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2008-09-04 06:31
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Earlier this summer I went to a meeting of the New York Giants Nostalgia Society up in the Bronx. Here is a piece I did for SNY on the meeting:

"For some reason the Giants didn't get a love lock on the people of New York the way the Dodgers did on the people of Brooklyn," says Roger Kahn, whose seminal book, "The Boys of Summer", helped perpetuate the myth of the Brooklyn Dodgers. "The Giants were New York's original team. The old New Yorkers rooted for the Giants. The Yankees were tourists."

The Giants were New York's first baseball dynasty under the helm of John McGraw and led by superstar pitcher Christy Mathewson. But they were soon eclipsed by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the Yankees. "You never could refer to the Giants as Dem Bums or as Fat Cats," says Arnold Hano, author of the "A Day in the Bleachers," the classic first-person account of Game One of the 1954 World Series in which Willie Mays made his famous over-the-shoulder catch.

"The Yankees were Fat Cats, the Dodgers were Bums, and the Giants were in somewhere in between. They were like the middle child. They didn't have any gloried stars: Mel Ott and Bill Terry and Carl Hubbell were great but it was hard to have fan clubs for them. They were bland. Priests in Brooklyn were praying for Gil Hodges to break out of slump. Why didn't that happen to the Giants? Maybe because Brooklyn is the land of churches."

In addition, I shot and produced a short video for SNY.  Here it is.  Hope you enjoy (and thanks go to Dave, Jonah, Fred and Jay for helping me put it all together):

Comments
2008-09-04 07:10:49
1.   ms october
very nice alex!!
that was very interesting.

the sociologist in me has been curious as to why the giants don't have the popularity and nostalgia the dodgers have.
i think it is partially rooted in popular culture ingraining - such as what one of the interviewees said about in ww2 movies the gi always talked about wanting to get home to see the dodgers. but why did the dodgers attain more pop culture cache (if that is indeed part of the explnation)?
i am also curious to hear other theories.

also saw both mets hats and yankee jerseys in the video - have most of those old guys stayed nl fans and hooked up with the mets - or did the polo grounds proximity to the bronx lead them to the yanks? or something else?

2008-09-04 07:14:02
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 That's a NY Giants cap you saw. No Mets cap that I can find, though certainly it's true that many Giants and Dodger fans stayed true to the NL in NYC by becoming Mets fans.

Tremendous work, Alex.

2008-09-04 07:15:48
3.   ms october
2 damn, got that wrong. thanks cliff- just re-watched it and saw that it was a giants cap.
2008-09-04 07:25:21
4.   williamnyy23
I think the problem for the Giants is that just when baseball started to explode in popularity, along came Babe Ruth. Then, just when Hollywood was starting to ramp up around the War, the Dodgers were the better team. Also, I think the Dodgers rode on Brooklyn's coattails more than the other way around. Being a Dodger fan was just another part of the Dems and Dose ethnic Brooklyn characters (think William Bendix in Guadalcanal diary) that seemed so popular in Hollywood movies.
2008-09-04 07:28:23
5.   williamnyy23
2 My Brooklyn grandfather switched from the Dodgers to the Mets, but my father stayed with the team to LA. My Manhattan grandfather was a big Yankee fan and imparted that to all of his children. Luckily, I inherited the Yankees blood.
2008-09-04 07:28:31
6.   vockins
My father's side of the family were huge (gigantic?) Giants fans, and fortunately my grandmother on that side is a total pack rat. Not a year goes by without her digging up some crazy artifact. Programs, baseball cards, scorecards, ticket stubs... She metnioned in passing that she had a score card signed by Hubbell, Ott, and Rogers Hornsby. Jeez!

I would have loved to have seen a game at the Polo Grounds. What a weird field. Totally bizarre.

2008-09-04 08:54:52
7.   Saburo
Very nicely done.
2008-09-04 08:59:52
8.   Jon Weisman
Very cool, Big Al.

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