It’s a tradition in the big leagues to honor your fans on the last day of the season. This is commonly referred to as a “Fan Appreciation Day,” and attendees can expect a giveaway of some kind and an announcement over the loudspeakers.
To be fair, it can be a depressing day as most teams don’t qualify for the playoffs and the last game of the season marks the end of summer, especially for those with a calendar year starting when “Pitchers and receivers introduce themselves”.
Well, that wasn’t the case in sunny San Francisco this year. The Giants took their appreciation to another level on Sunday, hosting a full-fledged “Fan Day” with a dash of exultation for the flavor. In Game 162 of the season, with the National Western League title on the line and the formidable Dodgers soaring, the Giants put in a performance that will go down in team history, on so many levels, overwhelming. the Padres 11-4.
In doing so, the Giants set a franchise record for wins – in the New York and San Francisco eras – recording their 107th win of the season. Starting pitcher Logan Webb put in a truly remarkable performance, pitching seven wonderful innings and a day at home, scoring three times, including his first career homerun. He looked like the big kid on your son’s little team. He was just better than everyone in the field.
It was the team’s first division title since 2012. They fought off a Dodgers team that never gave up, forcing LA to face the very tough Cardinals in a one-game wild card on Wednesday. The Giants proved all enemies wrong and completed one of the greatest divisional races in baseball history. And guess what? They did so on October 3 – the same date that Bobby Thompson of the New York Giants hit the “Shot Heard” Round the World “to win the pennant exactly 70 years ago.
So here is. There was a lot of good mojo in the air at Oracle Park on Sunday, and fans couldn’t get enough of it.
“We had so many points this season to give up… and we never did. We fought back, ”manager Gabe Kapler said in a post-game speech to the crowd. He spoke of intangibles – tenacity, courage and vision. “I thought we had a lot of talent. But I was not sure. … I am very grateful to each of you and everyone who has supported us throughout the season. Thank you!”
The crowd went mad and the team left the field in their new division champion t-shirts, heading for champagne showers and a few well-deserved days off. For fans, the dreamy tunes of Tony Bennett singing about leaving his heart somewhere in this fantastic city quickly filled the air and the celebration reached its climax.
To be frank, it was an exciting time throughout, starting with an early morning hatchback before the 12:05 pm departure. Vendors and hawkers were doing booming business on the Embarcadero and beyond, selling newly minted Kris Bryant jerseys, alongside proven favorites of Posey and Crawford. White “captain” hats, like the skipper used to Gilligan’s Island, also became very popular items, worn in honor of injured slugger Brandon Belt, who declared himself a team captain in the middle of the season. ‘stretching. It’s not a look for everyone, but some can pull it off. Use your judgment
At McCovey Cove, kayaks piled up and people rode on every flotation device imaginable, including SUP boards and inflatable boats. It was such a sweet and beautiful day in the city, I saw a guy swimming in the murky waters of the canal. I hope he has antibiotics at home.
In the cheap seats, where the good times always pass, I bumped into Chris Hargarten and Antonia Lopez, hanging out with a large group of family and friends in the centerfield cable car. Both from San Franciscans, these people have suffered from the torture of giants since the days of the candlesticks. They were just two of 36,901 participants in Oracle Sunday.
“Dude, I’m telling you,” Hargarten, 37, said. “I’ve been a fan my whole life. It looked a lot like 1993, until the last game. It brought back memories.”
It was, of course, the year the Giants won 103 games, but missed the playoffs with a last game loss to the Dodgers. The Braves won 104 that year and San Francisco lost. Many consider that year the greatest divisional race in history. This year could very well beat her, even if the existence of the wild card takes part of the spur of coming in second. Yes, we’re talking to you, LA
“It’s just exhilarating,” said Lopez, who gave his age as a “bonus.” “That was the definition of torture in the last game. But you could feel it in the air. … We knew that today would be the day.
“It’s like this wonderful soap opera we’ve all been waiting for.”
Indeed. As the Giants turn and your stomach turns. Prepare for more torture, starting Friday in the divisional playoffs. And remember, these are the days of our lives.