It’s the time of year when you’re supposed to forget your problems. Don’t have a job? At least you have your health. Don’t have much money in your bank account? At least you have a roof over your head. Don’t have a good team to root for in your Greater Metro Area? At least there’s a special on 6-packs of Lagunitas at the corner store.
Actually, as long as we’ve been waiting for a championship team around here, there are quite a few things to be thankful for. Here’s ten.
1. Tim Lincecum: Best pitcher in baseball, but that’s not all. Can you think of one athlete at Lincecum’s level who provides more comedy? As if the hair, the sweater-hats, the shockingly euphoric profanity-laced outbursts while cheering the team from the dugout and the fact he’s slowly morphing into a cross between 2007 Michael Jackson and Yoko Ono weren’t enough, now he gets arrested for getting caught driving with a pipe and his newly-purchased eighth of reefer in the Mercedes he purchased from Dave Roberts. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
2. Anthony Morrow: Watching him shoot threes is pure butter.
3. Al Davis: Best press conference in sports. Period.
4. The Life of Brian: Sometimes you need to appreciate when someone sets the bar so low, it’s actually underground. Brian Wilson’s faux-intense, narcissistic and completely perspective-free ode to himself will never be forgotten (or duplicated, hopefully). Still, on a team with the most boring offense in franchise history, you have to respect the Giants’ loopy pitchers for keeping things interesting. “The Unicorn Hour,” anyone?
5. Pablo Sandoval: That the Giants’ offense could possibly be so boring with the second coming of Kirby Puckett anchoring it shows just how bad the rest of the lineup was. Still, Pablo’s greatness made me download a Pitbull song off of iTunes. That’s the greatest compliment I can give.
6. San Jose Sharks: For giving Mark Purdy something to talk about, and Ralph Barbieri another sport to pretend he has more than rudimentary knowledge of.
7. Patrick Willis: The Pablo Sandoval of the Niners’ defense, only 50 lbs lighter.
8. Jim Harbaugh: For making the Big Game matter for the first time since Kurt Cobain was alive.
9. Oakland A’s games: That the Coliseum is directly next to the BART station and tickets are oftentimes cheaper than going to a movie are nice things. However, the real reason I love going to A’s games because it reminds me of going to Giants games at Candlestick. Back when you could drive up to the stadium and know you could easily get decent seats and watch a real live professional baseball game among a few hundred of your closest friends. Of course, back in the days when the Giants played in the Stick, the Coliseum was more crowded and modern than the Stick, and routinely saw 3,000,000 fans per year. Not anymore, thanks in large part to No. 3 on this list.
10. Tailgating at the Stick: I did this for the first time in two years a couple Thursdays ago, and my life quite frankly hasn’t been the same since. There’s something therapeutic about grilling food, drinking beer/wine and shooting the bull with other like-minded fans in a parking lot with the stadium looming in the distance. It’s like camping, only much louder and you don’t have to sleep on the ground. I’m sure many people can claim to have the same experience at the Coliseum or Mays Field, and the 49ers really hope they can set up a similarly large parking lot for tailgating in Santa Clara, but it just isn’t the same. The Stick is a flawed old girl, but I love her like a family member. I know I’m not alone. One of the fans tailgating by us before the Bears game nearly started crying after taking a picture of myself and SGL with the Stick in the background, just at the thought of the Stick someday getting torn down with the team moving 45 minutes south.
That’s the thing with stuff you’re most thankful for: it’s rarely permanent. Neither is sports ineptitude. Here’s to being thankful for a winner a year from now.