This is a cross-post with Justin's blog, 81 Dates.
Technically, this blog post kicks off Season 6. I hope there are no statisticians or hard-asses out there, because, though we did do a bit of recording up in Club Level at Oracle Park, it will be a minute before we actually kick off our next round of podcasts.
Anyway, S1 guest of our show, Myla Ablog, introduced me to her friend, a dude who "has season tickets in the Arcade section and is known as the Mayor of Section 152." Myla also let me know that Justin, as he's otherwise known, likes to take a different person to every Giants home game, and that he writes about the experience afterward on a blog called "81 Dates." This post is a cross-post with Justin's blog, because we thought it only natural to include it here because it is, technically, part of the Storied: SF experience.
Enjoy, and check out 81 Dates for some highly entertaining writing.
Jeff is the kind of guy who remembers specific at-bats and what they meant to a game or a series or a season; as you may recall, I am the kind of guy who remembers that we probably won some games that year, if I remember what year it was. At one point we get involved in a conversation with a guy in the 415 – he’s a Cubs fan – who talks in very specific detail about some postseason games with Jeff, and my main contribution to the discussion is to have asked where he got that hat (he got it for having tickets in the 415). I can’t say I’m actually insecure about the difference in our knowledge bases, because I can fall back on knowing which two Yankee pitchers traded lives, including wives, children, and dogs in 1973 (Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich), which Jeff probably doesn’t. He is also the kind of guy who has a pregame ritual, which involves going into the Public House to get a beer before the game. I guess mine is trying to be in my seats in time to watch the guy who hoses down the field finish hosing down the field.
Jeff seems to have his ducks in a row, with a wife who sounds like maybe a bigger Giants fan than both of us; he also tells of having been a pretty successful little Leaguer, until he got to the level where pitchers start to acquire real power but haven’t developed much control, which reminds me of my own baseball career and the time I got hit by a pitch, which was probably traveling about twenty miles an hour but was still very traumatic. I’ve been hit by a lot of things since then, but none of them left quite the same impression on my psyche – possibly because about two minutes after I got taken out, I told the coach I felt okay and was ready to go back in and was told that when you come out of a game, you’re out for good, which left me feeling both slightly bruised and kind of dumb. Later in the 415, Jeff declines the opportunity to stand right behind the bullpen catcher and watch the fastballs come in. We both have our emotional scars.
“Good job, kids!”
I am reminded again, as I was when Myla came to a game back in the beginning of May, that my connection to my ancestors is…anemic. It’s Native American Heritage Night at the park, and there’s a troupe of dancers in front of the Public House before the game. I wonder if the ancestors, if they could see what the current generation is doing with the traditional dances, would approve – would they be happy that the kids were carrying their heritage into the future? Or would they snipe about the music these days and about how that one woman is wearing sunglasses and how the littlest kid is all over the place? I wonder about my own ancestors – my poetic Irish ones are probably disappointed with the lack of discipline and sorrow in my writing, and the Danes are most likely glooming around Valhalla bemoaning my drinking habits. I imagine the troupe of dancers is probably getting a lot more love from the hallowed forebears than I am.
Jeff thinks Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame; I don’t, and I get the sense his wife doesn’t either, but I could be wrong. We agree on a lot of other things, though – we are both traditionalists, or at least people who don’t like change. We don’t like the pitch clock, we don’t like the new schedule of interleague play, we’re not happy about the DH in both leagues, and I feel safe in guessing that we have similar feelings about the automatic runner on second base in extra innings. I love bringing new people to the ball park, don’t get me wrong, but it’s nice to talk to someone about how cranky I am without having to explain why. When I admit that a lot of my objections amount to “You kids get off my lawn,” he points out – comfortingly – that there is some validity in wanting the kids off your lawn. I feel seen.
I’ve kind of buried the lede here, but Jeff wants to do some recording, as a prelude to getting the podcast underway. It probably won’t come out till after the season, but we did get a few minutes of conversation at a table in the club level, where Jeff was kind enough to buy me a brisket sandwich. You can read most of what I told him in the first few posts of this blog, but with luck you’ll be able to hear it sometime relatively soon too.
Speaking of documenting things, I forgot to take a picture of two maraschino cherries I saw on the steps on the way up to the club level; I don’t know what I would have said about them if I had, but at least I did remember to take one of the can of beer on the baby-changing table in the men’s room near the Garden. I’m not sure what I have to say about that either, but maybe it kind of speaks for itself (I don’t know what it’s saying either).
One Columba, 364 meters long
Also, even though I didn’t see it while I was in the park, and how in the world did I not, there was a really big boat out in the roads. I honestly think this might be the biggest pink thing I have ever seen.
New feature in the blog: What Did You Think of the Evening (Jeff)?
“Fun baseball talk with someone who clearly shares a love/obsession with the game. It was cold, sure, but not as cold as I expected as recently as 3:30 p.m. today. Left my flannel and Giants beanie cap at home in favor of a 2012 World Series hoodie that did just fine. Cool to circle the ballpark via Club Level, where I opted for food you can get on virtually any level (Tony’s) because I’m a sucker. Best part is shooting the shit with you, your buddy Ken who works for the Giants, and that random Cubs fan who lives here now.“