Back in December, I began a Giants Fans’ Written Oral History project. So far I have received a handful replies, including this latest one from a Giants fan in Bangkok, Thailand.
All of the oral histories can be viewed at my website, The Giants Journal. If you would like to participate, please email me.
Bangkok9 is 41, married and lives in Bangkok, Thailand where he does internet development and consulting for a living. He writes the Swingin' Amiss Giants blog when he's not too busy.
How did you become a baseball fan?
I received it as a sort of family legacy. My family's roots are in Baltimore and my grandfather and uncle were die-hard Orioles fans. There was never a summer weekend at my grandparent's house that I didn't see a ballgame on TV and that's where I got my first appreciation for the game.
How/when did you become a Giants fan?
I moved to the Oakland, California area in the mid-1980's but the bad memories of playoff series in the 1970's between the Orioles and Athletics kept me from ever being an A's fan. I wasn't a big baseball fan at that point in my life anyway. But even though I was living a sort of liberal Berkeley lifestyle that frowned on professional sports, I would still sneak a peak at the sports pages every now and then.
After a few more years I made the move across the Bay where the local papers were a little more readable. At about this same time I finally got my own TV so I controlled the clicker and baseball became an option not subject to negotiation with roommates.
I was fully into again it by the time the Giants lost the West to the Braves in 1993, then the next year I was in a very strong relationship with a woman who was huge Giants fan. Since then I've never considered supporting a different team.
Are any family members baseball/Giants fans?
Presently, no. My family is sadly reduced these days -- most of my relatives were old even when I was a boy. My mother and father are still alive, but they divorced when I was young. My mother likes baseball and took me to a few games a year when I was in high-school. My father detests baseball.
I'm married to a Thai woman and live in Thailand. The game isn't played here and doesn't hold even a passing interest for her and her family.
How was/is Giants baseball a part of your life?
When I was living in San Francisco I would see about 4 - 6 games a year at Candlestick Park, and every televised game would be on when I was at home.
Now in Thailand I'm just using the internet gamecasts, box scores and such, participating in discussion groups, and blogging the Giants, of course.
What do the Giants mean to you and why?
It's a piece of home. And in the longer term, it's an object lesson in patience, perseverance and good grace. It's no secret that some years the Giants just stink, nor that we're still waiting for the first World Series championship. It's knowing how to grab for the brass ring and miss, then pick yourself up and try again.
How did/do you experience the Giants games, radio, TV, Internet?
Describe these experiences.
Well, gamecasts just don't cut it.
Who are your favorite players?
Barry Bonds, who I will say is the greatest baseball player in fifty years, if not ever.
Of other current players, I would want to include among the Giants Jason Schmidt and Ray Durham. In the rest of baseball Randy Johnson, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez.
Who are you favorite announcers?
Krukow and Kuiper, Hank Greenwald, Jon Miller, Vin Scully and the old Baltimore radio team of Chuck Thompson and Bill O'Donnell.
1993, 1997 and 2002.
Do you have a "I'll never forget moment/game?"
Sure, September 26, 1997. The Giants start the day two up on the Hated Dodgers with two games left to play. I went to the game that night and we spanked the Padres 17-4. I was so sure we were going to clinch, but Colorado didn't get the job done in LA and we didn't clinch until the next day.
It was beautiful -- the park was full and rocking, the team was hitting. It wasn't the best game I ever saw, but it was the best time I ever had at the ballpark.
My best non-Giants moment was watching Ripken's 2131 game on TV. Watching him take that victory lap after the 5th inning was incredibly moving.
Do you have any "It will never be the same?" feelings?
Yes. I'll never have an innocent love of baseball again after we (the fans) had the season stolen from us in 1994.
I'm going to have another one when Bonds plays his last game as a Giant.
The near-clincher in 1997 would have to be tops.
I also did Buzz Cut Day one year. Left the 'Stick with an 1/8th of an inch of hair.
I also remember a game the Giants lost to the Braves where we had the most amazing seats -- upper deck, front row, directly behind home plate. That game really opened my eyes to how much pitches move.
Watching Barry Bonds going yard. Any game, any season.
Favorite sections to watch the games?
I have yet to see SBC -- can't we call it SBC Mays Field? -- so I can't name a spot there. But my favorite place in Candlestick was 20 rows back about 120 feet down the third baseline from home. Perfect spot to shelter when the fog blew in at night, but close enough to see the infield play clearly.
Favorite pre/post game hangouts?
Do you have an All-Time Giants Team?
C - Kirt Manwaring
1B - Will Clark
2B - Jeff Kent
SS - Rich Aurilia
3B - Matt Williams
LF - Barry Bonds
CF - Willie Mays
RF - Ellis Burks
Bench - Benito Santiago, JT Snow, Bill Mueller, Robbie Thompson, Kevin Mitchell, Jeffrey Leonard
Starters - Jason Schmidt, Kirk Rueter, Russ Ortiz, Mark Gardner
Bullpen - Rob Nen, Rod Beck, Mike Jackson, Felix Rodriguez, Rich Rodriguez.
Obviously focused on the players I've seen, but you can't ignore Willie Mays.
I'm stopping at 23 so I can add Dave Dravecky for his courage and dignity and leaving the last spot blank to prevent an argument.
What qualities of the Giants appeal to you?
Class and perseverance. You almost never hear of players going to the media. There seems to be a very strong culture of personal responsibility in the club. No blameshifters or crybabies.
Are you more of a fan now or before?
More than ever! I'm 20 hours away from San Francisco by plane, so you know how crazy it makes me to see Giants games with empty seats?
Is there anything else you would like to add or talk about?