Daylight savings + warm weather = baseball season! Despite having one of the most beautiful stadiums in the nation, San Francisco never seemed to be much of a baseball town. That is, until the San Francisco Giants pulled off an awesome World Series win last fall. Every night of the playoffs, the whole town excitedly crowded into bars and poured out to the streets. When the Beard threw his final strike to secure the win, the scene was unprecedented – Marina girls French-kissed hipsters, homeless people got married, and Muni drivers actually smiled, it was wild!
Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Giants
The Bay Area has not one, but two major league baseball teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s. The Giants will surely be popular this year, but don’t discount the A’s. I’ve always considered the A’s to be a bit more “real.” First off, they’re based in Oakland (Oakland = real, duh). Their stadium is dirtier, their fans more aggressive, the floors more sticky, and the beers, less expensive. The stadium serves real ballpark food, you know, classic hot dogs, garlic fries, Bud Light.
I’ve liked the A’s ever since I was picking up a Thanksgiving turkey with my mom at a farm outside of Boston at the age of 8. As we waited for our name to be called, the guy in front of us responded when the turkey-seller yelled “Eckersley? Eckersley?” My mom tapped him and said “Is it…Dennis Eckersley?” and the mustached man turned and winked at both of us. It was a moment out of that US Weekly magazine section that denotes “Celebrities are just like us! They pick up Thanksgiving turkeys!”
Maybe it’s the Boston in me. When I was growing up, the curse of the Bambino interminably hovered over Fenway Park. It was incredibly easy to get tickets to a game. The bleacher seats were $2 and were filled with fat guys using binoculars to check out the boobs on every chick who sauntered by. The omnipresent Citgo sign always had some missing neon. The concrete floors were carpeted with peanut shells and there was lots of screaming and unabashedly berating the Red Sox players. Then they won the World Series, and everything changed. Suddenly, everybody LOVED the Red Sox and claimed to be a fan. We call these “pink hats.” (Pink Hat = someone who knows nothing of baseball, but converts to a fan once it becomes cool to do so).
The Giants definitely attract the pink hats more so than the A’s. Pink hats buy and wear the Giants gear, sit in the club level seats, and chat mindlessly over glasses of chilled Sauvignon Blanc while thinking about salad. Oh yes, AT&T Park has chilled white wine…and Cabernet…and $12 pints of Anchor Steam. It also boasts pulled pork sandwiches, strawberry shortcake, and Dungeness crab. Overall, it’s a much more civilized experience than most of America’s ballparks. That being said, it’s certainly no less enjoyable and there’s no doubt the stadium is gorgeous.
Whether you’re an A’s fan, a Giants fan, or even a pink hat, check out the schedule and get out to a game! The Giants are in town this weekend through next week facing the Cardinals followed by the dreaded Dodgers. The cheapest tickets seem to be around $20 – 35, but look for online discounts. The A’s are out of town this weekend, but return April 14 – 20, facing first the Tigers, then the Red Sox. Tickets start at $9. You can take BART to the A’s games and MUNI to the Giants.