Imagine the excitement the 49ers will feel on Sunday afternoon, getting ready in their home locker room. Back home after an actual win on the East Coast, things are looking up. The prediction du jour is that Mike Singletary will be back with the team next year (at least until his next loss and/or pants dropping), Mike Martz is already planning his escape to San Diego St. where he can find the next J.T. O’Sullivan, Shaun Hill is suddenly better than Derek Anderson or Matt Cassel, and the New York Jets are in town, meaning the team is playing what will probably be their most important game until Week 1 of 2009.
Too bad when they race out of the tunnel onto Bill Walsh Field, they’re going to be met by a wall of green in the crowd … to be specific, thousands of brand new Favre jerseys. Of all the annoying running subplots hovering around the local sports scene, the blatant takeover by East Coast fans during Bay Area home games has to be one of the worst. Whether it’s the Red Sox visiting Oakland, Mets or Phillies fans coming to AT&T Park or the horde of bandwagon Jets fans who will undoubtedly flood Candlestick on Sunday (surely donning their new No. 4 jerseys and acting like hardcore New Yorkers after a week spent checking their iPhones, washing their Priuses and buying Soy Gingerbread Lattes at Peet’s), far too many home crowds have been taken over by opposing forces.
I can’t blame the Jets fans, or anybody else who goes to games around here wearing a jersey from their favorite East Coast squad. The Bay Area is full of transplants from other places, and I wouldn’t expect a fan to change their allegiances after moving. I know I wouldn’t if I moved.
Raiders fans seem to have curbed these road fan tendencies in their own special ways, but fans of the rest of the local teams are unable and/or unwilling to risk jail time or television blackouts by intimidating East Coast fans. In no way am I insinuating that we need doing things like yelling obscenities at East Coasters or showering them with urine as if we were in the Black Hole next to some guy named Violator, but season ticket holders have a responsibility to not sell tickets to opposing fans.
“But BASG,” you say, “Times are tough. My child needs me to donate to his private school so they can build that new lacrosse-only field. I spent all my spare money on those Obama “Hope” posters that show his face as red, white and blue. And have you seen the prices of Kombucha lately at Whole Foods?”
If Bob Lurie could sell the Giants to Peter Magowan’s group for less money just to make sure the team didn’t move to Tampa Bay, season ticket holders in the Bay (who obviously had enough cash to spend thousands on season tickets in the first place) can at least make sure they aren’t selling their Lower Box seats to some guy who just received his Favre jersey in the mail from NFL.com. C’mon people, if you have enough time to put an ad on Craigslist, you have time to discern whether or not the guy emailing about your tickets has enjoyed an egg cream in the past month, or has ever uttered the word “Mangenius.”
While we’re at it, here are some other rules for all San Franciscans attending live sporting events:
Standing up is allowed at sporting events
If I ever hear “Can you sit down please, we’d like to watch the game too,” I’m going to hit myself in the head with two thundersticks repeatedly until it starts feeling as if I drank too much codeine before riding the Zipper. Hey Pac-Heights couple, we aren’t at a pre-screening of Milk. People go to a game to be a part of the crowd’s excitement and to interact with others who share a passion for the same team. If it’s too hard for your arthritic legs to stand up when exciting things are going on, there’s probably an excellent view of the game available right now, from your couch!
No white wine at tailgates
Sorry, I know we live right by Napa and Sonoma (or as the most pretentious locals like to say, “The Wine Country”), but tailgates are for shotgunning beers and drinking copious amounts of hard alcohol. You know why Fox always comes around to the tailgates at certain football stadiums? To make fun of San Francisco!
“Hey look, last week at Lambeau they were drinking tall cans of Schlitz while eating a mixture of brats, bacon and Velveeta cooked on top of a roast pig without plates or silverware in -37 degree weather. And this week, let’s visit with some San Francisco fans here at Candlestick Park, who have set their wicker furniture in a wonderful pattern where everybody enjoys easy access to the assortment of marinated olives and sundried tomatoes, which they are enjoying with a nice buttery Chard.”
Hey, wine is delicious and definitely has its place. Three places, actually — wineries, restaurants and at your house. Tailgating should consist of meat that’s either eaten off the bone or inside a bun, and drinks that are meant to be consumed from their original containers. Red wine is borderline acceptable, just because it’s a little heartier than white wine and comes without the “white wine sipper” wuss-fan connotation. Still, even red wine is better left to drinking at home with a nice steak or a delicious package of string cheese. Remember San Francisco, tailgating is for mass consumption, not food-pairings.
Don’t do The Wave
C’mon, this is an easy one guys. I’ve seen way too many waves in the past year, especially at Mays Field. I know we can’t stop The Wave at A’s games, but Giants games? Please.
Don’t leave early, even if you have kids with you (baseball only)
This is one of the reasons why East Coast fans are tougher than West Coast ones. If you a kid following a team back East, you have to stay up late from time to time. Sunday and Monday night NFL games start at 8:30 pm EST. Baseball and basketball teams traveling out west sometimes don’t finish playing until way past 2 am EST. Still, anytime you see one of those games being played on the East Coast that go past midnight (like every single MLB playoff game), the camera always finds kids in the stands who are still there, half asleep but still watching.
I don’t know how many Giants games I’ve attended since Pac Bell Park was built where in the seventh inning dads started collecting their souvenir cups, re-hooked their leashes to their children and left because “it’s getting late.” What do you mean pops, you thought this would be the one magical Tuesday night game that ended at 8:45 pm? So you’re telling me the main purpose was to show your kids that it’s acceptable to pay $5 for an old Red Rope and $7 for a cup of Dippin’ Dots, then leave the game with a 2-1 lead because the kids need their nine hours of sleep before they re-learn how to fingerpaint the next day? If the kid can handle a sugar rush fueled by mass quantities of stale candy and melted ice cream, they can handle one night with an hour or two less sleep. It might also stop them from becoming soft little pseudo-fans in the future.
Don’t boo your own players
The one time, the only time, where it was acceptable to boo a San Francisco Giant was when Alex Sanchez was playing center field or when Ruben Rivera was running the bases. For the 49ers, it was any time Lawrence Phillips was in a Niner uniform. That’s it. Nobody else is to be booed, even Zito. The local teams have enough trouble getting a home field advantage when half the crowd is wearing Favre jerseys, and that’s just during San Francisco Giants games.