The Giants won the World Series because they’re better than the Royals. If you want to drill down on that, you’re welcome to, but you’ll hit silicate crust pretty goddam fast. Madison Bumgarner is unhittable in big games. Hunter Pence is one of the most well-rounded players in the Major Leagues. Pablo Sandoval is one of the most, well, rounded players in the Major Leagues, but the son of a bitch can hit. The Giants deserved the championship, their third in five years, but they’re not heroes. San Francisco is the new evil empire.
Let’s talk about the City by the Bay, which America’s best and brightest engineers have spent the last decade retrofitting into the world’s largest office park. Criticizing SF used to feel like mocking your slightly effeminate favorite cousin. You wouldn’t do it and God help anyone else who tried. Today, it’s hard to think of anything nice to say. The self-consciously hip environs of the Mission may be the most “real" part of a city that has been taken over by men who prefer graceful UX to interpersonal contact. (The homeless people in the Tenderloin aren’t even from SF; they’re just in town from Venice Beach.) And, even worse, the techies have attracted those Wharton and Harvard MBAs that affix themselves to "innovators" like a selvedge denim-wearing lampreys. These are the fans in Buster Posey jerseys with the tags still on that danced on Valencia and burned couches they probably bought at West Elm on the sidewalk.
Remember this: The bandwagon Giants fans are also the bandwagon 49ers fans, the people who think think Jim Harbaugh is doing for pleated khakis what Steve Jobs did for the turtleneck – and that that’s a good thing. Harbaugh isn’t a genius, he’s a jerk and Colin Kaepernick – he of the bicep smooches – may be the least likable player in the NFL. He preens, scrambles, and, if something goes wrong, falls next to his sword. And who blames him. He’s lives in San Francisco, where failure is called “pivoting” and success (read: getting bought for an inflated price by Yahoo) is greeted by status-conscious dissemblers who “went to school in Palo Alto" with little more than entitled shrugs.
The San Francisco Giants are never going to be the Joe Torre-era Yankees, unbeatable, unlovable, and unbelievably efficient. But we don’t live in the nineties anymore. Today, we resent bearded bro-grammers with a ferocity once reserved for high-frequency traders and fear the likes of 4Chan, an online collective whose members could easily infiltrate the hirsute and tubby Giants’ clubhouse.
The name on that clubhouse – not incidentally – belongs to Mike Murphy, the team’s equipment manager, who has been looking after the bats and helmets since Brooklyn’s second favorite club came west. Yesterday was his last day in the team’s employ. He’s retiring, presumably to spend more time with family (and root for the A’s). With him goes the last shred of franchise authenticity. With him goes the last good reason to cheer for Sergio Romo.
It’s always tempting to root against the champions and it’s time to give in to temptation. If the Giants represent anything, it’s their hometown’s profound condescension toward the rest of the country. They’ll deign to play in stadiums that don’t serve sushi and talk to beat reporters who don’t moonlight for TechCrunch. America should root against this group of players that seems so determined to gentrify sports. It’s time for San Francisco to lose. It’s time for Lou Seal to pivot.
Photos by Jamie Squire / Getty Images