San Francisco's Bitterness Toward Our Glamorous SoCal Neighbors Shows Through in the Stands

If the media hyperventilates when this guy shows up at a ballgame -- your city might have an inferiority complex

When a spokeswoman for San Jose's mayor last week told SF Weekly that Gavin Newsom didn't belong on a Washington, D.C. junket along with the boss men of San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego -- this was a trip "for the major cities" -- it was a true Cinderella Moment. After years of smoldering in San Francisco's shadow, San Jose was off to the capital ball to beg for state funds from President Charming with the big players while San Fran stayed home and contemplated liquidating the iconic Brown twins for beer money.

Yet, naturally, we couldn't give a shit about San Jose, no matter how "major" a city they now deign themselves. For God's sake, it's San Jose -- Q.E.D. And that's the nature of an inferiority complex. San Jose is obsessed with catching and passing San Francisco. San Francisco doesn't give a moment's thought to San Jose (except to express annoyance when discount airline Web pages suggest routing us through SJO).

Of course, even a born San Franciscan such as your humble narrator realizes that this city is not immune to perverse bitterness -- and, dare we say it, an inferiority complex --  no matter how many Scandinavian families trek here each summer to ride the F-line. Simply put, we despise Los Angeles, Los Angelinos, and the Los Angeles ethos. And they really don't give a shit about us. It seems they don't give a shit about much.

Perhaps because stating baldly that you despise an entire people sounds like something only a person wearing an armband would say, our bitterness is best cloaked through the manner in which we root for our sports teams. Sometimes this is neither amusing nor subtle: Giants fans in Chavez Ravine may get razzed a bit -- but ask a longtime San Franciscan about that Dodgers double-header at the 'Stick back in '88 and watch his smile fade. You haven't felt the vindictiveness that goes hand in hand with an inferiority complex until you realize that the sickening thump on the back of your stadium seat was a Dodger fan's head -- and God knows where he was sitting before they threw him. By the way -- they don't really bleed Dodger blue. 

Our obsession with our glamorous rival city is more benevolently revealed by the light-hearted print and TV coverage any time a "celebrity" shows up at a Bay Area sporting contest. In Los Angeles it's no great shakes to share a men's room trough with the guy whose face is adorning the billboard on the outfield wall -- but here in San Francisco, we're definitely on the wrong end of a famous fan gap. So it was no surprise that when the fellow who plays a plumber on Desperate Housewives showed up to take a few cuts at the Giants' spring training complex, it did not go unnoticed.   

Now, James Denton may be the most famous television plumber in history (not including Captain Lou Albano playing Mario during the Super Mario Brothers cartoon live segments). But, you know, the man ain't Brad Pitt. And, when the guy selling you a Dodgers ticket is also pushing a screenplay, it's hard to imagine an actor of similar stature getting a full story on the Los Angeles team's Web page and local dailies -- especially when he professes that he actually roots for the team's arch-rivals. But here we are, in essence, crying out "See? See? We get celebrity fans too! He was great in Season One!"

And who is the big winner here? Not Los Angeles -- remember, they're oblivious about everything down there. Not us. Not San Jose. It's Fresno. While San Francisco spews vitriol at Los Angeles and San Jose pines after San Francisco's status, Fresno is waiting, patiently waiting for its chance to strike at San Jose. It won't be long now.

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It's really funny how this quote works out all too well with the right substitutions:

"Yet, naturally, we couldn't give a shit about San Francisco, no matter how "major" a city they now deign themselves. For God's sake, it's San Francisco -- Q.E.D. And that's the nature of an inferiority complex. San Francisco is obsessed with catching and passing LA (or NY). LA (or NY) doesn't give a moment's thought to San Francisco ."  

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