San Francisco is home to many things.
There's the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and a whole ton of homemade t-shirt makers looking for a quick buck. You'll have no trouble spotting them outside of AT&T Park. They make themselves known. And yes, many of the items they sell are either infringing on a copyright or just downright poorly made.
But not all of them.
When the San Francisco Giants entered the 2010 postseason, some brilliant merchandise ideas came to life. Sure, the proper channels churned out Brian Wilson beards for the kids, but local clothing makers and graphic designers took things to the next level with some of their creations.
When I saw ESPN's profile yesterday on local New Orleans stores selling "Free Payton" shirts to protest Coach Sean's yearlong ban, it reminded me of similar things produced for my home team.
This article does not advocate buying "bootleg" merchandise. All of the designs in the pages that follow are free from infringement. It is my opinion that the retail directors for the Giants' organization would be well served to consider adding these items to their Dugout store locations.
Without further ado, here are six homemade merchandise items the Giants faithful need in their closets.
We'll start with one that actually is sold in the Dugout Store, although they were not the originators of the concept.
It's hard to remember a time when the "Fear the Beard" catchphrase wasn't synonymous with Brian Wilson and his follicle-enhanced reliever brethren. FTB-mania came to true fruition when the Giants entered their September pennant run.
I remember watching Kron 4 (see below) do an interest piece on a company called Penguin Grenade, creators of the shirt pictured here. They also had another design featuring an outline of Brian Wilson that read "It's Beard Inside". Both were sold out by the time I visited their site online.
Just as the Giants didn't own the rights to the phrase "Fear the Beard", Penguin Grenade didn't own the rights to make a shirt that bore those words with a picture of Weezy's beard. Despite a hurried reprint, the original line of Penguin Grenade shirts have long since sold out, and the Dugout store is now stuffed with similar wares.
Still, it would be nice to see the "It's Beard Inside" shirt sold at retail outlets, with the Penguin Grenade team getting a cut. Visit the site's store to see the original designs.
With so many awful commercials rotting our brains between innings, you'd think the Giants would capitalize on one of the few that was genuinely funny.
For those who missed it, ESPN ran a spot where Tim Lincecum is in a cubicle, trying to record an outgoing voicemail message. He struggles with how to refer to himself, trying out The Freak, The Franchise, and finally Big Time Timmy Jim before settling on his name. Watch it below.
Why is the name Big Time Timmy Jim so funny? I don't know. But the name has stuck. Many message boards have adapted the shorthand of BTTJ when referring to Lincecum in a post. Some things just work, and Big Time Timmy Jim is one of them. Given that ESPN was the originator of the commercial, it surprises me that the only place you can pick up one of the shirts seen here is outside the ballpark.*
*Too scared to brave Lefty O'Doul Bridge? That's pretty sad, but here, you can buy the shirts online too.
There is no room in sports for fans to enact violence or hatred upon one another.
Giants fans know this as well as anyone, having followed the ordeal of Brian Stow, who was beaten into a coma during Opening Day at Dodger Stadium last year. With that said, rivalries are a fun and timeless element of baseball fandom. They have always existed and always will.
Dinger the Dinosaur is the mascot for the Colorado Rockies. In 2010, Yahoo reported that Rockies fans had written a letter to the Denver Post calling for his extinction. Bleacher Report correspondent Patrick Diamond listed him as the ninth worst mascot in all of sports. When all is said and done, I don't think I'm stepping on many toes when I advocate the meme featured here be translated into a t-shirt.
Mascot wars are hilarious. If a Rockies fan came to AT&T sporting a shirt that dissed Giants' mascot Lou Seal, I'd be all for it. In that spirit, and with the Rockies looking to be a serious NL West rival in the coming season, I say we get this shirt rolling off the line ASAP.
Latino culture is a huge part of San Francisco.
Sports teams have begun embracing their Latino fanbase by wearing Spanish-translated jerseys during select games and hosting Latino Heritage nights.
Dia de Los Muertos is an annual tradition in Mexican culture where the dead are remembered and honored during the first two days of November. It is a festive occasion, and one that is recognized in a big way in San Francisco. A popular icon of the holiday is the sugar skull, as represented in the shirt design shown here.
Leave it to Encantada, a store on Valencia Street, to combine baseball with heritage. The beautifully rendered depiction of a Giants sugar skull makes anyone wearing it standout as a local, in-the-know fan. My baby nephew is currently rocking the onesie version.
You won't see the Dugout Store carrying this design anytime soon, which is really their loss. Fortunately for you, the product line is available online through Encantada.
Pablo Sandoval became the Panda, and last season, Brandon Belt became the Baby Giraffe.
The whole thing got started because Belt has a rather long neck. SFGate credits announcer Duane Kuiper with coining the nickname. However it started, the name clicked. The Baby Giraffe momentum culminated when a nearby Six Flags amusement park named their new infant giraffe Brandon in his honor. What is left but to fuse Belt's image with a giraffe's neck?
This was probably the thought process that led artist Devon Almarinez to design the shirt seen here. I love that it has some humor to it, but isn't hokey in the way a lot of homemade merchandise can be. This shirt is part of the Heroics Clothing line, which has a lot of awesome Bay Area sports stuff.
I could definitely see the Giants stores carrying this item, especially if Belt gets a starting role and delivers the goods. Get it now from Heroics before the masses find it.
I saved the best for last.
Let's work through it together: Buster Posey's image in a dream catcher. Buster Posey: dream catcher.
Buster looks so earnest and eager in this photo, and the sparring usage of orange makes the aesthetics of the design topnotch. Mostly though, it's just a whopper of a clever idea.
Will everyone "get it"? No way. But the ones who do will love you forever.
If your credit card mysteriously found its way into your hand, email Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org with your size and prepare to show-off.