As most San Francisco Giants fans see when they watch the team on television, the team has a great following throughout the country. I had the opportunity to visit the happiest place on earth, the one with the mouse ears, not the one at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. And boy were the Giants fans representing their team there.
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In a land where the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers of, well Los Angeles, are supposed to be the hometown teams, the San Francisco Giants had more fans showing their orange and black than any other team.
My week-long vacation was spent in both parks, and spanned the morning and evening. As I walked in the very first day I was inspired to write this piece by an employee working the security area. She looked at my Giants sweatshirt and asked if the team was in town. Not wanting to get too deep into discussion about the off-season and everything, I just said no and asked why. Her response was that she had seen so many people wearing Giants gear that she thought they were in town.
I told her that the team’t success has led to a lot of new fans, and hopefully that she will see an even greater increase in November of this year. She smiled.
Going into the first park I did see a couple of fellow fans, giving several nods to some quick “Go Giants” comments. I then walked into one of the rides. The attendant jokingly says to me, “We only accept people on this ride who are following a team that will make the playoffs this year.” To which I replied, “If Jeff Samardzija goes .500 this year, the Giants will win 90 games.” He thought I was a fairweather, but he was mistaken.
After those two interactions, I decided to start tallying the Giants gear and that of any other major league baseball team. It wasn’t quite a two to one ratio in the Giants favor, but it was close. I counted 62 people wearing Giants apparel of some kind (hat,shirt,etc.) and 36 in Dodgers gear. There were 10 Angels fans (mostly Mike Trout Jerseys) and 6 “others”.
Several times during our trip, I shared nice conversations with people who were proudly wearing the SF on their hat, it’s like being part of a fraternity, or going into a Target in an unfamiliar town, kind of makes you feel normal.
With the Giants success, this fraternity will only increase in size. And, like the Golden State Warriors, some fans are not pledging allegiance to their local teams.
With the MLB package available, exclusively outside of the local market, it actually encourages fans to follow teams outside of the area. Not that a team like the Giants have any worries there. They sell out every night and have a great announcing team to keep them interested on tv and the radio. Fans in other markets don’t have that luxury. (In fact, the Dodgers are blacked out locally for Directv subscribers, and have been for two seasons.)
So those teams better stay relevant, or they risk losing the casual fan to the black and orange.
I’m sure you have heard the crowds in San Diego when the Giants face the Padres. It’s embarrassing when you hit a home run at home and the ball gets thrown back onto the field. (Not sure if that’s really happened)
Not all fans are from the local areas either. The excitement around the team also has fans planning trips around the team’s schedule. Booking trips to Florida during a meeting between the Giants and Marlins isn’t out of the ordinary for die-hard fans. Sometimes taking the drive down the coast might be the only way to see the team play the Dodgers, as the tickets at AT&T Park can be scarce.
My hypothesis when I started the experiment was that I would see at least a one to one ratio between Giants and Dodgers gear. After seeing the Giants fans nearly double the Dodgers, as far as representation, (and that’s after the Dodgers were the number 2-seed in the playoffs after winning the division), it shows what a lasting affect a World Championship has.
I have never seen as many Giants hats in southern California in my life. And I expect to see an even bigger increase in the future. And ss has been said plenty of times by the players, announcers, and front office, the San Francisco Giants have the best fans in baseball.