October 24, 2014
An Illustrated Guide to the People of AT&T Park
The following originally ran two years ago today. With two exceptions—the seventh word of the piece, and the section on the woman in the Marlins jersey who turned out to be a dude in a Marlins jersey, and who we now know much, much more about—it's just as true today, so we hope you'll enjoy it anew.
You will be spending the next two days with the AT&T crowd, so you might as well get to know who they are. While a stadium of 43,000 can hold countless types, the culture of the park can be pretty well summed up by just a few of them.
The young friends with varying degrees of interest in the outcome of the game.
“Hat,” he said. “Check. Parka, check. Tickets, check. Glove, check. Skittles, check. Come on guys get here get here get here.” Maybe he should go pee one more time—
—but a knock at the door. “Finally!” he thought to himself. “Finally!” he started to say as he opened the door, but he stopped. “What the s*** Alex. What are you even wearing?”
Oh no. It was just the reaction Alex had feared. For weeks, when he was alone in his apartment, he had been wearing the hat, trying it out, practicing if you will, and stopping every time he passed a mirror to examine himself. He liked it. It looked good, right? He didn’t want to wear a baseball cap forever. He wanted to have a family, join the PTA. But he feared, always, this moment, when he took the hat out in public.
“I lost my other hat,” he mumbled. “My grandma gave me this. It’s the only thing I could find. Do you have an extra cap—”
—but a knock on the door. Jason opened it.
“WHAT THE S*** RAYMOND.”
“What? It’s baseball.”
-- and a knock at the door. Jason opened it.
“WHAT THE S*** ERNIE!!!!”
“You guys ready to go?”
What could they do, but sigh and get over it. "Let's do it! Game Seveeeeeeen!"
The errant high fivers
You can't underestimate how much our actions are influenced by millions of years of biological evolution. For instance, humans have an innate ability to detect snakes hiding in the grass. Even "very young children (can) very quickly detect the presence of of a snake from among a variety of non-threatening objects and creatures such as a caterpillar, flower or toad." That's not because you, as a human, are likely to bump into a snake in your lifetime, but because you, as a human, are very likely to bump into a snake throughout the course of human existence. High fives are much more fun than spotting snakes hiding in the grass, but they are not innate. High fives don't appear to have existed before 1977, perhaps later. We're still learning to high five, but Giants fans in particular are committed to practicing and practicing and practicing until our descendants, perhaps thousands of years from now, can high five for their survival. Until then—well, until then they remain a bunch of tech engineers.
(The guy in the orange hat in the top-left corner, by the way.)
The texters and Tweeters.
but not just the man at the bottom right. Based on one random sample, conducted during Monday's game, 15 percent of fans are tweeting or texting at any given moment of play:
Tweeting because they're waiting for something exciting to happen, Tweeting because they're mad they just missed it.
Real cool surfer:
The real cool surfer is very stylish; his Giants-game outfit perfectly marries style with the subtlest shade of orange in the plaid. Judging by the label on his beer, I'm guessing he is drinking Endless Summer Light, which "tastes refreshing whether you like putting your toes to the nose or just in the sand." All around him are different levels of fan intensity: The man screaming at the bottom left, the man staring defiantly at the randomness before him, the man waving an orange towel. Surfer is also happy about the Giants' success, but he's very chill about it, as he ponders big thoughts about how infinite the universe is and what if you could surf through an asteroid shower.
The one man in each section wearing a suit, who bought a single and came straight to the game and doesn't sit down the entire time because he just loves the Giants more than you know:
Don't forget, San Francisco is also a thriving economic hub and a major player in the global economy. You might see a lot of old hippies, but most of the people in the crowd actually help produce the modern lifestyle that you love so much!
The eccentric Superfan
(See note at the bottom.)
The 19th-century gold prospector:
Nobody has better old hippies than AT&T.
That doesn't quite cover the whole crowd, but everybody else is a kid in a panda hat.
Note: I spent most of the game debating the gender of eccentric fan, but because of the camera distance and the sideways visor it was hard to be sure. Amy K. Nelson actually tracked him down! Him. He's a him. For the record.