This week, the San Francisco Giants became the first team in MLB to clinch a playoff berth. It was perhaps the biggest Bay Area upset since Netflix renewed “Fuller House.”
After an offseason dominated by talk of the Padres/Dodgers rivalry becoming baseball’s version of The Avengers vs. Thanos, everybody has been trying to figure out how the Giants did it.
Perhaps it was their veteran championship core playing like All Stars again. Possibly they’d figured out a revolutionary new method of coaching the best performances out of their players.
Or maybe this group of 30-something stars gets really inspired by Journey sing-alongs.
We haven’t really figured the NL West leaders out yet! But what we can conclude is this: based on how their organization has taken the concepts of Pride and LGBTQ outreach to the next level, no team applies a modern-day mentality to baseball better than the Giants.
Being the first major league team to wear a rainbow Pride insignia on their caps and shoulder patches obviously doesn’t correlate to wins and losses. If it did, other teams would try to top it and by the end of the year, you’d end up with Philadelphia taking the pennant thanks to Lil Nas X twerking on the Phillie Phanatic in the “Montero” video.
But what it does demonstrate is that the Giants embrace the status of setting new precedents in the game and bringing MLB into the 21st century.
The rainbow SF caps looked spectacular on TV and got so much good press, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more teams emulate the San Francisco model for future Pride Nights. Just like baseball front offices look to duplicate roster-building philosophies from the most successful organizations.
In 2021, the Giants found themselves in the enviable position of being ahead of the rest of baseball both on the field and off. It’s not surprising that a team that knows to include the colors of the Progress Pride and Transgender Pride flags into their rainbow would also pay attention to the little details of team construction that help win games.
They also knew it wasn’t enough to simply wear Pride caps — the Giants also embraced what the uniforms stood for. San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler enthused, “I’m very proud of our group for publicly supporting the LGBTQ+ community. I think it’s an important step, and I think we’re all standing behind the community.”
Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman agreed, noting “Obviously this is a city that’s really inclusive. It was fun to be a part of. I’ve never worn a hat like that before, so that was cool.”
Gausman had also never worn a cap with an All Star Team insignia either until he did that for the first time just one month after donning the rainbow colors. During the 2021 season, the Giants taught their players how to serve both Harvey Milk and Juan Marichal realness and it paid massive dividends in the standings and in the community.
Because they’re an organization that has embraced leading the way for the best of baseball, the Giants made June come alive like no other team before them. And since they apply that same principle to baseball strategy, they have a chance to make October just as special.