No. 46: San Francisco Giants

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 5:52 PM ET
By Max Klinger | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 32
Title track: 5 (tie)
Ownership: 37
Coaching: 53
Players: 41
Fan relations: 35
Affordability: 91
Stadium experience: 2
Bang for the buck: 79

The San Francisco Giants' philosophy of "build it and they will come" is still paying off 12 years after AT&T Park first opened its gates. To go along with the NL's longest consecutive sellout streak (150 games, as of Sept. 3), fans voted the Giants' picturesque park as the best stadium experience in MLB (second best in all of sports). With the first privately financed park since 1962, the Giants have routinely been ahead of the curve on things like dynamic pricing (first in pro sports) and tech-friendly environs (first to offer parkwide Wi-Fi). Back that up with a dogged marketing and promotions department -- quirky promos include Grateful Dead Night, Bruce Lee Night and Yoga Day -- and the Giants have the seventh-best fan relations in the majors. They even managed to turn 2010's brand of offense-free baseball into a marketing slogan: Torture. But what really impresses fans is likable players, and the Giants have had no shortage of them between their talented pitching staff, their character-laden lineup and their consistent free agent purchases at the trade deadline (and of course there was Melky). At this year's All-Star Game, the entire country saw an NL starting lineup that was basically half Giants go on to crush the AL 8-0. San Francisco's devoted fans had to smile to themselves knowing that is the team they get to see nearly every day.