Most little boys, if they are going to bond with a baseball team, start paying attention by age 7 or so. Consider the expectations that the child in this scenario is building:
Age 7: team's new star pitcher wins Cy Young Award.
Age 8: team's star pitcher wins second consecutive Cy Young Award
Age 9: team's new star catcher comes up mid-season, sets franchise rookie consecutive hit streak, wins rookie of the year award. Oh yeah, and the team wins the World Series for the first time in more than fifty years, and the first time in its current city.
Age 10: team's star catcher suffers horrendous injury partway through season, yet team remains in hunt for playoffs until final days of the season.
Age 11: team's star catcher returns to win batting title and probably the MVP award, ace pitcher throws perfect game, and the team wins the World Series again.
That is Michael's context for following the Giants since he moved to the Bay Area. I have no frame of reference for this kind of parade of success. The World Series wins are precious to me because my context for the same ages was nothing but losing, wind-swept cold, and third-rate status in the baseball world. For the Giants to be the focus of sportswriters and fans nationally for several years running has gone from merely novel to downright surreal.
I still bear the proud, bitter temperament of being a fan of a team that is generally overlooked. Recent triumphs do little to erase the complex that comes from being ignored. On the other hand, being a Giants fan has been nothing but rewarding to Michael. Every year, he has had something truly remarkable to cheer for. In his experience, the Giants have always been a relevant presence on the national sporting scene. I fear that there is only one direction this can go.
Get ready for disappointment, kid. But enjoy it now, because being a fan is pretty sweet these days.
Update: I guess I am not the only person drawing these conclusions. Local columnist Ann Killion seems to agree with me.