A Night at the Ball Game
Saturday, August 04, 2012
This past Wednesday Beth and I went to watch the San Francisco Giants play the New York Mets. As a Dodgers fan, I’m happy to say that the Mets won 2-1. Beth got the tickets for arranging a lunch-‘n-learn at her office. Normally a Dodgers fan would not be going to a Giants game, but what honest baseball fan turns down free tickets?
Thanks to our friends Doug and Sara Chatfield (who are definitely Giants fans) we knew better then to try to park anywhere near the stadium. Instead we took BART in from El Cerrito. It is a mile or so walk from the Embarcadero station to the stadium, but San Francisco is a beautiful city to walk through and we had lots of company, most in orange and black so we knew we were going the right way.
AT&T park is located right next to the bay and, famously, ball hit hard enough to right field will end up in the in the bay. As of this writing there have been 61 “splash hits.” While our seats were on the lower level of left field just beyond the 3rd base bag, we got to the stadium early enough to walk around and look at some of the sights. The view from the right field wall is very nice and I can see why so many people from the city buy standing room only tickets for that area. I however was glad to have a seat, and by the end of the game also glad to be out of the wind. Compared to Dodger Stadium with its open center field and deep seating, the closed in vertical nature of AT&T park feels very close. The stadium at McCovey cove is still one of the newer stadiums in Baseball, but has a lot of the charm of the old downtown stadiums of Baseball’s hey day. In any case, anything is better then the frigid and blustery edifice of Candlestick Park.
Tribute to Jerry Garcia
Just by chance we arrived on Jerry Garcia tribute night. Jerry Garcia was the lead guitar, singer and songwriter for the Grateful Dead. Though he died in 1995, he is still very much beloved by his home town, and his August first birthday is still a cause for celebration among “Deadheads.” The pregame show was done by a Grateful Dead Tribute band, and many of the fans - along with the mascot - were in tie-dyed shirts.
Two of the original band members, Jackie Greene and Bob Weir, were joined by Giants third base coach Tim Flannery in the singing of the national anthem. Given the cast, I must admit that I was concerned about how the anthem would be butchered. I was very pleasantly surprised listen to what I think was one of the best performances of the National Anthem I have heard in any ball park ever. They sang a capella in unison through the first line, then spiting into a superbly done three part harmony. They stuck to the original melody and did not try to overly embellish as so many pop music stars (and those who thing they are) do today. They did not linger on notes, nor did they rush through. It was beautiful, and I wish more performers would follow their lead.
The game itself was a good one, assuming that “good” does not depend on the Giants coming out with a win. Matt Cain who was the starting pitcher for the giants had pitched a perfect game earlier in the year, but looked rather shaky on the night we saw him. The games stared off with a home run by the Mets’ Ruben Tejada. So much for a second perfect game.
There were some great defensive plays, however, including an amazing catch by Gregor Blanco in left center that looks so much more amazing when seen in person. In the 8th inning with the bases loaded a ground ball to the first baseman was thrown home for one out, then back to first for an attempt a the double play, but the ball hit the batter. For a moment it looked like the Mets were finally going to get someone home after having left the bases full twice, but the home plate umpire ruled that the batter had run outside the base path and interfered with the throw. So instead two runs scoring, the Mets found themselves with two outs and only men at first and second. They would end the game with 13 runners stranded. (Full game summary from the Giants web site)
By the seventh inning stretch, the fog had rolled in and in was a chilly 58, but the wind where we were sitting was not too bad and we had brought lots of layers. The game finished about 10:15 and we walked back to a crowded BART Station and road back to El Cerrito. We would have been home late but not too late had it not been for construction on I-80 the blocked traffic for several miles while every one merged from four lanes down to one. We made it home at 1:15 exhausted, but we had fun non the less.