I made a mistake last weekend while teasing Eric Asimov on Twitter about his unsophisticated taste in baseball teams.
My mistake was not in razzing a guy with such an erudite palate for supporting the Goldman Sachs of baseball; it was in my analogy. I said "Yankees= Screaming Eagle." But I was wrong, and I apologize to Screaming Eagle.
The Yankees are first-growth Bordeaux: entitled gentry with an expectation to be among the best every year -- which they usually are. Sparing no expense, they're priced out of the average person's budget, but they just don't care; they have more than enough wealthy fans willing to prostrate at their feet. They like it when countercultural types disdain them; they prefer the world separated by class. (If they do deign to hire an unruly servant -- a Giambi, for example -- that ruffian must clean up and respect his masters.) They're timeless, age-worthy, formidable and admirable in a cold-blooded capitalist way.
The Rangers, on the other hand, are edgy, fast, with a dark side barely suppressed. They've underperformed for their entire history and they're wildly unpredictable now, with the potential for greatness or to completely unravel. They're a combination of bumpkins, rebels, military types and dopers. They are cool-climate, wild-yeast Syrah from a foggy part of Mendocino County.
The Phillies are respectable, predictable and solidly built, strong in every facet, giving a good performance every year. If they have a weakness, it is susceptibility to aging. But they have rabid fans who will not desert them even if the rest of the country is against them, and they continue to rack up decent scores. They are Napa Valley Merlot.
So what wine are the coolest baseball team on the planet this year -- the San Francisco Giants?
They're complex, with lots of character. They have the reputation for aging but in fact their best players are fantastic when young. They're easily the most fun. (How can you not love Timmy Lincecum, whose response to being whistled at by Phillies fans ragging his long hair was, "I must have a really nice butt"? Lincecum is the anti-Yankee.)
Until last night, every one of their games in postseason, as well as the preceding week, had been a tense, well-played, low-scoring classic. They are the connoisseur's team. A middle American might want more power; a conservative might complain that they're not completely dry. They're on the knife edge of ripe enough, torturously so.
They are obviously a product of their terroir. From the deadpan announcers to the senior-citizen "ball girls," this is a team that just screams "San Francisco."
The Giants are Riesling. It's tempting to declare them to be Champagne, but The Gray Market Report is a highly respectable wine blog, and in the wake of two celebrations and counting, I will not encourage or condone cannibalism. Sometimes a man has to take a stand.
Riesling it is. And tomorrow's another vintage.