Giants

San Francisco-Texas Presents A Unique Cultural Matchup

View Comments
Nolan Ryan and Sergio Romo

Texas Owner Nolan Ryan and Sergio Romo of the Giants celebrate their pennant wins. (Stephen Dunn/Al Bello/Getty Images)

San Francisco Giants
Upcoming Games

Buy Giants Tickets Full Schedule
Giants Central
Shop Team Gear
Shop Tickets

MLB Scoreboard
MLB Standings
Team STATS
Team Schedule
Team Roster
Team Injuries

By Scott Miller

SAN FRANCISCO (CBSSportsline) – The World Series does not come packaged any more entertaining — or strange — than Texas and San Francisco.

Before this month, the Rangers were the only team in baseball never to have won a playoff series. The Giants are the only team with a hitting coach named Bam-Bam (Hensley Muelens), a third baseman referred to as Kung Fu Panda (Pablo Sandoval) and a two-time Cy Young award winner called the Freak (Tim Lincecum).

Total number of seasons combined these two franchises have played hardball in their current home cities: 90 (Giants 52, Rangers 38).

Total World Series titles in these places: Zero.

And talk about a clash of cultures: Y’all vs. Silicon Valley.

Breaking it down with a scouts’ eye view (and a tongue in cheek):

Baseball icon

Texas: Nolan Ryan. The game’s all-time strikeout leader (5,714) behind the “Ryan Express” fastball. Now 63, Ryan currently serves as president of the Rangers.

San Francisco: Willie Mays. Fourth on baseball’s all-time home run list (660) and the man who made one of the greatest catches in World Series history (1954, the last time the Giants won), the Say Hey Kid last week was introduced by the Giants before Game 5 of the NLCS as “simply the greatest player to ever play the game of baseball.” Now 79, Mays serves as special assistant to the president for the Giants.

Edge: San Francisco.

Famous quote

Texas: “I just want Texas to be number one in something other than executions, toll roads and property taxes.” Musician Kinky Friedman.

San Francisco: “The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in San Francisco.” Author, humorist and gadfly Mark Twain.

Edge: Texas.

Television show

Texas: Friday Night Lights. Imagine, Minka Kelly lands closer to the World Series this October than Derek Jeter. Hey, she’s on a magazine cover on newstands this month.

San Francisco: The Streets of San Francisco. Michael Douglas and Karl Malden rocked it.

Edge: Texas.

Local landmark

Texas: Cowboys Stadium. Breathtakingly large high-definition video screen, the largest in the world, that affords customers the chance to see Tony Romo’s nose hairs.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge. Breathtakingly beautiful sight over the San Francisco Bay.

Edge: This year, San Francisco.

1960s connection

Texas: Chills still run down your spine when in Dealey Plaza, the place where Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

San Francisco: Funny smells sometimes still waft into your nostrils when walking through the Haight-Asbury District that spawned the Grateful Dead, the Summer of Love (1967) and the Hippy Generation.

Edge: San Francisco

Where they came from

Texas: The Rangers originated in Washington, D.C., as an expansion franchise in 1961 after the Senators moved to Minnesota to become the Twins. They then moved to Texas for the 1972 season.

San Francisco: The Giants originated in New York in 1883 as the Gothams. John McGraw, the second-winningest manager of all-time, piloted the club from 1902-1932. He famously snubbed the 1904 World Series and a potential date with the Boston Americans because McGraw considered the AL a bush league. (Some historians think San Francisco’s air of superiority dates back to this). Following a great run in the Polo Grounds, the Giants moved west in 1958.

Edge: San Francisco.

Famous quote, legendary local journalist department

Texas: “As they say around the Texas Legislature, if you can’t drink their whiskey, screw their women, take their money, and vote against ‘em anyway, you don’t belong in office.” The late, great Molly Ivins, who gained notoriety in the Texas Observer before moving on to several newspapers.

San Francisco: “Isn’t it nice that people who prefer Los Angeles to San Francisco live there?” The late, great San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen.

Edge: Texas.

Pop culture icon

Texas: Farrah Fawcett. Did more for red bathing suits than Krispy Kreme did for donuts. And Charlie’s Angels … Wednesday night television had never been so interesting.

San Francisco: Clint Eastwood. “I know what you’re thinking: ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

Edge: Even.

Franchise albatross

Texas: Alex Rodriguez. As was observed by more than one Texan when A-Rod fanned to end Game 6 and give the Rangers the AL pennant Friday night, knucklehead former owner Tom Hicks always did say Texas would win a pennant with A-Rod on the field.

San Francisco: Barry Bonds*. Baseball’s all-time home run king. And as San Francisco closer Brian Wilson was saying about these Giants the other night as the champagne flowed, “We don’t have one guy who hit 75 homers, we don’t have one guy who has no ERA. You look around and we have a guy who stole second base, you look and we have a guy who scored in Colorado on an errant throw, you look at a guy like Cody Ross with three jacks [in the NLCS, good enough to be named MVP]. You’re going to look at every single guy in here. It’s a team effort, it really is.”

Edge: San Francisco.

Alternate form of transportation

Texas: Horses.

San Francisco: Cable cars.

Edge: San Francisco (unless you’re a jockey or a member of PETA).

Food

Texas: Barbecue and Tex-Mex.

San Francisco: Italian in North Beach and Chinese food.

Edge: Even. Mmmmm.

Song

Texas: Screw You, We’re from Texas, Ray Wylie Hubbard.

Sample lyric:

“Now Texas has gotten a bad reputation,
“Because of what happened in Dallas and Waco
“And our corporations, well they are corrupt
“And the politicians are swindlers and loco
“But when it comes to music my friend
“I believe these words are as true as St. John the Revelator’s
“Our Mr. Vaughan was the best that there ever was
“And no band was cooler than the 13th Floor Elevators
“So screw you, we’re from Texas”

San Francisco: I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Tony Bennett.

Sample lyric:

“The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay
“The glory that was Rome is just another day
“I’ve been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan
“I’m going home to my city by the bay
“I left my heart in San Francisco
“High on a hill it calls to me
“To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars
“The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care”

Edge: Texas.

Quirky baseball story

Texas: In 1971, the year before the Senators would move to Texas, then-manager Ted Williams was called upon to arbitrate a spring-training argument between a couple of his coaches. The team was on the field working on rundown plays, and there was a debate over which was the proper execution of one particular play. The drill was interrupted when the two coaches became involved in a heated argument, and after a few minutes of listening to each man’s story, Williams, who had patience for only one aspect of the game anyway, ruled: “—- it. Let’s hit.”

San Francisco: In 1961, strong winds blew in during in the ninth inning of the All-Star Game. And just as Giants reliever Stu Miller was about to deliver a pitch, a strong gust caused him to slip off the pitching rubber during his delivery. A balk was called, and a newspaper headline the next day started a legend that remains to this day: That the Candlestick Park winds were so fierce that little Miller was blown off the mound.

Edge: Even.

Hall of Famers

Texas: Nolan Ryan.

San Francisco: Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry.

Edge: San Francisco.

Contribution to modern society

Texas: Chili’s restaurants.

San Francisco: Levi’s blue jeans.

Edge: San Francisco.

Famous First Fan

Texas: George W. Bush, former managing general partner of the Rangers and former President of the United States.

San Francisco: Steve Perry, former lead singer of Journey and former first fan of the White Sox when they won the 2005 World Series.

Edge: San Francisco.

Old digs

Texas: Arlington Stadium. A converted former minor-league park, it was considered one of the worst in the game because of the way it held the oppressive heat and allowed harsh winds. Originally slated to be called Turnpike Stadium, it was the birthplace of scoreboard Dot Racing and ballpark nachos.

San Francisco: Candlestick Park. Considered one of the worst parks in the majors because of constant cold and wind, the Giants in the 1970s finally went with it and began awarding “Croix De Candlestick” medals to fans who braved extra innings. The Beatles played their final full concert ever at Candlestick on Aug. 29, 1966.

Edge: San Francisco.

World Series history

Texas: Zip.

San Francisco: Three previous appearances, losses in 1962 (to the Yankees), 1989 (Athletics) and 2002 (Angels).

Edge: San Francisco.

Hot-selling T-shirts

Texas: In Rangers gift shops everywhere, fans can buy T-shirts depicting antlers and claws, a couple of symbolic gestures that started in the Rangers’ clubhouse and have caught on among fans like free beer. The antlers represent Josh Hamilton’s admonition that the Rangers “run like a deer.” The claw, essentially a long-distance high-five for a strong offensive play, started with Texas utility man Esteban German, who began giving a “claw” hand gesture to represent strength while with Triple-A Oklahoma City last year.

San Francisco: On streets in San Francisco, fans can purchase T-shirts in Giants colors with the phrase “Let Tim Smoke.” Lincecum was popped on misdemeanor marijuana charges last winter and, well, you know, Californians will vote on Proposition 19 next Tuesday, an initiative to legalize marijuana in the state (that stands a good chance of passing, by the way). You will not find these T-shirts in official Giants gift shops.

Edge: San Francisco.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55,771 other followers