New York Mets
San Francisco Giants
W: Z. Wheeler
L: M. Cain
Barbara and Adela
Wow. I had a ridiculously fun time today. It is starting to become quite ludicrous how great this tour has been and I do not want it to end. My new friends Barbara and Adela gave me one of the best days that I have had in a summer filled with outstanding moments. I was able to watch batting practice from the field (thanks to Barbara), celebrate Adela's birthday with some cupcakes in the stands, chat with Giants radio man Marty Lurie and learned that the 2012 World Series champions may have been known as the Tampa Bay Giants had it not been for Barbara.
Today's game had a 12:45 PM start time so Rindler and I had to wake up at the crack of dawn. After the 11 hour drive yesterday it was not easy rolling out of bed, but I was told by Barbara that I might want to get to the park early. For those of you who do now know who Barbara, I will explain. It all began one afternoon in Cooperstown, NY. While I was checking out the plaques in the Hall of Fame, a woman asked me if I was a Giants fan (I was wearing my away Tigers hat so the orange logo was all that she could see). We briefly talked about the 2012 World Series and the way in which her club ripped my heart out of my chest before turning to happier topics. She introduced me to her daughter Adela whom she had brought along with her which sparked my interest of mothers and daughters at the ballpark. The story of fathers and sons going to ballgames together has been told ad nauseam, but here was a mother and daughter who have bonded over their love of the Giants. With Adela heading off to college, both women know that no matter what happens, they will always have baseball.
We spoke for no more than five minutes before exchanging business cards and heading in our separate directions. About one month after our first meeting, I received an email from Barbara telling me that the day that my San Francisco game was scheduled happened to be on Adela's birthday. They were both going to the game as well and she offered me two of her season tickets to come and sit with them. Over the next couple of weeks we exchanged emails and finally connected again last night when I arrived here in the Bay Area. The reason why I wanted to take you through the saga of how I met Barbara and Adela is that these two women, who were complete strangers to me a couple of months ago, brought me to AT&T Park early this morning, took me into the Giants front office building, through the bowels of the stadium and onto the field to enjoy Giants batting practice live from the warning track.
One of the reasons why I wanted to do this tour was to reconnect with society. I have not written too much about my personal story aside from what is included in the “About” section and the little bit I recorded for the teaser episode of the podcast; but the last couple of years of my life have not been that great. I will go into more detail in a future post, but for now I will simply say that I spent a very long time isolated and alone with very few people in my life. I have met so many amazing people on this tour during the last several weeks and it is all thanks to baseball.
A big thanks to Giants front office personnel Jack and Susan for bringing us on to the field and talking a little baseball with us. Jack was a part of the small group of dedicated fans who fought to keep the Giants in California. What was a lot more impressive to me was that the giant glove in left field was modeled after a glove belonging to Jack's father. My time here is San Francisco is making it very difficult for me to keep hating this franchise for sweeping my Tigers in the 2012 World Series.
After batting practice Barbara, Adela, Rindler and I took a stroll around the park and stopped to watch some kids slide down the giant Coke bottle high up in left field. I posed by Jack's giant glove and listened to a little live organ music. I also noticed that AT&T park is the first stadium I have seen that separates their trash for compost, recycling and landfills. Being “Green” is very important to San Franciscans and they have proved it by winning six consecutive Green Glove Awards for having the highest recycling rate of all the parks.
It was now time for some good old fashioned day baseball. On the mound for the home team was Mr. Perfect himself, Matt Cain. For the visiting Mets a young kid named Zach Wheeler whom the Giants had traded away for Carlos Beltran in 2011. Beltran is now playing for the Cardinals and Wheeler is off to a hot start in the big leagues. Suffice it to say, the Giants got the raw end of that deal. Unfortunately for Los Gigantes their string of bad luck continued as Matt Cain could not get out of the first inning which marked the shortest outing of his career. To make matters worse, Wheeler showed the team who drafted him what they missed out on by allowing just three hits and one earned run over seven innings. Giants Manager Bruce Bochy pulled Cain after giving up three runs in the first inning. I normally agree with just about everything Bochy does, but even the locals were a bit perturbed with the skipper for having such a short leash on their should-be Ace pitcher.
It was not a good day on the field for the home team, but I was having a blast in the stands. This is a stadium that I have always enjoyed watching on television. I spent more time out of my seat here than any other park. I walked to the top of the stadium to catch the view of the bay in the background and then hustled over to McCovey Cove to check out the kayakers waiting for a home run ball. As this was a day game I did not have to worry too much about the brisk air coming off the water, but it still got a little chilly the higher in the stadium I went.
Before heading back to my seat I quickly grabbed a bite to eat at Crazy Crab'z. Much like everything in San Francisco it was a bit pricey. I did not mention it earlier, but the only parking I could find before the game was $35 dollars. I have been spending anywhere from $10-15 in most cities so this was quite a shock to my system. Getting back to my stadium meal, I spent $15 on a crab sandwich on sourdough bread. To be fair they really loaded the crab meat on the sandwich so I was not entirely cheated out of my money. Also, the sandwich was delicious. I got my ice cream helmet and got back to my seat just in time to celebrate Adela's birthday with some celebratory cupcakes that Barbara had brought. As you can see from the photo below the cupcakes did not survive the heat.
The rest of the game was a bit of a downer from the home team's perspective, but I have very little sympathy for a club that owns two of the past three World Series Trophies. So you are having a down year? Don't worry, I am sure you will win the 2014 World Series Giants fans. After the game Barbara, Adela, Rindler and I went to the Public House outside of the stadium to drown our sorrows over a Giants loss. There are times when I am prone to hyperbole, but I assure you, the following is a belief that I stand behind completely. I recorded an interview with Barbara and Adela while we ate some nachos and corn dogs and it is my favorite interview I have ever done. If you only listen to one episode of my podcast make sure that it is the AT&T Park show. We talked about saving baseball for San Francisco in the early 90s, the Giants improbable run to the World Series in 2012, how to get more women involved in the game and much more. Subscribe to the podcast and when the episode is released it will be waiting for you in your iTunes folder.
Sadly, my day with these two incredible women had to come to an end. Adela had the rest of her birthday to celebrate and I had to go get a massage. AT&T Park lived up to my expectations and more. Aside from the losing effort that the Giants themselves put forth, their home ballpark is magnificent. I can not speak to how it feels to watch a game here at night (I imagine a little chilly), but for a day game with the sun out, this is a pretty perfect place to enjoy some baseball. Thanks again to the Giants organization for treating me so well. I guess I forgive you for ruining my 2012.
Next up: O.co Coliseum
Game Time Temp: 61
First Pitch Time: 12:45 PM
Seventh Inning Stretch: Don't Stop Believin'
Total Pitches Thrown: 302
Total Hits: 14
Total Singles: 9
Total Doubles: 3
Total Triples: 1
Total Home Runs: 1
Total Walks: 9
Total Strike Outs: 16
Total Errors: 2
Game Time: 2:55
Attendance: 41,679 (99.4% full)
Home Plate Umpire: Todd Tichenor
Miles Traveled: 80 miles
Time in Car: 2 hours
Sleep Time: 5 hours 45 minutes
Bottles of Water: 3
Food Eaten: Chicken kabob, corn dog from Public House
Ballpark Food: Crab Sandwich, Ice Cream helmet,
Money spent on parking: $35
Money spent on ticket: $58.00
Cost of Program: $5
Money spent on food: $24.75
Total money spent on Merchandise: $31.25
Total Money spent at stadium: $149
Total Money spent today $162