Baseball hasn't forgotten me. I go to a lot of Old-Timers games and I haven't lost a thing. I sit in the bullpen and let people throw things at me. Just like old times.
A Walk in the Woods
TONIGHT on TV
AMERICA'S FAVORITE PASTIME
10 August 2004
I thought it was a rather odd thing to say to a perfect stranger.
The man sitting behind me had chosen that seat to give himself (and me) more room, figuring that if the people with tickets for that seat came along, hed get up and move to his assigned seat, next to me. The people had arrived.
"Just wait till I get my penis out of my lap," he said.
How odd, I thought, as he stepped over into my row and sat down next to me. He arranged his things and then took out a bag of peanuts and continued eating them.
Oh. Peanuts. My mistake.
We were spending another lovely day at SBC (formerly Pac Bell) Park in San Francisco, watching the SF Giants defeat the Chicago Cubs. I was convinced that our luck couldn't last and that we would finally sit in the park and watch a losing game. Fortunately I was wrong.
The drive down had been tedious. More for Walt than for me, since I fell asleep. But it was one of those days when there would be long backups of traffic moving at snails pace which would then, for no apparent reason, suddenly lighten up again. I was reminded of my grandmothers question when I was young. My grandmother, who never learned to drive, would ask my father, when we were stuck in traffic, why "the guy in front didnt go faster."
We parked the car in the Orinda BART lot (happy that when we returned to the lot after the game, the car had not been stolen!). It was warm as we waited for the BART car to arrive, but when it did and we entered the train, it was like walking into a blast furnace. The air conditioning was not working and as we made our way through the various station stops, under San Francisco Bay and to the Embarcadero Station, all of us in the car sweltered in the heat.
We arrived in the park and joined our group in the top rows, this time with a great view not only of the ballpark, but also of the Bay Bridge beyond it.
We also had a great view of the fog as it rolled in over the course of the afternoon.
I remember as a kid how we'd laugh at tourists who come to San Francisco in the summertime with their lightweight clothes because it was, you know, summer. We'd watch them shivering as they stood in lines waiting to board a cable car. Mark Twain has been quoted as saying "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." You can almost predict that on any given day in San Francisco in the summer, before the sun goes down, the fog will come rolling in. Living out here where temps stay in the 90s or higher in the summer, the sight of fog has always been a welcome relief for me.
As the game started, John and Tarja passed out Giants stuff to all of us to wave or shake so we could get into the spirit of things. (They also kept us supplied with peanuts and kettle corn.) Gil took these "whatever they are"s and clapped with them throughout the game.
As for Walt, he was particularly fetching wearing his orange pom pom.
There was a group of Cub fans that sat in front of us and for awhile I thought I would never be able to see home plate, since the guy who appeared to be the leader was always leaning forward in his seat, completely obliterating my view of the batter.
But as it turned out, by mid-way into the first inning, this guy began organizing things for his large group (they took up 3 rows) and spent so much time greeting people, checking off names, selling raffle tickets and then holding the raffle (for t-shirts and caps) right there in the stands that at one point I wondered if he realized that he was even at a ball game.
It was a good game, in that the Giants won, but the outcome of the game was always in question so you were never bored. Kayakers hung out in McCovey Cove, hoping to catch a fly ball.
No balls went sailing out of the park into the bay at this game, but there were some terrific plays (like when centerfielder Dustan Mohr made a spectacular catch while diving to the ground while Barry Bonds leaped over him!)
When it was all over and the Giants had won 6-3, we crammed like sardines back into the Muni car that would take us back to BART so we could get in the car and head home again.
Another lovely day at the old ball game.