“If the Giants win the World Series, I’ll give you this hat.”
I was 7 years old and we were on a family camping trip with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in Southern California. Really, it was more like pseudo-camping — there were motorhomes and such involved, but all the kids got to sleep in tents.
It was a Saturday night in October of 1989 and the San Francisco Giants were playing against the Chicago Cubs in the third game of the National League Championship series. The series was tied at one game a piece.
Someone had a television on in their motorhome and had turned it around so those of us on nearby picnic tables could watch. Since we all had grown up or lived in Southern California, I don’t think anyone there was entirely interested in the game — my cousins were California Angels fans and I had decided to like the Los Angeles Dodgers. The game was probably on more for background noise.
One of my uncles was wearing a Giants hat that evening. I don’t think he really cared for the Giants, or even liked baseball for that matter. But for some reason, he was still wearing it.
I remember my initial impressions of the hat though. It looked absolutely sinister! Maybe it a combination of the colors (black and orange) and the fact that it was October and Halloween was approaching. But I think I kind of loved it.
So, my uncle made me an offer. If the Giants went on to win the World Series, he would give me his hat.
I thought it was an awesome deal!
Unbeknownst to me at the time, my recent newfound love of baseball and the responsibilities of being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan (who had won the World Series the year prior) would be diametrically opposed to everything related to that sinister looking hat.
The Giants would eventually go on to play against the Oakland Atheletics in the 1989 World Series, famous for two things: the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred during the middle of the series and the fact that the Giants would be swept by the Athletics in four games.
A few months later, during a family Christmas party, I saw my uncle and remembered that sinister looking hat. For some reason, it still tugged at my heart. I asked him what he did with it.
“Oh, that thing? I threw it away.”
And just like that, I threw away the chance for me to ever become a Giants fan.
My love for the Dodgers would continue to blossom, and when I eventually moved to San Francisco 15 years later, it would be one of the few things besides my friends and family that I would still stubbornly cling to that were from Southern California.
I love living here in San Francisco. However, when I see that hat, I still think it looks sinister. But now it’s for different, more nefarious, and even loathsome reasons.