Yesterday, while unrelatedly driving past AT&T Park, I got a text message from a curling teammate offering me free tickets to the evening’s Giants game, as her company was “bleeding free tickets.” I’m never one to turn down free baseball (and this turned out to be free+ as the tickets came with $12 “SplashTix” credit that I could use to buy food at the park), so I said yes and arranged to meet Paul, another curling buddy, and clot up the bleeding of tickets by two. Paul, a diehard Dodgers fan, hates the Giants, so I had to agree to not cheer for them if we were going to sit together. (At least he had the good sense to wear his Expos hat instead of his Dodgers hat so that we wouldn’t be harassed.)
It turned out to be “Farewell to Candlestick” night. We didn’t make it in time to get the free giveaway — a Croix de Candlestick scarf — and we didn’t even get to our seats until the second inning (had to use those $12 vouchers), but we did get to see the return of the Crazy Crab. I’m not referring to the sandwich they sell out behind centerfield, which is delicious if very pricey, but the anti-mascot the Giants had at Candlestick in 1984. True to his origins, he ran around the field and “annoyed” the bullpen and did his best to get booed. But mostly, the crowd seemed to love him and eat him up — which would still probably be a cheaper meal than the sandwich.
The game itself turned out to be pretty exciting. The Diamondbacks scored two runs in both the second and the third innings and the Giants scored one back in the bottom half of each of those innings. Down two, the Giants continued to chip away at the lead until the fifth when a Michael Morse double, his second of the night, scored Pablo “Panda” Sandoval and Buster Posey to put the Giants ahead 5-4. As the seagulls started to swarm the stadium in the 8th, it looked the Giants were going to walk away with a win, much to Paul’s chagrin, but the Diamondbacks had other plans, tying it up on Sandoval’s throwing error to first which soared over Brandon Belt’s head and sent Gerardo Parra scampering safely home instead of making the third out. The Giants managed to load the bases in the bottom of the inning, with only one out, but a couple of liners and one inning later and the game went into extras. The Diamondbacks wasted no time in the 10th, scoring one thanks to Cliff “Good show” Pennington’s deft steal of second, which wound up being all they needed to go back to Arizona with the win.
I’ve been a terrible blogger. There have been 9 games that I’ve been to since last September that I didn’t blog, not including the two in the last two days, which will get proper blog posts. Luckily, they’re all in the score book, so I’ll just run them down here for my own record keeping, even though I’m sure you don’t care. (“You” being… my dad? People who haven’t migrated from Google Reader yet?) But if you read all the way to the end, you can hear me play clarinet on KQED, in a bonus thing-I-should-have-blogged-but-didn’t.
- September 2, 2012 – Kansas City Royals 5, Cleveland Indians 3 at Kauffman Stadium: I flew in for the weekend to visit Jenn and knock off a stadium before she tentatively left after med school. (Now that it’s the future, it turns out she’s staying in KC for residency, but I didn’t know that then. Regardless, visiting was good.) Kansas City is a great baseball town — I highly recommend the Negro League Museum. Within Kauffman Stadium, there was a nice Royals museum and video that covered the history of baseball in Kansas City from the Monarchs to the Athletics to the current team. They didn’t mention this George Brett story, but that is what the Internet is for (NSFW). It was free blanket night and the blanket is currently living in my closet. Apparently Cord Phelps hit a two run homerun for Cleveland in the 5th to tie the game, but the Royals came back in the bottom of the inning to score three more runs.
- September 18, 2012 – San Francisco Giants 5, Colorado Rockies 3 at AT&T Park: I honestly don’t remember being at this game, but it was a Tuesday night game and Michael Cuddyer was in town, so I probably popped over after work wearing my Cuddyer Twins jersey. Except that Cuddy didn’t get any playing time, it seems. I made a note that Angel Pagan hit his 14th triple of the season in the 8th inning, which set the SF Giants record. George Davis had 27 in 1893 and Willie Mays has the modern day franchise record of 20, but that was all in New York
- September 27, 2012 – San Francisco Giants 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 3 at AT&T Park: I don’t remember going to this game either. The note says it was the last home game of the regular season. It was an afternoon game, so I probably played hooky from work. The Giants had their big inning in the 2nd, scoring 6 runs with homeruns from Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro and an RBI double from Hector Sanchez. Even Barry Zito got in on the act with a single (and pitched 6 innings, giving up 3 earned runs with 3 Ks and 3 walks.) There’s also a note that this is the game where a guy was trying to show off his baseball knowledge to me and tell me what a shame it was that Kirby Puckett wasn’t in the Hall of Fame. When I corrected him on that, he then tried to save face by telling me that it was a posthumous induction. I had to correct him again, pointing out that I was actually at the induction ceremony and I was pretty sure it wasn’t a ghost talking. Yeah, I remember being at this game now — these are not good ways to hit on a Twins fan, gentlemen.
- September 30, 2012 – Oakland Athletics 5, Seattle Mariners 2 at O.co Coliseum: There’s a giant mustard stain on the page for this game. I must have eaten a hot dog. This was in the midst of Oakland’s incredible end of the season run that eventually won them the AL West. The game was tied at two from the 3rd inning until the bottom of the 8th when both Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick went deep for A’s, sandwiched around a Brandon Moss single.
- October 3, 2012 – Oakland Athletics 12, Texas Rangers 5 at O.co Coliseum: I blogged this game and it was awesome.
- October 9, 2012 – Oakland Athletics 2, Detroit Tigers 0 at O.co Coliseum (ALDS Game 3): I blogged this one too.
- October 10, 2012 – A’s 4, Tigers 3 (ALDS Game 4): I can’t believe I didn’t blog this game — it was amazing! (I recall racing to the airport to get to Ben and Caroline’s wedding in Philadelphia after this game.) The A’s went down early, helped by a Prince Fielder homerun. I remember that the energy amongst A’s fans was incredible and we were all sort of resigned that the Tigers were going to win the game (and thus the series) going into the 9th when the A’s were down 3-1. But Oakland 9th inning heroics were the story of last season and this game was no exception. Valverde came in to get the save, but instead started with two consecutive singles to Reddick and Donaldson, followed by a two run Seth Smith double to tie it up. The stadium was electric! Kottaras popped up to third and Pennington struck out and suddenly there were two outs, but it was a tie game with Coco Crisp at the plate. On the very first pitch, he lined a single to center, which scored Smith… and I marked with four exclamation marks in the scorebook!!!! The A’s won!!!! Game 5 (which they would lose to Justin Verlander)!!!!
- October 24, 2012 – San Francisco Giants 8, Detroit Tigers 3 at AT&T Park (World Series Game 1): I blogged this game, which Justin Verlander lost.
- January 18-21, 2013 – The MIT Mystery Hunt: [The complete text of Atlas Shrugged] 1 coin, Other teams 0: This is not a baseball game, but it’s something I usually blog. We actually won the Mystery Hunt this year. It was long, I didn’t get nearly enough sleep, the only baseball puzzle was about the president’s race at the Nationals games, and now I’m in charge of writing next year’s hunt. (Which I’d like to use an excuse for not blogging, but this was obviously an issue well before my free time became nothing but writing and editing puzzles.)
- March 18, 2013 – Dominican Rep. 4, Netherlands 1 at AT&T Park (WBC semi-final): San Francisco hosted the World Baseball Classic this year… and tickets were very easy to come by off of StubHub, so I took in a game with my friend Paul. The stadium was nearly empty and everyone booed whenever Hanley Ramirez (the hated Dodger) came to bat for DR. Paul, a Dodger fan, loved it.
- March 19, 2013 – Dominican Rep. 3, Puerto Rico 0 at AT&T Park (WBC final): I said WBC tickets were cheap and easy to come by? I got this one for free! I volunteered to help with the pre-game ceremony in exchange for a ticket. (I’m the dot on the lower left of the Canadian flag.) I couldn’t actually stay for the whole game, because I had a rehearsal that night,* but the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans were really into the game. “This is the Giants-Dodgers rivalry of the Caribbean,” one Puerto Rican fan told me. Samuel Deduno pitched a stellar game — which seemed great, given that he’s a Twins player. But then he injured himself, so that was less great for Twins fans.
- March 28, 2013 – Oakland Athletics 7, San Francisco Giants 3 at AT&T Park (Exhibition): A pre-season exhibition Bay Bridge series game. The Giants gave away random grab bags of leftover giveaways from last season. (Remember how I stood in line last season to get the Brian Wilson gnome? Now I have two.) It was pre-season, so there were player substitutions left and right and the scorebook is a mess, but the A’s more or less owned the Giants in this game.
- April 12, 2013 – Detroit Tigers 7, Oakland Athletics 3 at O.co Coliseum: It was Justin Verlander day and 2012 Western Division Champion blanket giveaway day. So obviously I went. JV wasn’t as dominant as I’ve come to expect, but 6 innings, 1 ER, 3 hits, 3 walks, and 6 Ks is nothing to sneeze at. Also, Prince Fielder is a monster — he hit a bomb to deep center field in the 4th that must have been long because I drew it going outside the box for his at bat. The other half of the Tigers offensive double threat, Miguel Cabrera, went hitless on the day. Also, it’s incredibly weird to see Torii Hunter in a Tigers uniform, but I stood up and cheered for him when he hit a solo homerun to left in the 2nd inning.
- May 21 and 22, 2013 – Minnesota at Atlanta: I’m not horribly delinquent on these. They’re getting their own posts (with pictures!) shortly. But I just want to emphasize that I really, truly despise the Tomahawk Chop. There will be more on this.
* Other thing I didn’t blog: I was in a workshop band performing selections from Beck’s Song Reader. We were featured on KQED. That is my clarinet solo you hear. I’ve been asked to make an official studio recording in July. Baseball related thing: You can hear Amal yell “Kirby Puckett!” at the beginning of Old Shanghai, letting me know that he made it to the gig just in time.