In the course of the good-natured trash-talking that often goes on between competing sports towns, it is sometimes implied that the San Francisco Bay Area is not an especially hospitable city for sports.
For example, in the run-up to the San Francisco Giants' clobbering of the Detroit Tigers in this year's World Series, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press made a bit of hay with regard to the relative comfort AT&T Park offers Giants fans, who watch games while sipping on Pinot Noir and nibbling on sweet potato fries.
"The Giants have a Build-A-Bear Workshop in the stands behind left field," wrote columnist Jeff Seidel. "Seriously. How the heck can you lose to a team where the fans can go to a game and stuff a teddy bear and then buy a cute little outfit?"
However, in an article published earlier this month, the brainy sports obsessives over at Grantland took a big sniff of the San Francisco Bay Area's sports culture, swirled it around in their wine glass and realized that all of the region's sports-related quirks, not to mention its notably laid-back brand of fandom, are crucial parts of what made San Francisco the site's "Sports City of the Year."
It doesn't hurt that a lot of the teams in the region are doing quite well at the moment. Writer Hua Hsu expounds:
A different strain of excellence is coming into focus, one that's been quietly incubating for a few years. The Giants won the World Series and the 49ers came within a few plays of the Super Bowl; the A's continued to be scrappy and unkillable, and the Warriors are beginning to feel relevant again. The Sharks remain a force (albeit a perennially underperforming one) in that bygone thing called professional hockey. The Raiders continue to not fall into a pit of lava.
Also, don't forget our favorite new team, the Bulls!
While there's been a bit of recent bit of real estate-related friction between the Giants and Warriors over the latter's proposed waterfront arena, the Bay Area's teams are noted for a general sense of easy camaraderie.
49ers quarterback Alex Smith was almost fined $15,000 by the NFL when he wore a Giants hat during a press conference. Later, following the Giants' World Series win, he and coach/"Saved By the Bell" guest star Jim Harbaugh acted as chauffeurs in the victory parade.
Speaking of Smith, where else but in San Francisco would fans not only question Harbaugh's decision to bench Smith in favor of heavily-tattooed phenom Colin Kaepernick on the grounds of it being the best path to the the Super Bowl, but also that it might hurt Smith's feelings?