Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

Twins 2, Giants 6

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As a thank you for being the director of the incredibly-awesome-if-I-do-say-so-myself Alice Shrugged 2014 Mystery Hunt, our equally awesome-if-I-do-say-so-myself team of editors and testsolving coordinators* bought me a pair of tickets to tonight’s Twins-Giants game at AT&T Park, sitting in the third row right behind first base, which allowed me to stare at Joe Mauer and Buster Posey all night.  I took my Fraggle Rocks** teammate, Jen Perez, who was even willing to wear my spare Twins jersey, despite being a Padres fan from San Diego.

The game started off well for the Twins.  Brian Dozier doubled down the left field line on the first pitch of the game.  But then it went south fast.  Dozier got picked off trying to steal third very quickly and in the bottom of the first, Angel Pagan did not immediately squander his lead off double and the Giants wound up scoring three on a Pablo Sandoval homerun to right.  (There was a challenge early in the inning which resulted in Hunter Pence being safe at first instead of out as the umpire’s originally ruled it.  Yes, it was the right call, but man, oh man, do I hate this new challenge system.)

In the top of the third, it looked like the Twins were going to make a ballgame out of it when Brian Dozier led off with a single and Joe Mauer followed with a deep shot to Triples Alley, which sure enough, wound up being an RBI triple.  Parmelee hit a ground ball to second, which allowed Mauer to score and suddenly the Twins were within one.  Unfortunately, they never scored again, which was not true for the Giants, who piled on an additional three runs throughout the game, including one on a Hicks homerun and later a Hicks sacrifice fly.

Which Hicks, you ask?  This is a fair question as both the Giants and the Twins had a guy named Hicks batting 8th.  And for a brief period, they both were batting .194.  But then Brandon Hicks of the Giants hit his homerun and his average went up to .200, whereas Aaron Hicks of the Twins, well, he’s now batting .192.  In other similarities between the two teams, both feature a first baseman who is a former MVP catcher with at least one batting title and a wife who had twins: Joe Mauer and Buster Posey.

Finally, I’m sure Jen would be disappointed if I left out one of the major sources of entertainment for the evening: the guys behind and to the right of us who, from about the 5th inning through the 8th inning, relentlessly hassled the Twins bullpen catcher to “give the kid a ball.”  Which kid?  Well, I’m not sure they knew or cared, initially, but eventually they picked a pet kid sitting in our section with a Giants hat on.  It seemed pretty clear to me that they were pissing off the bullpen catcher, but eventually — eventually — he gave the kid a ball.  Actually, it was a different kid wearing a Twins jersey, but it did seem to satisfy the guys to the point that they stopped chanting.  That and the usher came over and threatened to kick them out if they didn’t stop now that a kid had a ball.

All in all, a great night… and I’ll be back on Sunday, sitting much farther away from the field, hoping for a different outcome in the score!

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* I believe this includes Jason Juang (who actually purchased the tickets and delivered them to me), Aaron Bader, Brandy Buckingham, Robbie Buckingham, Jamie Clark, Harvey Jones, Dan Katz, Roger Morash, Chieu Nguyen, and David Wilson.  If a non-editor/non-testsolving coordinator also went in on the tickets, someone should tell me.

** Is that not the best name for a curling team you’ve ever heard?

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Giants 5, Diamondbacks 6 (10 innings)

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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.

Oakland Athletics 4, San Francisco Giants 0

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Ah, baseball, you’re back and I’ve missed you.

The annual Bay Bridge pre-season series is happening now and last night, after getting some cheap tickets on StubHub and “stealing” a friend from one of my curling buddies, I went down the street to AT&T Park to catch my first baseball game of the year.  Now that interleague is an everyday occurrence, the Bay Bridge series lacks some of its original novelty, as these teams will face each other again in the regular season.  But it’s still fun to hear the bleachers break out into competing chants of “Let’s Go Giants!” and “Let’s Go Oakland!”

One tradition with these games, at least the ones in San Francisco, is the free grab bag giveaway.  They take all the giveaways that they have leftover from previous seasons and you get one random thing.  It could be a Barry Bonds commemorative pin, a Brian Wilson gnome, or a Giants sombrero.  This year I got a Jeffrey Leonard bobblehead doll.  Only, I’ve never heard of Jeffrey Leonard.  It turns out, he was the MVP of the 1987 NLCS, despite the fact that the Giants lost that series to the Cardinals (which I obviously knew because the Cardinals went on to lose the World Series to the Twins that year).  He’s the last guy to win a post-season MVP award, despite being on the losing team.  So at least I’ve learned a fun bit of trivia.

During the game, we sat in the arcade section, which was a first for me.  Those are the handful of rows high above right field, just in front of the drop off into McCovey Cove.  It’s prime homerun ball territory, and Josh Reddick got us close.  In the sixth inning, he launched a shot that seemed all but destined to splash down behind us, but instead, it hit a flag pole and bounced back towards us, making a resounding thunk on the tin roof just in front of us before bouncing back onto the field.  That put the A’s up 4-0 and they never looked back.

In about the 8th inning, the seagulls, also aware that baseball is back with it’s post-game fine dining options for our avian friends, started hovering and swarming the field.  The game ended, and as if they had been counting the outs, they took over the stadium and we went home.

All the games I went to and didn’t blog

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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.

World Series Game 1: Giants 8, Tigers 3

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World Series Game 1: Giants 8, Tigers 3

The World Series started yesterday down the street from me and my favorite pitcher (Justin Verlander) was pitching.  I knew tickets were going for insane prices, but I also knew that there was a dip in prices shortly before the game started.  And so, I bought a ticket for a 5:07 pmstart at 4:35 pm, printed out the ticket and ran to the stadium — literally.  Actually, I didn’t run straight there.  I stopped off at home and grabbed my camera first… and then continued running, Forrest Gump style.  I made it into the stadium just as the Star Spangled Banner was being played and made it to my (upper upper deck) seat just in time for the first pitch.

Now, I primarily decided to go to this game to see Verlander.  I even had my Tigers shirt on.  Unfortunately, dominant JV did not show up.  He gave up a solo homerun to the third batter, Pablo Sandoval… which would be the first of three homeruns for the Kung Fu Panda, putting him in a class with Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols.  Verlander settled down after that initial run and it looked like he might be his usual self, but then Angel Pagan’s double in the third with two outs happened and everything unraveled for the Tigers.

Now, to call Pagan’s hit a double was generous.  It looked initially like a routine grounder to third that might go foul.  But Miguel Cabrera was playing deep and just before it looked like he was going to field the ball, the ball bounced of the base, took a crazy hop, and wound up past Cabrera in left field.  By the time Delmon Young recovered it, Pagan was on second.  Marco Scutaro followed with a single that scored Angel and then the Tigers pitching coach went out for the most ineffective mound meeting ever.  The next batter? Pablo Sandoval, who hit his second homerun of the game.  It was really hard to keep rooting for the Tigers at this point, because the Giants fans were so excited.  (But I should note that at no point were the San Francisco fans even remotely as excited as the Oakland fans in the ALDS a few weeks ago.)

Once Verlander was pulled after the 4th, I zipped up my jacket and covered up my Detroit allegiances.  When the Panda hit his third homerun of the game, I was cheering right alongside the rest of the Giants fans.  After all, I was seeing history.

Game 2 is happening right now.  I thought briefly (not really) about going again, but StubHub tickets were more than double what they were yesterday, with no pre-game dip.  And so, I’m listening to Game 2 on the radio in the office instead of being at the stadium.  But I was there last night, so I can check “Attend World Series game” off the bucket list.

Pictures after the jump…

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Dodgers 4, Giants 0 (July 29)

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Oops… went to a game that I forgot to blog.  I barely remember the game itself at this point, except that the Giants got beat by their division rival and were never really in it.  What I do remember (and what prompted me to write this), were our seats.  Back in May I won a pair of Giants tickets at a curling bonspiel to sit in the Virgin America Club Level.  (This is more or less equivalent to the Legends Club at Target Field… and because the two stadiums were designed by the same architect, when I say more or less equivalent, I mean they pretty much felt like the same place.)

Having never been to the club level before, this was the first time I was able to walk around and see all the Giants memorabilia they have up there.  There’s the standard stuff: signed baseballs and bats, the World Series trophy, newspaper articles, game worn jerseys, homages to perfect games, and so on.  But I also noticed that the Giants seem to have a Peanuts fetish — not the legume, the comic strip.  First of all, there were large statues of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and Lucy Van Pelt.  But also, hidden in the collection of game used bats is a bat “used” by Joe Shlabotnik.  Who is Joe Shlabotnik, you ask?  Why, none other than Charlie Brown’s favorite (fictional) player!

Growing up, I always assumed that the Peanuts characters were Twins fans, since Charles Schulz is from Minnesota and the strip is sort of autobiographical.  Then again, there were no Twins when Schulz was growing up, and he eventually moved to the Bay Area (Santa Rosa), so the Giants thing makes a lot more sense.  Also, Harvey sent me some proof:

Below the jump are my pictures from the club level…

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Battle of the Bay: Giants 9, Athletics 8 (Saturday); Athletics 4, Giants 2 (Sunday)

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This weekend I discovered the time and place for interleague — when two teams actually have a rivalry built up based on both geography and a previous grudge (in this case, the 1989 World Series).  I went to two of the Oakland-San Francisco games held this weekend in Oakland at the O.co Coliseum.  The stadium was split pretty evenly with people sporting green and gold and people sporting orange.  No matter what happened, somebody cheered and somebody groaned.  Unlike the Red Sox-Yankees glory days, while still a serious rivalry, the Bay Bridge allegiances cross friendships.  Thus, the atmosphere was closer to that of a friendly family feud than a blood sport — not unlike when my grandmother’s house gets split for Vikings-Packers games and then we all eat turkey together afterwards.  (I’ve been told that the Giants-Dodgers game happening down the street from me tonight is what the Giants fans save their true hatred for.  The A’s fans don’t seem to really hate anyone, except for Red Sox and Yankee fans who takeover their stadium.)

Saturday it appeared that the Giants were going to massacre their hosts, up 9-4 going into the bottom of the 9th.  Most of the A’s fans left early and the Coliseum became AT&T Park East.  But the A’s battled back and brought it within a run.  With two outs, they loaded the bases… and Jemile Weeks popped out to shallow right in what turned out to be the longest nine inning game in Oakland history (4 hours, 15 minutes).  The multitude of Giants fans around me actually hugged the one A’s fan left in the bleachers and told him “Better luck next time!”

On Sunday I went with a bunch of curlers and we tailgated in the parking lot before the game.  It reminded me of our family roadtrips to County Stadium in Milwaukee, except that this time I drank a beer with my freshly grilled bratwurst.  Inside the stadium, the game was much tighter than the previous day’s game — and I sat next to quite possibly the world’s biggest A’s fan.  (Jeff Francoeur bought her pizza earlier this year.)  Thus, I decided that unlike my neutral cheering on Saturday, I’d be an A’s fan this time.

Once again, the game came down to the bottom of the 9th.  The A’s were down 2-1.  Cespedes and Inge singled their way on base, but Seth Smith and Brandon Moss struck out.  This left it up to Derek “not the son of Chuck despite similar heroics” Norris, who at this point had all of one major league hit — a single in Saturday’s game.

His second hit was much more memorable: a no-doubter three run homer to left field to give the A’s their first win of the weekend.  It was a good day to be wearing my A’s jersey.

(And then, because we are curlers, we all went to the bar and resumed the tailgate, including grilling some steaks in the outdoor patio at the bar.  It’s nice to know people who are in with the bartenders.)