Claude Walker | Bicentennial-By-Buttons

A Cub Fan’s Open Letter to Giant Fans


Recently, I followed my Cubbies to AT&T Park. Sunny afternoon, perfect (except the score). But what I saw was troubling; hence my Open Letter.

I mean no malice: as a kid, your team was my 2nd-fave. I loved Marichal, Murakami, the Alous. Today, I lament the specter of The Freak’s final out. I rooted for you in recent post-seasons, thanks to our contempt for L.A. and St. Louis. (You appreciate why I can’t root for you this year.)

You have a terrific ballpark, and that’s coming from a fan who’s seen games at 15 different MLB stadiums since 2000 and calls Wrigley home. I love your mitt, cable car, Cove (we saw a splash foul), quirky angles and honoring of history. Fans, ushers and vendors were gracious, despite my robust rahs for Rizzo. A great place to see a game.

That’s my point. I was stunned at how few were seeing the game, instead gazing lovingly into their smart-phone or other device. Shame on you.

The Bay is a wired place; the Giants enjoy a tech-savvy, tuned-in fan base. But tuned-in to what? All around me, fans texting, selfie-ing, yakking, gaming, posting, “Liking”, updating “status”. Viewing replays? Maybe a few. But most are missing a Bumgarner gem, nutty near-inside-the-park homer and stylish 4-6-3. Most can’t forego frantic thumb-work to relish your shrine, your desperate champs, or your guys with names like Panik, Broadway, Buster and Belt (or the ex-Cub with a contradictory name: Ángel Pagán).

Most won’t even see that foul or bat shard screaming directly at their distracted melon. (Let’s hope MLB doesn’t mandate bigger nets to protect the box-seat “distracteds”; a ban on digital devices should be tried first.)

Inscribed on a wall at your park is the Field of Dreams soliloquy on baseball’s magic healing powers, its timelessness as America gets steamrolled. A fleeting glimpse of artistic excellence, infinity, perfection. Memories so thick you have to brush them away…unless you’re tweeting or in a webinar; in which case you’ll have few game memories.

These Giants deserve your full focus. Technology is best-used by those who use it appropriately and know when to hit “Off”. Isn’t a Giants game one of those times? Get your head out of your apps! Look up! Enjoy! Score-keep with a pencil.

The Bay Area was the epicenter of the tech revolution. Be in the vanguard of using technology appropriately at the ballpark.

To paraphrase your Dr. Leary: Turn Off (your device). Tune In (to the real action). Drop Out (of everyday drudgery). Don’t wait for a Big Brother-tron command to Make Noise! The noise will come.

Claude Walker, Chicago, IL


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