September 27th, 2007

Giants Fanatic

End of an Era

Tonight was Barry Bonds' last game as a Giant, and I was there, in nosebleed seats, but in a good location looking down on the field from above home plate.

Bonds has been injured for several days, and probably shouldn't have played tonight, and they say he won't play the final three games, which are on the road in LA. But, injured or no, he had just barely enough medical okay to play tonight, the final home game of the Giants' season. Some folks expected him to play one inning, take one at-bat, and then leave. But he stuck it out for three at-bats and stayed in the field for six innings -- committing a fielding error, limping around, and obviously playing through pain -- before finally hanging it up. And he tried to give us the storybook ending to his Giants career by smashing a ball to deep center field that would have been a home run in nearly any baseball park except AT&T Park Emperor Norton Field, whose center field is where home runs go to die.

It was an anticlimactic end for Bonds' night, and unfortunately, the game itself was highly forgettable as well, as the San Diego Padres destroyed the Giants 11-3. Probably the only thing keeping a lot of fans in the park after the sixth inning were promises of a video tribute after the game, and an expectation that Bonds would come out and speak after the game. We got the video tribute -- a nice montage of Barry's greatest hits with Frank Sinatra singing "My Way" as the accompaniment -- and we got the Giants going back out onto the field to throw baseballs into the stands as a thank-you gift to the fans who stayed to the Bitter End -- but we did not get Bonds. Barry had taken one final curtain call -- I was part of the final Giants chant of "Barry! Barry! Barry!" after the near-home-run -- and headed for the locker room. I heard some folks after the game saying that Bonds had already left before the game ended, headed for a flight to his home in Southern California, but I don't know if that's true or not.

I'm glad that I worked from home today and took BART to San Francisco rather than taking Caltrain, because it meant I could stay for the post-game tribute and take my time walking out of the park, taking the longest route I could before running into security people who were doing the shoo-em-out patrol. I then walked down the Embarcadero to the BART station and caught a train home to Fremont.

So now the Bonds-Giants era is over, and my team can start concentrating on rebuilding. Maybe we'll have a championship team again in my lifetime. They've won before, they can do it again. Meanwhile, I can start counting the days until pitchers and catchers report next year.