THE COLDEST SUMMER I EVER SPENT. [7-17-10]

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It was Tim Lincecum Bobblehead Day. There is some kind of San Francisco bobblehead mania this year, which meant that we turned up at AT&T Park around 2pm to find the lines already extending far off into the distance. Even if we didn’t want a bobblehead (fat chance), we had to wait on line so we could get in the park early, so we could see the actual park. It was hot. It was sunny. We couldn’t open our water because then we couldn’t bring it in. Luckily, the Giants sent vendors out to work the lines. You could buy water, ice cream, commemorative Jon Miller Hall of Fame programs, and fuzzy panda hats. People tried to jump the line. People showed up and then had 8 friends arrive 90 minutes later. For the most part, folks were in good spirits, and were polite and pleasant. We were even a little bit disappointed we didn’t get any good-natured heckling.

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Finally, at 4:05 pm, the gates opened and the crowd surged forward. Bobbleheads in hand, we sprinted up the stairs and towards the first base dugout to try to watch BP. Except there was no BP, because the Giants were having Family Softball Day. We chatted with Pedro Feliciano while watching Guillermo Mota and his adorable daughter run the bases. We thought bad thoughts about Mota, and asked Pedro if he’d smile for the camera.

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We headed off to circle the ballpark, visit the giant baseball glove, and find a Cha-Cha bowl and some garlic fries. A proper review will follow in a few days, but suffice it to say, AT&T lives up to the hype, especially on a beautiful July weekend. TBF paid far too much money for an Anchor Stream. We found our seats – field level along the first base line – and settled in, happy and optimistic.

You can probably guess how long that lasted.

I was thrilled to see Beltran back, but I couldn’t even get to enjoy the moment because I was too busy shaking my head and covering my eyes with my hands. To say this was not one of Takahashi’s better outings would be the understatement of the century. We were sitting right in front of the visitor’s bullpen so we knew there was nobody even thinking about getting up, much less actually getting up. The agony was long, and prolonged.

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In the meantime, Lou Seal made the rounds, and we sprinted over for some photos.

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He isn’t the Crazy Crab, but he is certainly personable.

These guys sat about 10 rows in front of us. It took a few minutes for us to figure out who they were there to support. At first we thought it was Matt Cain, since there were four of them; it wasn’t just general support for the team, because that would require six shirtless guys and not just four. Eventually it dawned on everyone (and that included Giants fans) that they had to be supporting Aubrey Huff, since they stood up whenever he was at bat. I want to stress how cold it was today. This was not a lovely 80 degree July day. It was in the 70s and the wind was blowing in from McCovey Cove.

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The row in front of us was occupied by a family of perfectly friendly Giants fans from Vancouver, WA; behind us, however, we had a gentleman who was a cross between Jerry Garcia and Cheech Marin. He arrived in his seat and greeted us enthusiastically, noted his admiration for the fact that we were wearing our colors. “I met a Cardinals fan once who was hiding his shirt under a black thing, I was all, ‘Dude, it’s not like you’re a DODGERS fan or something, it’s cool.'” He was borderline annoying, except for the fact that he actually knew something about baseball. He corrected his associates when someone tried to give us a hard time for the fact that the Mets logos were orange and blue, that we had ‘stolen’ that from the Giants. He also admonished his brethren as they streamed out of the ballpark later in the game, informing everyone that there were 9 innings. Hell, even we weren’t that optimistic.

During one point in the debacle that was this game, there was an ad on the ribbon board for Bank of America.
“‘El banco oficial de Los Gigantes de San Francisco,'” I read, carefully, pretending I was actually something resembling fluent in Spanish.
“What are you reading?” TBF asked.
I pointed at the board.
“El sucko oficial Los Mets de Nueva York,” TBF replied, before going back to his scorecard.
At least he has the scorecard to hide behind. You can’t really hide behind a camera if your team isn’t doing anything worth photographing, and there are only so many picturesque vistas of the ballpark environs I can pretend to shoot.

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We were sitting not far from the Mets bullpen, so when Randy Niemann walked out with Francisco Rodriguez, TBF took it upon himself to voice his opinion regarding this decision, standing up and yelling loudly.
“YAY! HE’S GOING TO BLOW THE GAME,” taunted a child wearing a panda hat.
“Dude, you do know that you’re already up by 6 runs, right?”
“Well, they could get 10 more!!!” he responded.
“Not likely,” TBF said.
Of course, in my brain I’m thinking, “I’m not entirely sure about that.”

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It wasn’t all bad – there was Ike Davis hitting one out into McCovey Cove earlier, which was temporary balm to our bleeding heart wounds, but it was so goddamn freezing I cannot believe anyone was still out there. We spent the last two days roasting in Southern California, only to get off the plane at SFO and see people getting on BART wearing down jackets. TBF had to go purchase some more long sleeve shirts this morning because he didn’t have enough. It was April cold. It was so cold than when I saw the vendor walking up and down the rows serving Ghirardelli hot chocolate, I did not even hesitate for half a second.

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Ghirardelli hot chocolate. At the ballpark

So in case you were wondering why Kevin Burkhardt was walking around wearing a jacket, this is why.

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In the 9th inning, we were packing up, getting ready to go – and then Ike Davis hit a home run AGAIN, doing his best Angel Pagan at Nationals Park imitation. Ruben Tejada got hit by a pitch, and we could see Brian Wilson warming up in the distance.
“Might as well put it down on your card,” said a grizzly old dude wearing a plaid Yankees hat backwards. “He’s coming in.”
Chris Carter singled, and then there was a coaching visit to the mound, and then, there he was. Brian Wilson, who came out to “Jump Around”. There’s nothing like using House of Pain to announce to the world that you are a pretentious dbag, but then again, this was Brian Wilson. I didn’t even have to make any of my Beach Boys jokes, nor did I have the constitution to muster any of them at this particular moment anyway.

It was funny to listen to the Giants fans’ reactions to Brian Wilson. They talked about him and his drama in the same way we talk about Frankie and his drama. It was absolutely fascinating. Teeth clenching, pulling hats down over eyes, it was almost comforting in a way. The Giants are not that far from the Mets, which is why the endless hassle other Mets fan friends were reporting over the course of the series seems surprising.

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Of course, less fascinating was Angel Pagan striking out swinging to end the game, and the thought of “Well, at least we didn’t get shut out for the third night in a row” was not exactly the type of thought that you float out of the ballpark on.
“We’ll get them tomorrow,” TBF said, as we walked back to the hotel.
“Yes, of course, tomorrow. Johan Santana and his phenomenal run support,” I muttered.

Let’s Go Mets.

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