October 28, 2010

Signs Of The Apocalypse, Part 2

Somehow a local baseball team — the San Francisco Giants — has made it to the grand finals of the North American Men's Baseball Championships (a.k.a. "The World Series"). Many of us are quite unsure how to take this — while years ago (e.g. when I first lived here) Californian teams were usually at the top of every type of US sports, nowadays we're surprised when any kind of local team makes it into the quarter-finals of anything. It all seems like a funny mistake — how could a team apparently made up of hardened immigrants and twenty-something slackers, whose idea of a pre-game workout seems to be to eat pizza and ice cream then have a good lie-down, and whose star pitcher is a skinny young guy with long hair, funny teeth, and a mordantly self-deprecating attitude to life and much else get anywhere against (of all teams) the Texas Rangers?

Well, I'd guess many of us can't quite believe the locals will really win in the end, but it's always amusing in a narcissistic sort of way to see what the rest of the country sees when its sports writers focus their attention on San Francisco. As you'd probably expect, it's a riot of stereotypes and prejudices (unlike, say, the previous paragraph…), ranging from the NYT's warmly nostalgic and appreciative trip down memory lane and around the sights, to Fox's inevitably scabrous delight in putting down the city it (and much of its audience, I'm guessing) think of as one of the epicenters of all that's wrong in the world. But what really tickles us locals, I think, is the sight of the right-wing press having to somehow cope with the fact that the Giants are successful, and the city they represent is even more so — and, in both cases, not despite all the things Fox News and others dislike about them, but typically because of them….

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