This Giants fan is ready for baseball

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2018

I’m a sports guy. I always have been and have not been able to grow out of my love for baseball that began when I was around 6 years-old.

I was living in the Bay Area of northern California and my Dad took me to Candlestick Park to see a San Francisco Giants game in 1970. I was immediately hooked. I remember I couldn’t see much from my seat, except the back of a guys head, but they were really good seats.

My Dad took my family to several more games over the years in the 1970s. I remember watching a Sunday doubleheader that featured Bobby Bonds, John “The Count” Montefusco, Dave Kingman and Garry Maddox taking on Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, George Foster and the “Big Red Machine” of the Cincinnati Reds. We sat in the left field bleachers and I was hooked from that moment on as a Giants fan.

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My neighborhood buddies, of course, cheered for Oakland the “Swingin’ A’s” who were perennial title contenders for the World Series. They would give me a hard time about being a Giants fans, but I didn’t care.

When I began playing Little League, I played shortstop and would pretend to field ground balls like Chris Speir. The Giants infielder was my hero on the diamond.

But my true hero was Willie Mays. I only saw Mays play once — in 1970 — but I was too young to remember any details. I knew who he was at age 6 and was upset when he went back to New York to play for the Mets at the end of his career.

After Mays left, the Giants spent years near the bottom of the National Leage West. It wasn’t until the 1980s when Will “The Thrill” Clark debuted that the Giants return to respectability. They even made a World Series appearance against those hated A’s in ‘89, but a major earthquake disrupted the Fall Classic and my Giants were swept in four games.

While I have continued to cheer them on through the lean years, it wasn’t until this century that my Giants got back to being real contenders again — winning championships in 2010, ‘12 and ‘14. And this year was looking very promising with some new additions and a healthy pitching staff, but as luck would have it, ace hurler Madison Bumgarner suffered a freak injury during a game last week and is out for at least six weeks. He missed most of last year after a dirt bike wreck. Such is the fate and history of my beloved team.

His injury has put a damper on Opening Day Thursday, but I will be watching my favorite team and cheering them on each day just as I have since I was a 6-year-old kid.

I’m ready to play ball. Go Giants!

Rob Sigler is editor of The Vicksburg Post. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.