Editor's note: Jim Gaughran wrote a previous story about his charmed life as a Giants fan -- before his team sealed the deal. You can read it here.
What just happened? I’m looking at the screen but it’s not making sense.
Flashes of orange. Men in uniforms colliding in celebration. San Francisco? No. It can’t be. Wait... Yes.
Those are Giants dancing in the middle of the diamond. The San Francisco Giants are World Champions.
San Francisco. The city of earthquakes, hippies, Milk and Moscone, Ferlinghetti, the Grateful Dead, Harry Bridges, Marilyn Chambers, Nancy Pelosi and Levis.
A city too weird to be the standard bearer for the national pastime. A city too cool to admit it wants desperately to be included.
No more. Not since they cobbled together the perfect San Francisco team.
A wannabe rodeo clown. A Freak. A Panda. A scary-smart dude with a shoe-black beard and a lights-out arm.
Now that pile of players is untangling and I realize I haven’t been breathing. Too scared to inhale for the first time in this new world.
Afraid that somebody miscounted the outs; that instant replay will take it all away. That I’ll wake up.
But then I take a breath and it’s all still there. Twenty-five guys slapping high fives. That’s 625 high fives and I want see every single one of them.
And I stare and I stare and then I laugh just the quietest, dumbest little laugh and some tiny, long-forgotten key turns in my chest and I am done for.
It’s 1970 and I’m pushing into a crowded Candlestick Park with my father and little brother and the green is electric and the sky is so blue and I’ve never seen so many people in one place -- and that’s Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds and McCovey at first.
The Say Hey Kid even hit one out and that was 30, no 40, years ago and even now when I think of green, that is the green I have in mind.
Back on the TV screen the players are hugging and laughing and bouncing and slapping and I'm in high school, then college and a job in the mailroom and then a career and great love and withering heartache and new friends and lost friends and weddings and funerals and hope -- always hope -- that this is the year the Giants will win it all.
And they move into the clubhouse and there’s champagne and yelling and a trophy and the still-unfolding feeling that it has actually happened.
The San Francisco Giants.
The San Francisco Giants win.
The San Francisco Giants win the World Series.
Such a simple sentence. Subject. Verb. Object. A sentence at once so plain and so extravagant it can’t sit still. But then it does.
It settles on a spot in my brain that was prepared for it long ago. It is embraced by neurons and charged with electrons and now and forever that simple, glowing sentence will be a part of me.
And now they’re quietly, solemnly talking with players on the losing team and already I’m reminded that this moment can’t last.
A great team is an ephemeral thing. No matter how hard we cheer, this team will be gone someday and long before we are ready. But not yet. Right now we are World Champions.
And know this; above a once-blighted corner in the city of Saint Francis there is finally a constellation of scuffed but sparkling stars that will shine forever in the baseball firmament.