By Sam Sigal, Media Relations Assistant
The “Big Apple” and “The City of Brotherly Love”, New York City and Philadelphia to be exact, can cast a pretty big shadow, especially when it comes to professional sports. And for the majority of the last fifteen years, I have lived in Princeton, New Jersey, a place smack-dab in the middle of those two fan territories. With two teams occupying New York in all four of the big-time sports, most of my friends, and the people around me rooted overwhelmingly for one of three professional teams in each sport. For example, in baseball I was usually overwhelmed by Phillies fans, Yankee fans or Mets fans, while in football it was the Eagles, Giants or Jets most people were cheering for come fall season. I, however, was born in the beautiful city by the bay out west known as San Francisco, California. So when the Yankees were celebrating the four World Series Championships in five years from 1996-2000 and again in 2009, the Phillies won a title in 2008 and a National League Pennant the following season, and the Mets were, well, the Mets, but for some reason still being talked about, my team, the San Francisco Giants, meddled through mediocrity.
Football was certainly not any better. The Philadelphia Eagles may have failed to win a Super Bowl during the Andy Reid Era, but no NFC team during the past decade won more games. And let me tell you, not many things are more obnoxious than Philadelphia sports fans who THINK they’ve accomplished more than they have. During that time period, the New York Giants made the postseason six times, with two Super Bowl appearances and one title (adding a second this past season). Then, there are the Jets. The Jets to me epitomize New York sports. Sure, outside of one successful guarantee by Joe Namath more than forty years ago they haven’t won anything. However, due to an obnoxious head coach who likes hearing himself talk as much as he likes coaching, the New York fan base is peculariouly hypnotized into believing that the Jets are actually worth caring about.
But, I once again didn’t have much to stack up against either of those teams. For my kindergarten memories of the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl XXIX victory in 1994 was the highlight of my football fandom for the better part of the next fifteen years. While the end of the 90’s offered glimpses of success, the ‘ole Gold and Red quickly sunk to the bottom of the football ladder, while my friends’ favorite franchises prospered.
Long story short, watching teams like the Yankees and Phillies prosper on the diamond, while the Eagles and New York Giants thrived on the gridiron (not to mention the Mets and Jets staying annoyingly relevant) caused me to resent even more the lack of success of my favorite squad. But, slowly but surely the tide has turned! In 2010, my San Francisco Giants not only returned to the playoffs for the first time in seven years, but went on to win their first World Series crown since 1954! Unlike fans of perennial powerhouses like the New York Yankees, the World Series title in 2010 left me with a sense of satisfaction that I thought would last a lifetime. I didn’t need a dynasty. Heck, one World Series ring was good enough for me! But, as if I was being rewarded for my years of disappointment (okay, I apologize Cubs fans, I guess it wasn’t THAT bad), one championship didn’t have to last forever, as only two seasons later Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants did it again, and in turn became the first team since THOSE New York Yankees to win multiple titles in three years.
And while I may be jumping the gun a bit writing this days before the 49ers take on the Atlanta Falcons with a birth in Super Bowl XLVII at stake, Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Patrick Willis and the rest of Coach Jim Harbaugh’s squad has a chance to turn me into something I never thought I’d be: A fan spoiled by winners. I guess that leaves me with one question I can ask myself:
Is San Francisco the new New York?
Sam enters his first season as media relations assistant with the Crawdads. Born in San Francisco, California before moving to Princeton, New Jersey, Sam graduated from Rider University with a degree in Communications and a focus in Radio Television, while serving as Student Manager for the Men’s Basketball team during his time there. He spent 2012 as an intern with the Trenton Thunder, the AA team of the New York Yankees. Sam enjoys playing and watching sports, as well as hanging out with friends and having a good laugh (or a bad laugh, if there is such a thing).