I fell in love with the San Francisco Giants in 2009. I had grown up an Orioles fan, so I already had a proclivity for orange and black-clad underdogs that kept me on the edge of my seat. Being a Giants fan is not for the faint of heart: Even after two World Series wins, there is no certainty. One day they haven't won consecutive home games in over a month, and the next day Bumgarner and Posey are in a grand slam-hitting contest.
In the 2009 season when tickets were still cheap, my girlfriend and I would often go down to the stadium on a whim to grab a couple of scalped club level tickets and hold hands under the stadium lights while the wind from the bay made our cheeks burn. Watching baseball feels a whole lot like falling in love.
Stats and trivia aren't my thing. My love of baseball is based entirely on feelings. For me, baseball isn't about the team with the most skill. As the coach in the musical Damn Yankees will attest, baseball is about the team with the most heart. Anyone who's seen the way Tim Lincecum gazes towards home plate before he winds up to pitch should be able to see that he plays the game like he's in love with it.
But it's not 2009 anymore, and my beloved San Francisco Giants aren't exactly underdogs these days. Tickets are no longer cheap and I don't live in San Francisco anymore. Like many other Giants fans, evictions and rising rents have pushed me across the bridge, where the green and gold of the Oakland Athletics reign supreme.
The A's are currently ranked first in the ESPN power rankings, and they trounced the Giants during this month's Bay Bridge Series. I know from experience that trans-bay relationships can be rough, and it's much easier to date someone who lives on your side of the bay. I left my heart in San Francisco, but, with Oakland's modest stadium and scrappy bearded players, my eye is wandering.
Tradition dictates that fans must be loyal to one team, so many people would say I need to make a choice. But I disagree; my love for one team doesn't take away from my love for the other. This is the Bay Area, where open relationships and polyamorous communities thrive, so if I can have a fiancé, a boyfriend, and a girlfriend, who's to say I can't have a meaningful fan relationship with both the Giants and the A's?
I wasn't raised with religion. I grew up believing in baseball. The smell of a leather glove, the taste of a hot dog, and the way thousands of people gasp and cheer in unison restore my faith in humanity and a higher power in a way that church never has. Baseball is magic. So why would I limit experiencing that magic with just one team? The same is true for polyamorous relationships. I love going on dates with the pretty lady in my life, and I also love daydreaming about my wedding with my fiancé.
One doesn't take away from the other, and in fact, sometimes it even adds. My fiancé doesn't want to talk about centerpieces with me or leaf through bridal magazines for the perfect dress, but my girlfriend sure does.
The A's will never be what the Giants are to me. The Giants and I have a history and commitment to each other that simply can't be replaced. Tim Lincecum will continue to take my breath away, even when he is old and his rotator cuff is gone. But I also love looking at Coco Crisp's butt, and I look great in green and gold. I shouldn't have to choose. I will always love the San Francisco Giants. They are like my first boyfriend: unpredictable, sometimes stoned, and always sporting weird facial hair. But there's no denying the Oakland A's are hot right now, and I'd be foolish not to get a piece of that. The stadium is just 12 minutes from my house, and I don't think it should be considered cheating if I go to a game in Oakland once in a while.