We're all Giants: Joe Eskenazi
It's been over a month, but at KALW News, we're still celebrating the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory. We're not kidding, either – next Thursday's Crosscurrents will be all about the team, the torture of being a Giants fan and, of course, the indescribable sweetness of a World Series win. To prepare for the show, we spoke with fans all around the Bay Area to get their best Giants fan stories. Here's one from SF Weekly editor Joe Eskenazi.
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ESKENAZI: The Giants have been something that has weighed upon me for a long time. In 2002, after Game 6, I think every true fan new that that was it. I called up my best friend, who I had led into Giants fandom in the ‘80s, with just my sheer enthusiasm. I told him, I quote, “I’m sorry I got you into this.”
Now I have a foreign born wife who has taken to following the Giants because of my enthusiasm. And it was a deep fear of mine that the team would falter on the moment of triumph, and I would introduce another person to the darkness of what it is to be a Giants fan.
I’ve always said it bothers me how much it bothers me. Regarding the way that I watch the Giants, and the way it matters so much. And I’m not a screamer – it just eats you up, you know. It was years – years – that I didn’t think about the Game 6 every day, just in some fleeting moment when you’re not thinking about anything else. So like a lot of Giants fans, I was very reticent to open up.
I think the moment that sticks out in my mind was Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. I’ve just had surgery. I tore a ligament in my knee playing softball – my own fleeting glory of diamond stardom. And I was on my parents’ couch. I was very much immobile. I didn’t want to watch McCarver and Buck, so I was just listening on radio. So I’m on the couch under ... fairly doped up, and sweating, and listening to Brian Wilson putting on the potential tying and winning runs, and working the count full with Ryan Howard.
And then in the split second between Jon Miller calling the called strike three, and just maybe the intonation where he takes a breath or something like that, and I realize that it’s over, he struck him out ... I also realize that I haven’t breathed in about two minutes. And I hyperventilated and nearly fell off the couch. And I did legitimately lose all the feeling in my face and in my arms, and it didn’t come back for a long time.
My wife didn’t understand how I could get so worked up, but I think people understand. What I decided this year is that this is who I am, and I’m not gonna try and be different. It doesn’t make sense to get this worked up over the success and failure of what is essentially a business that markets itself to us as San Franciscans – I’m a native San Franciscan and I guess I’m born to it – but I’m not gonna try and be different, this is who I am. And it means that much to me, and I’m just gonna go with it.
It was, more than anything else, a tremendous relief that they won this year. It was a relief that I no longer have to follow the games as if it was a matter of life and death, and I can just enjoy them for what they are, and I don’t have to worry about all the failure adding up and adding up and adding up, and I can just enjoy the games from now on.
It’ll still mean a lot, but it’ll be healthier I think. That’s what the World Series meant to me.
Do you have a Giants fan story you'd like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And tune in to KALW 91.7 FM next Thursday, December 16 at 5 p.m. for an entire half-hour of Giants stories.