Change, loss, and no control

As published by the Fresno Bee Sunday, November 1, 1992

Two days before the election, and I had planned all along to write a well-argued, well-reasoned analysis of the campaign and tell you what I think you should do on Tuesday, but I can't. You see, I hit permanent political brain-lock around the time Perot re-entered; now when I try to concentrate, my mind just flashes 12:00 like an unprogrammed VCR. So maybe you could decide for yourselves? Me, I'd rather discuss something really important: The possibility that the San Francisco Giants might move to Florida.

Years ago -- when he was still a cartoon character rather than an insurance huckster -- Snoopy made a pilgrimage to his birthplace, the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, only to find out that it had been replaced by a parking garage. "You're parking on my memories!!" was his anguished response. There was nothing he could about it. It wasn't as if he could vote on it.

That indignation is how I should feel about the possibility of my Giants moving to Tampa Bay or St. Petersburg or wherever it is. Like it really matters exactly where 3,000 miles away they're going. What matters is that they're riding roughshod over my memories of growing up a Giants fan . . .

No!! Wait! Don't change the channel! This column isn't full of boring reminiscences about baseball, I promise. What it is about is change and loss and resignation and other fun things that we really can't vote on.

All-out allegiance

When I was a kid -- a real kid, pre-testosterone and alcohol -- I lived, breathed and devoured baseball. I chose to vote, er, root for the Giants. I grew up dreading the June Swoon and hating the Dodgers. This lasted well into my teens.

During the 80s, my love affair with the Giants was diluted by love affairs with rock n' roll, the Joe Montana 49ers and, well, love affairs. But it was always there, lurking like the new moon -- unseen, but still a factor. Whenever they made a pennant run, my interest would flare up and I'd start paying attention again. In effect, I became one of those fans I'd always derided when I was a kid: those who only really followed a team when they had a chance of winning. You know, just like those people who only go to church on Christmas and Easter.

But I'd paid my dues: hours upon hours listening to Lon Simmons' voice over car radios, backyard radios and transistor radios, up past my bedtime during the ninth inning of a night game as Willie McCovey came to bat with two on and two out. ("And you can tell it good-bye!")

Or best of all: playing table tennis with my friend Craig from across the street during long, slow Sunday afternoon Giants-Padres double-headers. Amazing how much free time I had then. Weird how it vanished with age and responsibility.

So now that I've set up the properly nostalgic tone, it's finally struck me exactly how I feel about the Giants moving:

Oh well, whatever, nevermind.

Nothing.

I can't seem to get all that angry or excited, probably because it's only my memories and not my realities that they're parking on. And right now, my realities are much harder currency. In any event, I've been totally numb about the whole situation. After all, it's not as if I could vote on it. It's too big and too far out of my control. Like missing Halley's Comet.

Let me explain: around the same age I developed a passion for baseball, I discovered the stars and the solar system and everything else that made outer space so much fun. Coolest of all were comets, which appeared and scared the bejeezus out of everybody in the Middle Ages. Naturally, I learned about Halley's and it 76-year orbit around Sol. It was due to return in 1986, which as an eternity away, and even though I pretty much dropped the whole astronomy thing, the return of Halley's Comet was something that the back of my mind always looked forward to.

So 1986 finally came and this time around Halley's comet was a bust in our hemisphere and my sense of disappointment was/is so profound that I've never been able to confront it. What's the point? I can't vote on it. There is nothing I can possibly do.

Hmm, now that I think about it, there is one thing I can do: live to be 100. Halley's Comet is due next in the year 2062 -- the year I turn 100. What a goal! Especially for someone like me, who often views the upcoming week rather dimly.

A fantasy to point for

It's almost too perfect: they take me up in the Shuttle and when I see the comet, I smile just a little and happily pass away, completely fulfilled. And since the art of reading will have been long lost, nobody will ever realize that I'd predicted the entire thing almost 70 years prior, especially since I will have outlived the storm-crows who rag me about eating red meat and drinking. Maybe I will have even moved to Florida. Of course, by then it will be the Luna City Giants and Marsopolis Dodgers.

That's the thing: the only constant is the continual chaos of change. I should be used to it by now. I'm not. Maybe what's different is the source of this change: I always figured that the Giants staying in San Francisco was a given, like the original taste of Coca-Cola or -- hee hee -- the Republican hammerlock on the White House. Sometimes changes just happens.

And speaking of which, don't forget to vote Tuesday.

Peace.

--Jim Connelly

Of course, the Giants didn't move. And I was far more relieved than I realized when they didn't. When they acquired Barry Bonds for the 1993 season and came within a game of winning the division, I was hanging on every pitch.

Meanwhile, I moved to the Bay Area in the summer of 1994, and caught a few Giants games before baseball it all it and shot an arrow straight through my heart. I don't know what angered me more in 1994: the baseball strike, or the Rolling Stones infomercial. In any case, there was no excuse for either.

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This document last modified 16 June 1995