Friday, May 24th
Late to bed last night but up early today anyway. Made a concerted effort to render a decent pot of coffee this morning and may have succeeded. I can’t even tell any more. Right after I poured my first cup, a doe and her two fawn wandered in to our back yard and seemed interested in me through the picture window until I pulled up a chair. I think that move snapped me into focus for them and they promptly skedaddled. Then a nice quiet morning to myself, only slightly pinched by the looming threat that our drill instructors would arrive soon to drag us both to the gym. Some vacation.
Actually working out is really nice sans alcohol poisoning. I puttered around and broke a decent sweat while the kids ran circles around everybody. Then we came back, showered, and packed for our overnight in San Francisco.
We decided to get some baseball tickets for tonight (Giants v. Rockies) and also to stay over in the city so we wouldn’t have to schlep back too late. Also gives us a chance to do some more sightseeing on Saturday. So we packed a gigantic cooler and lots of warm clothes and drove in to San Franciso. We had a somewhat hilarious time finding our hotel but finally got sorted out, checked in to our rooms and then made it to the ballpark a couple of hours before game time. The kids set up a petit tailgate in the parking lot while I wandered off to pick up our pre-ordered tickets and to buy some giants hats. I then joined the kids for a little pre-game before we headed in to the park, about a half hour before the first pitch.
The baseball experience in San Francisco is the exact opposite of Boston or New York. The crowd is polite and friendly, for starters. To the point where when a stranger offered to take our picture with the stadium as backdrop, a whole sidewalk full of people walking into the game – several hundred of them – stopped cold to let him take an unobstructed shot of us. In the Bronx? I don’t think so. In one trip I made to the mens’ room, the entire line made a telepathic group decision to let a father with a little boy cut to the front. No discussion, just instant, nonverbal agreement. And the bathrooms were actually clean.
We got four decent box seats under the deck out toward right field. By the second inning the place had filled to capacity so it was cozy. Each of us made several trips in and out for supplies or to pee which might have been annoying to spectators anywhere else in America. But we ended up bonding with the folks whose toes we kept tromping as we came and went. Things got so friendly that Emma bought a pretzel for one lady who didn’t want to make the snack trip on her own. That does not happen at Fenway, folks. And Nic was recruited to embrace each of our elderly female seat mates during a seventh inning kissing ritual the Giants PR folks have dreamed up. Priceless. He was unflinching in this duty, btw.
Nic also distinguished himself by eating more ballpark food than I have ever seen anyone put away in one sitting, including an improbable finale in which he calmly dispatched an enormous, foot long sausage thingy. Really impressive. And then there were the six very inebriated young men directly in front of us who, with the Giants down five runs in the bottom of the ninth, concluded that a hometown win was still in the cards and kindled a remarkable cheering section rally that actually seemed like it might work for a time. Rally caps and everything. It didn’t, of course, but it was a lot of fun to watch.
So the Giants got blanked five – zip but it was a great night anyway. We got to see Tim Lincecum pitch, which was cool. He gave up four runs in seven innings, struck out eight, walked two and gave up one long home run. He also had a sacrifice bunt. Nice to see the pitchers hit for a change. Miss that in the A.L. The crowd mostly hung in there to the end which you hardly ever see with a score like that. And there were fireworks afterwards. Cool.
Random thoughts for today: The Giant’s stadium, AT&T park, is beautiful. Not a bad seat in the house and a great baseball crowd. The ushers were very diligent about directing traffic and would not allow folks to return to their seats if play was underway. Very civilized. A gospel choir sang the national anthem – not too terribly. And it’s quite cold there – especially after the sun goes down. We were bundled up. Tomorrow, lots to do in the city including a hike across the Golden Gate Bridge and a trip down to the Haight. Lots of walking, I hope. And another beautiful day forecast.