I watch my SF Giants game on TV (except the ones v. the Dodgers because of TWC) because I live in Southern California. With the exception of Amy G, I enjoy my games and looking at the beautiful stadium. It is a source of civic pride, especially to this native San Franciscan who weathered so many seasons at Candlestick Park.
Since last year, however, I have noticed that there have been many fans arriving late and leaving early. These fans are usually the ones who are seated in the lower box levels, the expensive seats where the viewing is at a premium. If I paid the sort of money to sit in those seats, I would be at the ballpark early and leave at the last pitch. I would, of course, do that no matter what I sat in the stadium.
I only mention this because SF Giants fans just love making fun of Dodger fans for their love of getting to the games late and leaving the stadium early. As a resident of Southern California, however, I must admit that Dodger fans have good reason for this sort of game day behavior. The traffic in LA is mindnumbingly awful, and it caused one visiting lawyer for a former law firm at which I employed to make a remark about the “parking lot” that was in the distance. That parking lot was the 101 freeway near Dodger Stadium.
Games in LA start when traffic is still at its peak (14 million residents, people!) and staying until the end means more traffic jams. Depending on how you get to the stadium and where you park — especially if you are unwilling to fork over that $30+ to park in the preferred area that gives you a faster exit — you could be stuck in a jam for a very long time. I am not a fan of getting late/leaving early, and I have never done this whenever I have gone to a game at Dodger Stadium. Bear in mind, however, that I am work from home and could afford to sit in traffic for a century.
So why are SF Giants fans doing the very thing that appalls them about Dodger fans? It is always amusing to see a long line of latecomers to a game forcing an entire row to stand up as they make their way to the seats. This is a slow process, and it causes rows of people to miss the game action. You could not do this at the theater. And leaving early is so important because psychic powers and radio help to know how the game ends? I personally love the whole Tony Bennett “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” ending (if appropriate) and the seagull party. I even stay for the clunkers, where there is no chance for the SF Giants to win unless the other team forfeits the game. The whole point of going to a game is baseball, an unpredictable sport as any. First pitch to last pitch has plenty of meaning to the game, and players always talk about how fan presence is so important. I hope Sergio Romo secretly utters the word “pendejo” when he watches people exit the stadium by the 8th inning, finding their lives far too important to watch him close a game.
But I also know that times are changing, and San Francisco is being reshaped and mutated into something I do not remember. I already know that people have been doing the wave. Marcus Books is being evicted, the Mission is struggling to preserve its soul and some techie sipping his Starbucks latte thinks that hoarding an entire table with his computer equipment is just the coolest thing in the world.
So how about an alternate solution for this creative town?
I honestly believe that the people in the bleacher sections should be allowed to fill in the seats that are reserved for latecomers. They seem to enjoy the game more anyway, with their varied yells and dances that I see on television. Let them get closer to the action. Bleacher creatures have always been a cooler bunch. If you have ever sat in the bleacher section at Candlestick Park, you would understand this.
Otherwise, all the empty seats look goofy on television, especially when the team is so proud of touting their consecutive sell out record.
This is just my nobody opinion, of course. This is a free country. Come late if you want. Leave early if you want.
But get rid of the hypocrisy.
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