Last Saturday I was at a bar on Geary Street in San Francisco to watch what turned out to be the final game of the National League Division Series between the Giants and the Phillies. The Giants won! Go Giants!
There was a lot of hype coming into that game around the bay area and in the city. Many people that I know who don’t watch baseball at all had jumped on the bandwagon and claiming to be big fans. I think if you spoke to the four other people I was with that day, they would admit to be fair weather fans. Through out the game I was getting text messages from friends of mine who wouldn’t know a baseball from a watermelon.
This sort of fan-ship doesn’t bother me because its exciting to be in a town where fans do come out to support the team albeit fair-weather. I grew up in Iowa where the most excitement towards sports was a the Butter Sculpture Contest at the Iowa State Fair and you really only go to that to meet chicks.
This Giants game took over this bar. There must have been 20 flat screen tv’s and two projection screens devoted to the game and the place was shoulder to shoulder all the way to the door. Our local Fire Marshall would have been proud. But there was an anomaly in one of the far distant corners of the bar. There was one small TV in the corner devoted to a UFC fight. This corner was devoted exclusively to a hand full of UFC faithful who had thought ahead to call the bar and request that one TV be dedicated to this fight. I remember thinking that they were the true fans of this sport. To be at a bar where every TV in the bar was tuning into baseball. Let alone every bar in SF had tuned into NLDS baseball (I heard college football wasn’t even playing in many bars). These guys weren’t just there, but they called the bar ahead of time to reserve one TV in the back for this fight.
These guys didn’t even react to any of the excitement of the baseball. When both benches cleared and got Jonathan Sanchez (the Giants starter)taken out of the game, these guys paid no attention. When the entire bar went absolutely bonkers when Juan Uribe hit the game winning homer in the 8th inning these guys didn’t even look up.
I give these guys credit. Half the bar was probably filled with fans of the Giants that only were fans from about a week prior. These guys were the true followers of the sport. I’m not sure when the big final match is for UFC. I don’t follow fighting or boxing or any of that but I wonder if these guys would look at a crowded bar during a UFC fight and say “Where were you guys last October when it was just the five of us?”