Friday, April 15, 2011

Giants Fans are Hella On Wheels

I had a fun opportunity to pen a piece last week for the San Francisco Chronicle about a hopping little SF Giants bar smack in the middle of...wait for it...New York City.

Yes, more than a half century after the Giants bolted Gotham for the Bay Area, San Francisco Giants baseball fever is shared by all at the East Village dive Finnerty's.

Make no mistake--this post is a flat-out self-promotion, showing that I at times actually get paid to write, and am, in fact, Big in the Bay Area. But I was struck by an intriguing bit of regional patois that popped up in the piece: the use of "hella" as something of a pre-adjective.

Boston, as we well know, as its own pre-adjective in "wicked": The Sawx are wicked awful these days, Carl Crawford is a wicked good player, even if he's wicked sucked so far this season.

California, meanwhile, and really primarily Northern California, has "hella." The Giants winning the World Series was hella cool. Brian Wilson's beard is hella whack.

I grabbed a comment about Finnerty's off Yelp for the story. (Yes, I did my own reporting too.)

"I can travel all the way to the other side of the country and be surrounded by S.F. Giants logos, 49er jerseys and even a huge painted Golden Gate Bridge," wrote Cupertino's "Steph C." "I hella love NorCal."

I heard it in the bar that night too, as the Giants came up short against the hella hated Dodgers: Hella.
And when my sister lived in the Bay Area a few years back, I heard the version of hella preferred by pre-teens with conservative parents: hecka, as in, Star Wars is hecka cool. I wonder at what age you graduate from hecka to hella.
The hella cool online resource Urban Dictionary also takes a poke at Los Angeles when defining hella.

Originated from the streets of San Francisco in the Hunters Point neighborhood. It is commonly used in place of "really" or "very" when describing something.

The Fillmore is hella better than the Mission.

Thank God LA is hella far away.

The World Champ Giants (Do the headline writers call them the "Jints", like they do here in New York with the football Giants? And, on the topic of the Jints, I sat across the aisle from Jim Fassel, current coach of the Las Vegas Locomotives, from Vegas to Newark two days ago. Coach Fassel's reading material: NY Post, People. Wow, longest parentheses aside ever!) face the woeful Metsies in Queens starting May 3.

Finnerty's is hosting a "party bus" trip to the Debits Field contest May 4. But if coach buses aren't your style, I know the bar will be hella packed.

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