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Stefanie Lee

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The Roaring Twenties: Spring Training

Posted: 10/26/11 01:00 PM ET

SFTs, have you ever been to a Giants game?

I realize that this question isn't particularly timely, what with our men in orange and black not performing quite as well as we had hoped this season, but I want to ask it anyway. If you live in BART-vicinity of AT&T Park, I sincerely hope you've made the effort.

San Francisco doesn't exactly strike most people as a sports town. If you don't believe me, visit any major city in the Midwest and you'll see what I mean. (Someone had to invent the cheese head, guys. That is undeniable team loyalty.)

We San Franciscans don't really flock to sports bars the way that out-of-towners do; in fact, most sports bars are for out-of-towners. I guess they need some sort of sanctuary from all the organic produce and liberal politics. (Kidding! Welcome to San Francisco, visitors!) Plus, half of the Bay Area's teams aren't even based in San Francisco.

The closest basketball team is on the other side of the bay, as is the most athletically inclined university, and the hockey and soccer teams are an hour's drive away. I won't even get into the specifics of trying to get to Candlestick Park to watch the 49ers, because you probably already have a headache just thinking about it.

Yet San Francisco is a sports town. It's just a subtle one. A very large proportion of San Franciscans, from Marina collar-poppers to Mission hipsters to FiDi suits to Haight hobos, rock some piece of Giants paraphernalia. Most don the classic orange-on-black cap, pullover jacket, or wacky panda hat, while others opt for player-numbered shirts or weirdly practical scarves.

And none of these items ever goes out of style. Even though it's been a year since that glorious World Series win, we all still share that experience, that certain intangible feeling of elation and relief that washed over everyone after the final out last November. Seeing that "SF" logo on your fellow city-dwellers is a happy reminder of that common bond.

If you're one of those people who -- for shame! -- hasn't made the effort yet, get ready for spring. AT&T Park is an incredible venue for baseball and a historic site in the making. (Barry Bonds, anyone?) It's got pretty lights and shooting water and an oversized Coke bottle with a slide inside and garlic fries and a sweet view of the East Bay and a good number of other SFTs in attendance and... oh, yeah, the baseball-watching part is rad, too.

You'll meet people, you'll drink beer, you'll learn something about sports. It's a triple win, and hopefully a quadruple if the home team comes out on top. If you're on the fence about it, you can literally stand behind the right field fence and watch for a few innings for free. Or, if you can't wait that long, you can see how you feel about the park now by watching a Cal football game there.

Bears fans, be warned, though: I attended the Cal-Utah game last weekend and, while I could actually see the players on the field and not worry as much about falling into the Hayward Fault, I found myself quite disoriented. Somehow, it just doesn't make sense for a team to score a touchdown in the vicinity of home plate. Sports worlds are not supposed to collide like that, despite what Deion Sanders may have you think.

But I digress. Support sports in this city, because we'd all be a bunch of artisan coffee-drinking, fail whale-loathing, fixie bike-riding nut jobs without it. Sports -- and the Giants, most recently -- link us individualistic San Franciscans to each other and to the real world, whatever that means.