Saturday, May 21, 2011

Whatta Week!

BajaBabe says: "She can't wait to get back to work...and rest up"! I'm beat, BajaBabe's beat, and we have nobody but ourselves to blame...OK, a little blame should be directed at Mother Nature for all the pot-stirring snow!

BajaBabe's brother was in The City for a weekend conference...the Giants were back at AT&T Park to begin inter-league play against the Oakland A's...Babe got the tix and events were set into motion.

The SF Giants were giving away a premium to the first 20,000 fans to enter the park for the 7:15 game...they opened the gates 15 minutes early due to anticipated heavy earlybird demand. Boy howdy, they weren't kidding! Lots of happy fans out for a Friday night game and an Orange Snuggly.

They were lined up for miles at every entrance. I came by BART, the Bay Area's Subway System. Lot's of Giants fan on the train, it's the best way to get to the Bayside park. Once you get into The City, you catch a MUNI Light Rail at the Embarcadero Station and it stops right in front of the big bronze Willy Mays statue at One Willy Mays Plaza...couldn't be any easier.

BajaBabe called as I was walking down 3rd Street towards the park. They were on the left field side in line near the Marina. I was approaching the home base side. I looked at the huge lines and opted to get in the shortest of the right field side lines.

I took over the end of the line from an A's Fan. The line wasn't going to move until was about 4:15. After ten minutes or so, the A's Fan's wife joined us. She was wearing a Giants 2010 World Series Champions t-shirt and matching ballcap. I'd seen several "Mixed Couples" since I boarded the train in the Inland Valley.

Right at five the line started moving. It only took 2-3 minutes and they were scanning the ticket that BajaBabe bought online and printed on the Ancestral Digs' network printer. They handed me the Orange Snuggly and I was in...what a fascinating Modern World we live in...

I met Babe and Bro in our seats, it was two hours 'till the first pitch. We got to watch both teams take batting practice. While the Giants were taking their swings, the loudest cheers were for injured third baseman Pablo Sandoval who was running the bases because he won't be able to hold a bat for another three weeks. Pablo, better known as "The Panda" broke the hamate bone in his hand, had it removed surgically, and though the hamate bone (in the palm of the hand) isn't structural, it is is professional baseball, and the hand takes lots of shocks on both offense and defense. The Panda has been looking downright grumpy in the dugout lately...he was having a career season when he was injured, and was leading the team in all batting stats.

The crowd was anything but grumpy! The Giants entered the game with a half a game lead over Division rivals the Colorado Rockies. Outfitted with their new Snuggly wearable blankets, they were ready to cheer, raise a ruckus...whatever it was going to take to root the Giants to a win.

Batting Practice Voyeurs
Finally it was time for the National Anthem. It was The Blue Man Group to perform it. Of course the didn't sing it, but played the tune on these weird looking, wearable tuned percussion things made of PVC Irrigation piping and these loopy gray hoses looking for all the world like they came from the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" animated movie. They started off oddly, and a little off, but soon found their groove about the time the crowd started singing the Anthem out loud. They ended to thunderous applause and laughter...I loved it! (I hope that NBC showed it on the telecast that my DVR captured for me!)

I'd been looking forward to having a Ball Park Dog, some Garlic Fries (that are the best I've ever had), and a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but the game was too intense to leave my seat!

I knew we were in for a Pitching Duel...both teams have league leading pitching staffs, each featuring a five man rotation that's very strong. The Giants turned a walk, a stolen base compounded by a throwing error and a Freddy Sanchez ground-out to 2nd into the game's first run.

The A's got four hits and tied it up...the crowd was eatin' it up! Hanging on every pitch, they scoffed at the Umpire's calls and were boisterous to a fault. They came to root on the World Champions, and seemingly every pitch was for all the time to trade my seat for a line at the Food Court!

Sold Out...again...
Lots of impassioned fans yelling at the top of their lungs, drama and dashed hopes every inning through the middle innings. It seems like every single fan sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the Seventh Inning Stretch. Our relievers got into and escaped serious damage slipping out of a lead-off walk, a strikeout/stolen base and a passed ball that moved the runner to third, thanks to a highlight reel play by Freddy Sanchez at second base.

The Giants won it in the 10th Inning on a Walk-Off RBI single. It was nearly 10:45 and the 42,224 happy fans poured out of the park and into the night. We hoofed it the six or seven long city blocks back to Market Street and the BART station. The train arrived as we stepped onto the platform and we miraculously found seats. At the next station the crowd from the trolley filled the aisles with hangers-on, and we whisked through the TransBay Tube to Oakland and finally back to the Inland Valley.

This was one long, great day. Saturday we zoom back up the hill so BajaBabe can catch a flight out of Reno.

Formula One from Barcelona and the Finale of the AMGEN are on tap this weekend, then the Ancestral Diggins need my attention.

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