Posts Tagged ‘San_Francisco_Giants’

Another Giant Wake-up Call Coming

Thursday, November 1st, 2012 © by Susan Swartz

We were watching the World Series on TV but were out of the room when Buster Posey hit a home run. Cued by our neighbor’s shouts of joy, we knew something good had just happened. We hit the reverse button and let Buster start over.

It was delicious to sit there, watching Buster and knowing what was to come. That he was about to swing and not miss, but slam in a two-run home run. I watched his face and thought, oh, Buster baby, you are going to be so happy in just another moment. Your fans were worried about you, our shining hero, not doing enough dazzle in the World Series. Why did we ever doubt?

Of course, it got deliriously better, the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series and Buster jumped into the arms of miracle pitcher Sergio Romo and there was dancing in the streets of San Francisco and I got to rush outside and ring my victory cow bell. And Detroit, who was supposed to win, slogged home in the rain.

Now baseball’s over and there’s that next big scary contest to be settled in a few stomach-churning days.

Everyone is ready for the election to be over. We’re sick of the phone calls and the mailings. One of my friends, weary of political phone calls, has taken to halting the solicitor mid-script by saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry. She died. It was just horrible.”

I feel her frustration. We got those phone calls during a crucial Giants game. Did they not know what they were interrupting? Then I became one of them. I sat at a phone bank one Sunday calling voters in Wisconsin, hurriedly explaining I wasn’t asking for money. Just want to discuss what issues are important to you in this election, I said nicely.

“Lady, do you realize you’re calling in the middle of a Packers game?” Click.

I live in a blue town in a blue state and have mostly blue friends. We could just tell each other to believe. Maybe that would work.  There were many “Don’t Stop Believing” signs in the Giants stands. But there were “Believe” signs in the Tiger stands, too. Believing was very popular in the World Series. So was wearing orange. It was a good luck color for both teams. But one lost.

We had a really good first rain of the season in October. It was the kind that makes people around here smile because you can stop watering the garden. The lettuce will deliver a little longer.  The marigolds will stay bright.  The Giants won the pennant in such a lovely rain.

Then Hurricane Sandy chopped up the east coast and made a person rethink rain. The monster killer storm was more wrath than Mother Nature usually delivers. And it wouldn’t end there, we heard.

A geo-physicist from Columbia University was on the radio talking about hurricanes and rising sea levels and climate change and wake-up calls. “The question,” said Klaus Jacob, “is how many wake-up calls do we need to get out of our snoozing, sleeping, dreaming warning attitude?” We need action, he said.

Which takes me to next week and wondering what we’ll wake up to. Will we be sitting there with a soggy sign that says “Believe.” Or tossing confetti and ringing cow bells?



An Otherwise Lovely Tuesday

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 © by Susan Swartz

On Tuesday I started making a list of things to be happy about because I feared by the end of the day I would be feeling grumpy and discouraged, possibly near hopeless, remembering the warning by Paul Krugman, that if the elections went according to expectations we should be afraid….be very afraid.

I ran into a guy I know outside our polling place and asked him to tell me something upbeat. He said things could be worse, like those Joe McCarthy years. Somehow that didn’t make me feel better.

Yet, it was a stunning fall day. The air smelled like apples. The vineyards glittered in the sun. I went for a bike ride. The coffee place had blackberry scones.

You can see I was going for the small things because we – I’m speaking liberals, progressives, blue, baby, blue – didn’t start the day feeling good about winning.

It was such a contrast to the night before when our corner of the world had been in Giants heaven. We jumped off the couch and rang cow bells from the porch. That was showing the naysayers, the pundits who said Texas would turn us into barbecue. Let the misfits reign. Let Tim’s hair grow.

But in less than 24 hours Nancy Pelosi, another San Francisco icon, or demon, depending on your point of view, had lost her speaker’s gavel.

We had been warned. There would be a bloodbath, a torrent of opposition against incumbents, a tough day for liberals, a drubbing for Democrats.

I looked at the New Yorker cover I framed two Novembers ago – the one with the blue door at the end of the red tunnel. It hangs above the TV where by early Tuesday evening CNN was getting out the red crayons and re-coloring the USA map. And over on MSNBC Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania was telling Rachel Maddow “I feel your pain.”

Things started to feel a little bit better when that hateful candidate in New York was silenced and some of the Tea Party dream queens succumbed. Unskilled, pop-up media celebrity candidates weren’t going to take all. I began to feel warm fuzzies for Harry Reid.

I worried though for my new phone pals in Wisconsin. One morning 20 of us gathered in a house in Sebastopol and called 1200 Democrats in a small town near Milwaukee to get out the vote for Sen. Russ Feingold. One woman told me she was feeling the chill from her neighbors, hers the only Democrat sign in a nine mile stretch thick with Republican signs. Her guy lost Tuesday to a man who made money in plastics, vows to repeal health care and doesn’t believe in climate change.

We’ll be analyzing this for a long time. Was it really all about the economy? Did fear win? Did nasty campaigning? Are we ever going to find out what undisclosed special interest money really paid for those attack ads?

But as for calling Tuesday’s elections a coast to coast red sweep, I think some parts of this coast actually saw some blue sky when all was counted.

California voted to stay enlightened on the environment and stood up to Big Oil. Voters dumped proposition 23 which would have set back the state’s plan for dealing with global warming. Barbara Boxer fought off Palin-picking Carly Fiorina. Jerry Brown who believes in renewable energy and schools and is the poster boy for encore careers beamed himself back to Sacramento. Meg Whitman’s $160 million wasn’t enough to buy this election.

I asked a friend for more things to feel good about. He thought for a minute and said, “Grandkids. And the Chilean miners getting rescued. I still feel good thinking about them.”

Baseball On, News Strikes Out

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 © by Susan Swartz

I’ve been wishing that baseball would last into November, at least until after the midterm elections. I’ve come to rely on a regular three hour dose of lip-biting stomach-churning high anxiety that makes me temporarily forget the gaming going on in Washington and Wall Street.

I am not a big time baseball fan but more of a rookie rooter. I hang out on the periphery. I don’t know standings. Although baseball is the only sport I like to watch and I do live in GO GIANTS country, I don’t wear fan gear. Orange doesn’t go with my complexion and I would hate to invite someone to come up and start talking stats with me.

This season we did take in a day game. Went over by ferry, stopped into a waterfront dive for a cheap breakfast, heavy on the Tabasco sauce, sat in the sun (a rare summer day), near the field, close enough to see Pat the Bat’s dimples. Beautiful day. I can’t even remember who we played but we high-fived a bunch of strangers.

Then I caught the fever. I needed baseball for my health.

If I could program my brain to baseball I could suspend the other things that make me crazy. I know that’s hardly a new idea, that sports are a great distraction.

But I started to count on those nights when baseball was on TV at the same time as the news shows. Sure, I could record the news to watch when the game was over but I have this rule that I can’t go to bed with disaster dancing in my head even if it’s delivered by a very smart woman whose politics I share and who wears a charcoal blazer and maybe only a bit of eyeliner and who is the least loud of the loudmouths.

Some of our fellow Americans have shown themselves to be so nasty, paranoid, cruel, greedy and corrupt – what’s this now about banks evicting people without just cause? – that by comparison, baseball is simple and pure. I know some of these guys make an obscene amount of money, enough, if they wanted, to even try to buy the governorship of California.

But they do show up for work, put on their cute uniforms and sometimes those handsome long socks and they spit and they chew and they slam their water cups on the ground and go sit in a corner alone when they’ve messed up. And the fans go nuts, because we can relate in our own small way to brilliant moves followed by no-hitters.

There was a time when I could follow a game while doing email and reading a book, looking up only when the guy at the other end of the couch suddenly yelped.

Now the fever has taken me and I am single minded, wild-eyed and red-faced. I ignore the phone, put down all work and eat in the living room.

But I have learned that one can care too much. Life is a two-way street and sometimes the cure is worse than the complaint. There was the recent day when the magic was taking too long to happen. My husband started digging through the papers, looking for the section in the New York Times that is full of analysis and opinion and very little hope. He was so down in the baseball dumps, he thought it might cheer him to read about the latest collapse in western civilization.

Fortunately the Giants won the division and the news slipped back into second place. Save my seat. We’re dining with Tim.