have been victims of circumstance. That a pre-All Star Break slide was just circumstantial. That they could have easily won a few games. They were in a funk. Carlos Beltran would cure all.
And then came the series in San Francisco.
Here's the thing though. As many of the MSFers know, I took a West Coast Road Trip by myself last year. The last time I had been in San Francisco was in 2004, and that was the last time (as well as the first time) I had been at Telecom-Conglomerate-Insert-Name-Here Park (Now AT&T Park, then SBC Park). To tell the full story of my "attachment," if you will, to this stadium, I'll have to bring up my first-cousin-once-removed Mark. He moved to the west coast from the Jerz in 1973. I met him and visited the city for the first time in 1999. It was love at first sight, for both. For years and years, I had heard old war stories of cousin Mark and my dad Mr. E. Let's cut to the chase: they were up to no good most of the time.
I had Mission Burritos. I had seen the Pacific Ocean. I had seen a real west coast sunset. I had ridden a Cable Car.
Mark had shown me my first West Coast stadium, driving in the area that the stadium was located. Since it was the offseason, no games were going on of course. However, I had glimpsed the stadium and that was enough for me. From afar, I could see then that the design was similar to an East Coast favorite of mine, in Camden Yards. It wasn't until 2004 though that I was able revisit the stadium, this time due to an actual game. I thought it was charming, but I had gone with two other non-baseball aficionados. I sat in my seats all night, not that it was a problem. However, I didn't take many pictures and I was pretty non-plussed about the whole situation anyway.
Yet after last season, and I had visited the Southern California stadiums (read that most-Southern Stadium, Disneyland aka California, and Thinking Blue), I realized I needed to get back to AT&T Park. It wasn't because I hadn't been there or wanted to give it a new look. It was because I LOVE San Francisco, and felt the need to compare to what he had here now, in Flushing.
Visiting it again, six years after the fact, more than one game, and seeing how the security and staff treated their fans (like a hindrance, and these were all rent-a-cops who created traffic while trying to cause "traffic control"), I would have to say...I not only like CitiField more (that says a lot, since I'm not 100% in love with it), but I can say if I ever moved to San Francisco (not sayin'), and this was my home stadium (just sayin'), I'll probably spend a lot of time in Oakland Coliseum if I ever want to watch baseball (and this is a stadium I have ZERO desire to visit, like, ever).
Let me 'splain.
The Mets were in town for four games. Since I love San Francisco, the city, I only wanted to do three games, so I wouldn't have to be beholden to each night/afternoon at the waterfront. Hey, I'm a baseball fan...but I do love being a San Franciscan as long as I can pretend to be.
Here's my thing with San Francisco though, as a baseball city: it's second suitor (for those of you who know Mallrats know to what I am referring). Unless you crawled out from under a rock yesterday, you know that the San Francisco Giants were once upon a time the New York Giants. Some of you young whipper snappers may not realize that, especially if you are a Mets fan, because the ownership especially do not like to acknowledge the fact that the Mets are the descendants of Brooklyn Dodgers (blue) and New York Giants (orange).
That said, I have to make an observation.
I was warned prior to my L.A. baseball trip that I would like Dodger Stadium, I'd like the atmosphere, I'd LOVE the baseball and team history. It would be the fans I would not like. Well, I did not have a problem with the fans. In fact, I felt the people I talked to that night last year were knowledgeable and passionate...heck, *I* was the one who left early that night (since I had been at a game at Anaheim at 1 pm earlier in the day). Again, I had no issues with anyone doing the wave, beach balls, etc. The things that other fans had warned me about I did not observe.
I did NOT like San Francisco Giants fans. Every single one of them was fucking obnoxious. EVERY ONE. Loudmouthed. Rude. Zero respect for others. Had to rub it in for every loss. And I mean, why? Clearly, there was respect to be paid if we made a trip (it was obvious we were SO not from there). If we were talking shit the entire game like a Yankees fan perhaps, then bring it on.
Then I realized something as I walked out with Studious Metsimus.
I love a lot of San Francisco Giants players. I love Willie Mays. Heart Juan Marichal. Appreciate Willie McCovey. Despite what you think about Barry Bonds, he *was* one of the greats, even before HGH of course.
The fans though, they are angry. They are unfulfilled.
They have never won a World Championship since moving to the West Coast.
Unlike the Mets, who seem to not embrace the New York Giants part of their history, which is as rich if not more than the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Giants fans have no choice but to relish in the championships that the team who played in the Polo Grounds brought them, many of them, before they were born.
I like that they acknowledge their New York past, but they truly have no choice in the matter. They have fallen quite short on the left coast side.
Then, I pitied them.
I felt bad for them once I realized it, and could almost identify with them (ALMOST) especially with the quote above. All the "Mets suck" (I mean, they can't do any better than that?) comments, all the dirty looks, snide comments about the games, obnoxious cheers...I understood it and I felt bad about them. After all, if I were as unfulfilled as them and had no identity tied to the own city they played in, I might be as angry as they are too.
Plus, I mean, they have to listen to JON MILLER, Bel-TRONs and all, as their hometown announcer. That really has to blow, right?
So bitches...212 area code. Call me when you guys have actually won SOMETHING, kthxbye? Love, the Coop.
All right, now that I'm done getting that off my chest, I will say this: AT&T Park is a lovely park.
I think it has more to do with my attachment to the city of San Francisco for example and not so much the park itself. There are certainly charming areas to it -- McCovey Cove, the palm trees, the cute little seals that pop out of the neon lights in the right field entrance...
Then of course the charming homeless dudes who try to get money to pay for hookers are always a San Francisco treat.
I still feel a little middle-of-the-road on this stadium. I love the atmosphere, love the city, love the history.
Hate the fans. That experience can weigh down an opposing team's visit quite a bit. Perhaps that's why I didn't mind Dodger Stadium when I went last year. Since the Mets were not there, I had no vested in the interest in the outcome.
Guess I gotta go back there too.
I will be weighing in on this abortion of a road trip tomorrow probably. Until then, please visit my piece over at Metsmerized Online, "Playing not to Lose." I posted it tonight since tomorrow, the whole leadership factor of it may be obsolete.
I have two more posts coming up on my trip to San Francisco, one the "people" factor, and one on the K-Rod blown Santana save. Fun stuff I witness, right? Where's the toilet paper???