Your (well, mine, actually) San Francisco Giants cap

This orange and black beauty was a freebie I picked up on moving to San Francisco and the Bay Area in 1993. Of all places, I got it at the tony Nordstrom department store in downtown San Francisco, just for trying on a pair of Bostonian dress shoes. I was not shopping for shoes that day, but for a free baseball cap, I’d try on a corset.

The cap was produced right after the Giants reverted to this seriffed logo, which hearkened back to the old New York Giants logo. With or without seriffs, the Giants’ logo is instantly recognizable, bringing to mind* Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, and many others.

While the San Francisco Giants have had few cracks at World Series glory in my lifetime, it’s a time-honored franchise. I saw the Giants often in the 1990s at “the Stick” — Candlestick Park, where the unpredictable bay breezes were as much a factor in the games as was Barry Bonds. Now the Giants play at AT&T Park, the Nordstrom of modern ballparks. The Seattle retailer started out as a shoe store in 1901 just as the American League was getting started. Nordstrom evolved into a department store. For most of the 20th Century, a ballpark was just a ballpark. But for the 21st Century, it must be a shopping mall.

I finally got inside AT&T Park at a game last September, and it was a memorable trip with my son as we took the ferry from Alameda to the game. What struck me on arriving was how many lures the team laid out to separate you from your money. Restaurants, souvenir shops, video games — I was on sensory overload within two minutes when all I wanted was garlic fries and my seat.

While I suppose it’s great to be able to buy Asian fusion cuisine or sample Sonoma chardonnay between innings, just give me a beer, a hot dog and an unobstructed view of the diamond. What matters is between the foul lines.

*Depending on your age, feel free to substitute Will Clark, Robby Thompson and Rick Reuschel.

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