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Giants Have Fan Connection Yankees Lack

By Mike Silva ~ October 27th, 2012. Filed under: MLB.

Does winning guarantee a great relationship between the fans and team? Clearly the answer is “no” after we saw scores of empty seats at Yankee Stadium during the postseason.

The antithesis of New York Yankees apathy is what is going on in the Bay Area with the Giants. AT&T Park (formerly Pac Bell) has always been a great home field advantage. The Giants were fourth in attendance this season, and are one of the few teams to outdraw the Yankees the last decade (2001). This postseason, however, we have seen more energy than any fan base in the history of the sport. Some have compared the atmosphere to the Metrodome during the Twins title runs in 1987 and 1991. That is high praise as those clubs didn’t lose a home game in either season.

The performance by Giants’  fans in Games 6 and 7 against St. Louis was a huge lift to the club. They have won six straight since losing the first two against Cincinnati in the NLDS. Mike Krukow, a former Giants pitcher and current broadcaster, told Chris Russo on Sirius he believes the two losses against the Reds were due to the team feeling the pressure of pleasing the home fans that have supported them all season. It appears those same fans helped get them over the hump and defeat a Cardinals team that appeared destined to repeat as champions.

So why do we see such passion in San Francisco? The ballpark has something to do with it, no doubt. Back in April, Harrison Chastang wrote in the Beyond Chron that “The stadium has remained popular with not only to die hard Giants fans who have more than a few Croix de Candlestick (the pin issued to fans after extra inning night Candlestick games) but to a whole new generation of Bay Area residents who might not necessarily be serious baseball fans but are more concerned about having a good time than Barry Zito’s ERA.”

Those are the type of fans that probably no longer show up to Yankee Stadium due to cost, and the desire to not be treated as an uninvited nuisance by the stadium security Gestapos. A night at AT&T Park sounds like an event, not an invitation-only polo match for the city’s elite.

Are they corny and goofy? Sure. Giants’ fans may have a good number of people who care more about eating, drinking and having a good time. Still, they have a connection to the team and make noise when something positive happens on the field. That is the point of going to a baseball game. It’s the difference between 90% capacity and standing-room only. Even during the post-Barry Bonds down period the team still had solid attendance figures and only fell out of the top-ten one season.

Giants’ CEO Larry Baer also believes the fans and team have a great connection. He also spoke to Chris Russo about how they have gravitated towards characters like Pablo Sandoval, Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson. In the case of Lincecum and Wilson, they still remain popular despite struggling on the field and losing time to the disabled list.

Giants’ fans like their players and support them. This is conspicuously absent in New York as the big stars don’t seem approachable. They have a boorish and bullying team executive in Randy Levine. Even the most engaging Yankee – Nick Swisher – is largely obnoxious and phony. Derek Jeter’s best trait is a balanced aloofness that helps keep the clubhouse in check, but doesn’t give an approachable warm and fuzzy feeling to fans.

The Yankees proved that 95 wins a year isn’t enough to make the fans happy. There needs to be something more, and it starts with connecting with the 25-man roster.

Watching baseball in San Francisco is a fun party. Watching baseball in New York is a job that requires you to have a second mortgage in which to participate. Add in the personality of the players and you have a perfect fan-team relationship that might propel the Giants to their second World Series title in three years.

That would be one more than the Yankees have won the last decade, and they didn’t need to invest over two billion dollars for it.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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