FOX Sports Exclusive
Fan inspiring Giants with viral video
Ashkon Davaran has heard the question for years. Until a few weeks ago, he didn’t have a great answer.
Want to see what has Giants fans so pumped up? Watch it here.
What are you doing with your life? The short answer: some music and some acting, but not enough of either to declare that he had Made It. Friends suggested that maybe it was time to try something else.
Not anymore. The San Francisco Giants’ serendipitous run to the World Series has featured a parade of stars who weren’t supposed to be part of the October conversation. Davaran, who last played organized baseball when he was 13, is one of them.
Yes, Ashkon Davaran is The Guy in the Video.
“I’d like to meet him, actually,” Cody Ross said.
Ross is a 29-year-old outfielder. Davaran is a 29-year-old Berkeley resident. Each has become a sudden, improbable icon during this memorable month in San Francisco.
Two months ago, Ross was discarded by the Florida Marlins. Last week, he was named MVP of the National League Championship Series. And his desire to meet a fan from the East Bay suggests that the 2010 San Francisco Giants are equal parts social movement and baseball team.
The sellout crowds at AT&T Park don’t just cheer loudly. They cheer deeply. And that is why Davaran’s song -- a Giants version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” -- is one of the most poignant sports fan anthems in recent memory.
The video was posted during the first round of the playoffs and went viral almost immediately. By the time the ballpark had emptied after San Francisco’s Game 1 triumph over the Texas Rangers -- and Cliff Lee -- on Wednesday night, it had been viewed more than 1.15 million times on YouTube.
“Everybody in this stadium has seen it,” Ross said.
In 2004, Red Sox fans swayed to “Tessie” and watched their team break an 86-year curse. The Giants are three wins away from their first world title since 1954, and Ashkon is providing the soundtrack. It’s a feel-good song, the kind that makes you think San Francisco might be on the verge of its first baseball championship.
Wins over Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Lee have a way of fostering confidence, too.
“There have been some magical moments,” Davaran said. “There’s a lot of positive energy surrounding this team and this city right now. If that’s a team of destiny, then this might be a team of destiny.”
The song works for a number of reasons. First, the original is a classic. We all know that. But there is local significance, too. Journey was founded in San Francisco, and Steve Perry, the longtime lead singer, is a big Giants fan who was spotted in the crowd on Wednesday night. (Davaran said Perry is “cool” with the rewrite of his song.)
The irony is that the original plan had nothing to do with Journey. Davaran intended to work with White Collar Brawler on a lament about the Bay Area sports scene over the past couple decades. Then something goofy happened: The Giants won the division, meaning no one was in a mood for a song about Baron Davis.
Moved by the triumph, Davaran penned verses about Aubrey Huff’s rally thong and Brian Wilson’s beard, among other motifs of the season. Taping was done outside AT&T Park before the playoff opener against Atlanta. The lyrics were soulful -- This could be the sea-son! -- and Davaran mimicked nuances of Will Clark’s swing. Dozens of ordinary fans appeared in the video. That was important, given the team’s all-inclusive vibe.
But the Giants needed to advance through the playoffs in order for the song to work. Davaran and collaborator Kai Hasson were ready to go live on Sunday, Oct. 10. The problem was that San Francisco had split the first two against Atlanta and fell behind late in Game 3 -- the Brooks Conrad Game. Then the Giants rallied in the ninth. Ashkon’s big break came with the close of Bobby Cox’s managerial career.
“When Wilson closed it out, we pressed the button,” Davaran said. “It was the best swing of luck in my life. I’d never been on that side before.”
Davaran was reflecting on his good fortune while standing behind Section 113 on Wednesday night. His mere presence at the 11-7 win was a testament to the video’s reach. As recently as Tuesday night, he didn’t have a ticket. That’s when he ran into Laurence Baer, the Giants team president, at the World Series Gala.
Baer had heard the song. So had manager Bruce Bochy and broadcaster Mike Krukow.
“We’ve gotta get you tickets,” Baer said, according to Davaran. “We need you there.”
Ashkon Davaran has become a hero to Giants fans.
And there he was, clad in a Giants jersey, blue jeans and orange-and-white Converse sneakers. His hands were stuffed in the pockets of his brown leather jacket, and he said he never thought this would get to be so big. At one point during the late innings, a 74-year-old man stopped to tell Ashkon that he had emailed the YouTube link to everyone he knew.
Later, he was approached by two women who shrieked that he was a celebrity and had to take a picture with them. He posed with the blonde on one arm, the brunette on the other. A fan sauntered by, took stock of the scene and bellowed, “YYYEEEEAAAAH!” Yes, his team was winning Game 1 of the World Series, his video was a hit, and it was hard to imagine how life could get any better for Ashkon Davaran.
Well, there is one thing: He would love it if the Giants played the video on the scoreboard during a World Series game. Ross, who inspired a second Ashkon song, is onboard. “It’d be cool,” he said. “I heard they might. We’ll see.”
To be fair, a little editing would probably be necessary. I don’t think Major League Baseball wants the fan wearing a “LET TIMMY SMOKE” shirt to appear on the big board.
My advice? Tone it down, but just a little. Then navigate the licensing issues and put it on the screen. The place would go bonkers.
“If it happens, it happens,” Davaran said. “At one point, I was bummed out about it (not going on the scoreboard). Then I realized that this is an amazing year. The song and the video are tied to this amazing team. It’s all come together. And it’s made me a happy man.”