It's been a very long, stressful, intense week at work, so I was delighted to be able to get away at 3:45 on Friday afternoon to walk over to the light rail station and head to downtown San Jose and on to the Caltrain station (after a brief banking errand downtown) to catch the 4:45 "baby bullet" express to San Francisco. After a nice smooth trip of less than an hour, I was at 4th & King Streets heading to AT&T Park to join my fellow BASFA members in our outing to see the San Francisco Giants play the Milwaukee Brewers.
It's been too long since I'd been to a ball game, and it was a lovely clear late afternoon as I approached Willie Mays Plaza and the entrance to AT&T Park. Supercuts was offering free haircuts — if you were willing to get your hair dyed orange. I'll wear the orange fright wig from time to time (I'd left it behind this evening), but the hair-dye thing didn't attract me.
I was early enough to get the "Giants texting gloves" (orange fingerless gloves) that were tonight's premium, and to take my time deciding what to get for dinner. I settled on the large polish sausage and a plate of garlic fries. The full helping of fries is really too much for me, and I wish they had a half-serving size available.
I headed up to my seat in Section 323, where there was a good view of the Brewers taking pre-game batting practice. I've yet to find a really bad seat in the park, although the seats on the Arcade (the wall above the "Levi's Landing" sign in this picture) do suffer from a limited view of plays at the wall in right field.
The pre-game festivities for tonight's "Japanese-American Heritage Night" included this group performing traditional Japanese dance, joined by the Giants' mascot, Lou Seal, who was dressed in Sumo garb for the occasion.
In due time the rest of the BASFAs filled in our rows and the game got under way. This picture is of the Giants taking the field at the start of the first inning, wearing their "Orange Friday" uniforms. Giants pitcher Tim Lincescum got off to a slow start, giving up runs to the Brewers right away. The Giants basically were playing from behind for the whole game.
In the middle of the 3rd inning, there was a slide on the Big Screen listing group welcomes, and BASFA was on it, but the slide was up for only a few seconds, so there wasn't time to get my camera out and take a picture. Also, a previous experiment showed that my camera-phone and the big screen don't get along with each other, scan-rate-wise.
In the 4th inning, I took a break and headed down to the concourse to buy a coffee to try and warm my exposed fingertips (despite the gloves covering the rest of my hands, the cold was starting to bite). I walked around to the left field end that overlooks the bleachers.
There's a good view here of the Giants Fan Lot and the mini-field for the kids.
This blurry photo doesn't do justice to the view down the left field foul pole. This park is a wonderful place, even when the Giants are losing. When they start scoring, the place starts rocking, and when the Giants came back to score three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game, we apparently made enough noise to wake up Cheryl Morgan back in the UK, as she Tweeted that she'd woken up checked the score, and got her MLB.com subscription fired up to listen to the game.
I reported to the assembled BASFAns that Cheryl was with us in spirit, and during the seventh inning stretch, they all waved and yelled, "Hi, Cheryl" at the camera. If I'd really been thinking, I would have turned on the video on the camera phone.
If there had been any place I could have stood to do so, I would have gotten a shot of the entire BASFA group, but it would have required standing in midair to do it, I think.
Alas, despite the sixth-inning comeback and another attempt later in the game, the Giants fell to the Brewers 6-4.
It took a long time to get out of the park from our upper-deck seats, and by the time we got down to Caltrain, the express (nonstop to San Carlos) was long gone. Indeed, we just barely made the second train because I insisted on walking all the way down to the far end of the train, and the doors were closing as we hopped aboard. OTOH, whereas the near-the-platform-stops end of the train was SRO, there were seats going begging at the other end where we were. The conductor kept making announcements that apparently were intended to try and get people to move down the length of the train, but he was so inarticulate that it was really difficult to make out what he was saying.
On account of the second train makes all stops, and many of those stops are rather long due to the huge crowd aboard, it was looking increasingly like I would miss the last light rail train of the night out of San Jose Diridon station. Fortunately, Adrienne Foster, who had walked to the train with me, had driven to Caltrain, parking at Santa Clara station, and she offered to drive me back home, saving me a taxi ride home from Diridon. Thanks, Adrienne!
Many thanks to Dave Gallaher for arranging this group outing for BASFA. I hope he's able to assemble a similar outing for BASFAs to see the Giants play the Cubs — at Wrigley Field in Chicago on the Friday afternoon of Chicon 7! I'll have to pack my orange gear. Have to see if there will be room for the orange wig.