San Francisco Giants Are All Heart When It Comes to Missing Fan

Billy Chamberlain
Missing San Francisco Giants fan Billy Chamberlain with pitcher Matt Cain
We like to talk a lot about sports franchises in terms of the fan experience. Teams supplement game play with JumboTron antics and giveaways for a reason: to keep us coming back. But as of today, there's no team in the world that can match the San Francisco Giants when it comes to valuing their followers. How else do you rate a Major League Baseball team putting together a nationwide search to find a missing fan?

His name is Billy Chamberlain, and for years he was sitting outside AT&T Park every single game day until team manager Bruce Bochy came out. But as they told NPR's "All Things Considered," no one has seen hide nor hair of him since July 31.

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The story gets sadder from there. Billy apparently lived off disability checks and was once found living in the parking lot of the stadium. The team has traditionally taken care of him, from players paying to get him to road games to a stadium staffer offering him a place to live.

To me, the search for their missing fan is really just the tip of the iceberg. The men of the Giants have done a lot for their community -- from an It Gets Better video to help gay teens to the financial support of Bryan Stow, a man beaten into a coma at Dodgers Stadium simply for wearing his Giants jersey. But I wouldn't be a realist if I didn't say the team got as good as they gave in those instances. I'll say they meant what they were doing, but they also got a lot of good publicity out of it.

Helping Billy Chamberlain over the years was just something they did. Off the books. Out of the spotlight. True this search is highly public, but they could have just written the guy off, let him disappear, not had him riding their coattails anymore. Instead they're out there shaking the trees, talking on national radio shows, trying to find their guy.

The Giants have proven something to me, how about you?

If you know anything about the whereabouts of Billy Chamberlain, call San Francisco police at (415) 553-1071 or Sgt. McAuliffe with the department's missing-persons unit at (415) 558-5508.

Image via San Francisco Giants

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