Baseball isn’t the biggest of sports here in the UK. Indeed, if you say you like baseball you’re almost certainly going to draw disparaging looks from people talking of “rounders” and how it will never be the sport cricket is.
It was a lack of sleep that got me into baseball. I’ve been an insomniac for a long time; I often go long periods on short amounts of sleep and while I’ve not yet turned into Tyler Durden, I often find myself restless in those dark, early hours. One night, while flicking around the channels on the TV, I found ESPN America (as it was known then) … and baseball.
I can’t remember the first game I saw — all I know is the Yankees were playing — but I remember being immediately struck by how easy to watch baseball is. I’ve watched some NFL and I’ve seen a high school basketball game live in Tennessee and both were very stop/start. Baseball, however, was a continuous flow of action, which kept me watching.
At first I thought baseball was just “hit the ball and run” and I suppose in the simplest form it is. As a cricket fan, statistics is an important part of sport and here was another sport which had stats coming out of its ears — how could I not love it? I made a point to watch it more frequently.
I came to being a Giants fan because of one man — Pablo Sandoval. Yes, I know he’s not the most popular guy anymore but he was the reason for me following the orange and black. I remember watching a game at AT&T Park and being amazed by the third baseman and his sheer size. As a rather portly guy myself, in one moment it made me think for one fleeting moment, “Jesus, if he can play this, so could I!”
So I started keeping an eye out for the Giants. Brian Wilson (yes, I know) and his beard. Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Hunter Pence … it wasn’t hard to fall in love with the team. Of course, it helps supporting a team that seems to win every even year — but the remarkable camaraderie I saw around the team made it even better.
As I followed the team, I started interacting with other fans. I’m a football fan here in the UK and the social aspect is a major part of why I follow football. I go to many games to see friends and often weekends are days of fun with a soccer game thrown in. Reading the Giants subreddit is much the same; it’s a bunch of like-minded people brought together by the love of a team, but bonded together to be something more. Maybe it’s kind of trite, but it’s something I always thought that was lacking in American sport and it’s nice to be proven wrong.
I’ve never been to San Francisco, but it’s something I’m hoping to change within the next year or so. Until then, I might only be lurking at times, but you can count on me to be following what the Giants are doing. And although I sleep a little bit better these days, I’m still more often than not glued to my phone and the internet to find out what is happening…
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