SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Jonathan Sanchez pitched the San Francisco Giants back into the playoffs after a six-year absence, beating the San Diego Padres 3-0 Sunday to wrap up the National League West title.
The Giants finally got it done on their third try against the Padres over the weekend, and captured their first division crown and playoff berth since 2003.
Suffice it to say, the Giants quickly became the talk of the town. But not everybody knew how to participate in the conversation. Thankfully, KCBS’ Mike Sugerman learned during his travels, About the Bay, how to fake it as a fan.
KCBS Mike Sugerman Reporting:
For clarification, Sugerman long ago cemented his place as a diehard fan. He was simply offering to help the Bay Area’s non-fans fumble their way through Monday morning office chit-chat.
In other words, he didn’t want people to strike out when water cooler gossip segued to baseball.
Sugerman explained that it was rather easy to jump on the bandwagon: panda hats, beards, and Zito’s salary. Those were the topics, he warned, that were likely to come up.
This year’s roster featured a bunch of relative unknowns who dominated – and surprised – the sport, and its fans.
“It’s not one person, it’s a group of people and a community,” one seemingly in-the-know fan said. “And I think we could go somewhere this year. We’re really excited.”
To be fair, there are some names that should be committed to memory.
Tim Lincecum earned a reputation as the Giants’ ace pitcher, but he was equally well known for his long locks and run-in with law enforcement over an off-season, behind-the-wheel marijuana incident in Washington state.
Some fans responded by sporting t-shirts emblazoned with “Let Timmy Smoke,” in a nod to the pot bust.
Lincecum was slated to pitch Thursday, when San Francisco plays host to the wild-card Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park.
Barry Zito, another Giants pitcher, generated plenty of buzz over his salary, $18 million annually. That cemented his place as the Bay Area’s highest paid athlete. But, his lack of success on the mound also cemented Zito as the target of fans’ boos and jeers. Broadcasters jumped on that bandwagon, too, calling Giants games torture to watch.
Those ups and downs we hard for fans to stomach, and perhaps harder for cardiac patients like Sugerman. Still, he described it as fun, perhaps the best season to be a fan.
“We’re San Francisco fans, we love this team, we love this city. We’re taking it all the way,” echoed another Giants diehard.
(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)