Bernstein: Not All Titles Are Equal

After going up two games to none on the Rangers last night, Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff allowed himself to imagine the fruits of World Series victory.

“There probably isn’t one guy who couldn’t live here the rest of his life and not get a free meal every night,” he told the LA Times.

Perhaps he’s right, since San Francisco has not celebrated a championship since the Giants moved there from New York in 1957. And there are few cities better for endlessly-comped dinners (the French Laundry in Napa might be pushing one’s luck, but Huff should call chef Thomas Keller if they get two more wins. Can’t hurt to try).

Chicago baseball fans could relate to how emotions divide in the Bay Area. On one side, the lore and sentiment of the National League entrant connect with fans across the country who still fondly remember Bobby Thomson’s Shot and deify Willie Mays. The Giants are the primary team in town, looking down their nose at the AL stepchild in Oakland.

The Athletics only drew 17,511 fans per game this year, next to last in the league. They ply their Moneyball in an unpopular park on the unfashionable side of the water.

Ask Terry Steinbach or Mike Gallego if they have pulled out their wallet when a dinner check has arrived at the table recently. I’d guess yes, despite the World Series they won with Oakland in 1989.

It hits home – particularly while watching Juan Uribe — that the White Sox are five years removed from their own title. And depending on one’s reference point and personal context, the 2005 World Series can seem like forever ago or just last week. I have moments of each feeling.

I don’t get the sense that Chicago restauranteurs still can’t wait to roll out freebies for, say, Jon Garland. Game Three hero Geoff Blum would be lucky to have a single fan recognize him, despite his 14th-inning homer winning the longest game in series history. Even series MVP Jermaine Dye might have to settle, now, for desserts on the house.

Every title is different, influenced by the relationship a team has with a city and the timing of their victory. I needn’t begin to discuss the 1985 Bears, since you know fans will be lining up to volunteer as their drool-cup emptiers and diaper-changers when the time comes (which could be soon, listening to some of them).

And the 1969 Cubs continue to galivant around town, despite famously perpetrating a galling, end-of-season collapse and winning nothing.

Any afterglow of the Hawks’ Stanley Cup has faded relatively quickly during the well-chronicled offseason remodeling. Some faces departed before they could be committed to memory. Free drinks for Patrick Kane will continue for a while, however, putting some clubs on the cusp of insolvency.

So Huff can count his chickens, and dream of free steaks. Whether or not he gets them for life is the question.

More from Dan Bernstein
  • AT3374

    First off , TURN AUTO REFRESH OFF !!!!!

    Second , nice blog Bernsie

    Not sure why the ’69 Cubs are so beloved in this city or why the ’85 are talked about like they were some dynasty or something . Maybe cause I was 10 or 11 when they won , not sure .

    I’m postive Jordan doesn’t pay for anything in this city , not even parking tickets since he’s so deified .

    The WS will go 5 , and expect Bonds to rear his now regular sized peanut head to hog the glory .

  • Denver Smeghead


  • tom

    Dan you’re right on about not all championships being equal it pains me to say this but the cubs team that finally breaks the world series winless streak will be treated like divinities. It also depends on player’s individual personality as well as his marketability those players who score well in one or both categories will tend to get comped whether they win or lose. Players who are not famous can still get comped as long as there’s a vendor that likes them or feels enough people wome in just to see that player.


    Well said, Dan.

    While we are on the subject, how about the guys at Angels and Kings letting in some of the Bears entourage (or, those they reserved tables for)?
    Urlacher and Briggs should have been let in.

    • the hole in Adolfo Soriano's gold glove

      If the Bears offensive line were checking guests everyone would have gotten past the door without being touched.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        and given a VIP bracelet three yards before the door….

  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Excellent blog Bernsie, very insightful.

  • bronzo

    great blog Bernsie I don’t normally agree with you but you were spot on with this one. As far as the Whie Sox being remebered…For those of us who live on the south side I’m pretty sure Paul Konerko and Mark Buerlhe (sic) will never have to buy a drink on Western avenue for the rest of their lives.

  • Dave

    The problem is that neither Konerko nor Buehrle is likely to drinking on Western Ave any time soon.

  • bronzo

    Really Dave???


    How does a submariner ever get a strike call. It doesn’t look like the correct delivery.
    It seems to work for a little bit, but a patient batter is going to beat that delivery.

  • bronzo

    My point was those guys are still thought of pretty highly by Sox fans..


    While Giants’ fans are getting excited about their team’s first World Series title in quite sometime, the opposite can be said about the 49ers looking ahead to the NFL’s Bear-less weekend. It’s bad enough the NFL has sent the Niners and Broncos to London for what appears to be another snoozer in London. It’s even worse if you are QB David Carr. Like Alex Smith, Carr’s a former #1 overall pick of the Texans, but got passed over in favor of Troy Smith(?) Sunday. That’s the same Troy Smith who held a clipboard for the Ravens and is no immediate threat to Joe Montana and/or Steve Young. You know it’s not your year when the Niners, a once proud franchise, continues to become one of the NFL’s laughingstocks as long as Mike Singletary continues to head coach that team.



    Sorry, man, I have no sympathy for the 49ers. The amount of embarassment I’ve seen them hand the Bears, I can’t wait for payback. I don’t feel the same way about the Seahawks or the Cardinals, but that niners bunch. . . .

    Why only 13 games this week? Of course, I’ve been horrible in yahoo pick ’em.

  • Lydell

    Statistically, there are probably lots of guys named Aubrey who get free stuff in San Francisco.

  • Denver Smeghead

    What’s sick about that whole situation is that NOTRE DAME is investigating.

    Umm, no, ND: you let the police handle this so your negligence cannot be covered up.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      Notre Dame, Indiana is a municipality with its own police department etc.

  • Thomas Keller

    Thanks for the name drop none of your readers or listeners cared about.

    • Alice Waters

      Clearly untrue. Maybe he should have dropped Alice Waters’ name instead.

  • Mike Ruffone

    I’m here for WBBM news/sports, not to have CBS pimp me with a Bernstein Blog from WSCR. Cancel the CBS cross-promotion please.

  • TehBuLL

    Steak dinner. Boom.

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