But this isn’t intended to be an ode to baseball in general, but rather my experience at a game in particular. Last night I had the pleasure of attending the San Francisco Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals with Ping, Kludge, and The Storekeeper aka Future Expositor. Ping procured the tickets from a coworker who had relative that worked in the Cardinal organization. Not only did he provide the tickets, but also Ping was kind enough to give the other three of us $20 each for food. So, about enough for a soda and a napkin in the ballpark economy. We were hoping Barry Bonds would hit career home run 715, pushing him past Babe Ruth for second all time.
A few words on Bonds. As I’ve stated before on this very blog, I’ve read Game of Shadows and am thoroughly convinced that Bonds did in fact use performance-enhancing drugs. I would not have been disappointed if he had not been able to return to action after his knee injury last season. I think it’s a shame that someone seemingly obviously guilty of egregious cheating should hold a mark so hallowed. But the fact remains that Bonds is going to pass the Great Bambino, and if I’m going to be there when he does it, no complaints. For better or worse, it’s still history, and as you should all know, I’m a bit of what is called a history buff. Even for things in history considered tragic or bad, it’s still something to be able to say you were there when it happened. And it would have made for some great home video. But alas, it was not to be. Bonds went 1-3, his only fly ball not deep enough to even get the crowd too worked up. Despite my feelings toward Bonds as a cheating player and human being, I was surprised at how excited I got when he came up to bat. With everyone on their feet and flashbulbs popping on each pitch, it was hard to not be. I’ve never attended a game that carried any real special significance, so this was something new and different, and pretty cool.
The game itself was great. The score was 3-1 Giants going into the bottom of the eighth, then the Giants exploded for six runs, including a barely missed Grand Slam by Mark Sweeney and a two-run homer from Omar Vizquel. In that same inning there was almost as much action in our section of the stands as there was on the field. A courageous (foolish?) Cardinals fan who looked a bit like exonerated Atlanta Olympics bomber suspect Richard Jewel and was at least partially inebriated, began a campaign of good-natured smack talk to the home town fans, despite his team being down by three runs. Of course things began to escalate as the effects of the $7 beers emboldened him and the targets of his taunts, eventually bringing security to escort him out for his own safety. On his way out, he endured some jeers, mostly in fun, until one overly intoxicated Giants fan knocked his newish looking Cardinals hat off his head. The Cardinals fan picked it up calmly, and went to give the guy a “high ten” as a peace offering, but the Giants fan kept taunting by doing a shirt tug right in his face. Finally, Mr. Cardinal had had enough and grabbed said Giants fan by his jacket lapels and gave him a pretty good shake and knocked his hat off. Finally, the ushers intervened and broke things up. All this while the Giants rack up six more runs. But the best part is, I’ve got the whole affair on tape. Once I get it all cleaned up, I’ll post it for you all to enjoy.
All in all, a very entertaining evening. And I haven’t even mentioned the food. Sheboygan bratwurst, garlic fries, churro. Enough said.