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Insert your own “beard” jokes

May 11, 2011

Dear San Francisco Giants:

You and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye.

I was 13 when Chili Davis set the tone for the 1987 NLCS, and for my lifelong snarliness about the Giants, by calling St. Louis a “cow town,” sending Cardinal fans to their local farm-supply stores in droves to buy cowbells to ring from the stands during the series. (San Francisco may outpace St. Louis when it comes to culture and cuisine, but we were way ahead of the curve on the “I gotta have more cowbell” thing.) We haven’t forgotten Jeffrey “Don’t Call Me Jeff” Leonard’s one-flap-down trots around the basepaths during that series, either. You don’t think Danny Cox is counting the days till he gets to plunk him in an old-timers’ game? Think again.

I suppose I can’t really blame you for the pain of the 2002 postseason, and I did enjoy watching you lose to my adopted-hometown team, the Angels, in that year’s World Series. I rooted against you again last October, partly out of habit, partly because of a collection of petty grievances against various Giants: Aubrey Huff’s swagger, Sergio Romo’s hair, Freddy Sanchez’s neurotic rituals, Brian Wilson’s very existence.

But there are things I—grudgingly—like about you, too. Your ballpark is beautiful. You’ve got a woman as your public-address announcer. You’ve landed a franchise player with a fantastic old-timey baseball name in Buster Posey. And now you have the chance—I might go so far as to say “the obligation”—to do something meaningful that no other major professional baseball, football, or basketball team has done.

Sean Chapin, a gay Giants fan, has asked you to create a video for the It Gets Better project, and at this writing, nearly 5,000 others have added their names to the request. (Sign the petition here.) And you need to do it. You’re a championship team in a city that prides itself on diversity and acceptance. You’ve already hosted LGBT community days and AIDS-awareness events at the ballpark. Your lovely stadium was recently the scene of an ugly gay-baiting incident between a fan and an opposing team’s pitching coach.

My feelings about the “It Gets Better” project are admittedly complex; I’m nervous about the implications of substituting reassuring mantras for actual societal change, and I’ve known too many friends for whom “it” didn’t get better. But if the alternative is silence—which has historically been the response of professional sports to the LGBT community—then this campaign is an unalloyed force for good. Need some encouragement? Read John Amaechi’s response to Kobe Bryant’s anti-gay slur, and understand just how powerful it is for a gay or lesbian kid to feel accepted, excluded, or ignored by the players and the team he or she idolizes. Who wouldn’t make a three-minute video to stand for love and hope and against discrimination?

Make it happen, Giants. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll forgive you for those nauseating MLB Network commercials about Brian Wilson’s beard—which, let’s be clear, is an unnatural, God-forsaken abomination that will never get better.

Gaily yours,
A Blog of Their Own

One Comment leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    May 11, 2011 9:38 am

    This may be your best post to date. No joke. Petition signed!

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