An updated edition of my book, “Giants: Where Have You Gone,” is available now. It’s a where-are-they-now book of former San Francisco Giants players and managers that my college friend Matt and I originally wrote in 2005.
The newly revised edition includes two new chapters, one on the World Series championships of 2010 and 2012 and the other on All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent and his post-baseball career as a reality TV star on the CBS show, “Survivor.”
It was fun to interview Kent, particularly since I’m a Survivor fan. (Yes, I still watch after all these years). I followed the 2012 fall season intently. As the season progressed, I rooted for him unabashedly, while taking mental notes of his strategic moves and performance on challenges since I knew I wanted to interview him for the book.
Fortunately, he agreed to a phone interview in December, which I’ve turned into a Q&A for the book. Kent admits that he wasn’t known as the most sociable guy in a baseball clubhouse, but he was incredibly social on Survivor. And he was incredibly nice, personable and funny during my 35-minute phone conversation with him.
For example, at the end of the phone call, I told Kent that that my brother purchased an autographed baseball bat of his at a silent auction fundraiser in San Francisco in 2000 or 2001. And that today, my brother keeps it in his living room, and if burglars ever break into this house, he’s going to grab the bat and start whacking at them.
Kent laughed and said, “You tell him to hit them in the sweet spot.”
The updated book is available on Amazon in hardcover, as an e-book, or as an audio book. Here’s the link.Read More
After ten years in Arizona, I’ve moved back to California.
The Grand Canyon State served its purpose. In 2002, after years of working crazy, insane hours during the Internet boom, my wife and I craved a quieter, more peaceful lifestyle, so we moved to the desert.
We loved it.
Then life got too quiet and peaceful. Our batteries were recharged many times over.
So here we are, back home in the Bay Area, spending quality time with family and slowly, but surely reconnecting with old friends – and old landmarks, too.Read More
After the waitress seats us, the professor’s wife leans in and asks if we’ve ever eaten at the restaurant before. When we say no, she squeals, “Oh, you’re going to love it” and recommends a drink on the menu: hot ginger lemon apple cider. You can also add bourbon to it and it’s delicious, she says.
My daughter – Little M – and I hadn’t planned on having dinner with her professor and his wife. But the quaint, tiny neighborhood restaurant near Ocean Beach in San Francisco was packed tonight. We were next in line for a table when the professor, sporting a fedora and full gray beard, and his wife, petite and full of positive energy, walked in through the front door and smacked into a wall of people on the waiting list. So we offered to have them join us for dinner.
I know my daughter was nervous. Our plans for a laid-back dinner suddenly became a high-stress situation, where she felt compelled to impress. I was fine with it. The prof taught Asian American studies, a subject I care about and was well-versed in. Thank goodness, he didn’t teach physics or math.
“I’ll have the hot ginger lemon apple cider,” Little M says. “But no alcohol, please.”
I waited for the others to order.
“I’ll have the same,” the professor says. “But I’m going to have the bourbon because I’m grading papers tonight.”
And without missing a beat, he looks at my daughter, smiles and adds: “Expect your paper back tomorrow.”
It was funny. I laughed out loud. I didn’t look at Little M’s reaction (she was sitting beside me on a bench), but I didn’t have to. I knew she smiled, but inside, she was dying. But for me, the joke eased any tension there was. It was good to know the old prof has a sense of humor. It told me dinner was going to be all right.
And it was. The prof and his wife were delightful, the food was delicious and the conversation was stimulating.
About two hours later, as we parted ways, and Little M and I walked back to our car, I told her I was confident that she did impress. She was on. She did great.Read More
I learned a lesson. Never in the media section of an event blurt out loudly, “I think I am going to get coffee.” Next thing I know people within earshot were spinning around, asking if I was going to Starbucks and could I please get them a tall, non-fat latte and a tall, decaf Americano?
The only cool thing was one of them ended up paying for my coffee since I was gopher boy. Heh.
Here are some photos I took from the World Series parade:
Lou Seal arrives on stage.
Giants radio announcers Jon Miller and Dave Flemming emcee the festivities.
The crowd at Civic Center.
A happy fan who waited hours for the parade to reach the steps of City Hall.
From behind the media tent.
Buster Posey speaks.
The team rallies together one final time.Read More
I reached my gate at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport, minutes before my flight began boarding. It was early Sunday morning. I was pre-coffee but awake, excited for my plans for the day: fly into San Francisco, have lunch and then head to AT&T Park for the first game of the National League Championship Series between my beloved Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.
All the seats at the gate were taken, so I strolled up to the dozens of travelers standing in an open area. I stopped next to a friendly-looking guy wearing a Giants cap.
“Hey, you going to the game?” I asked.
He looked up from his smartphone and said, “Yeah, both games.”
It turns out he had a more ambitious plan than me: Upon landing at 12:35 p.m., his friend would pick him up from SFO and drive him directly to Candlestick Park for the Niners’ game, which starts at 1:25 p.m. Sometime in the second half, he’d leave the football game early and take a taxi to AT&T Park for the Giants game.
I told him that was awesome. We talked some more. It turns out he was a Bay area native, too, now living in Dallas. Phoenix was just a stopover for his Sunday buffet of sports. After reminiscing about the 2010 World Series championship and what it meant to us as lifelong Giants fans, it was time to board. I gave him a head nod – and that was that.
About nine hours later, I was at the upper deck concourse at AT&T Park. It was around the third inning and time for another beverage. While heading back to my seat with drink in hand, I heard a loud, “Hey there!”
I stopped, turned to my left and looked at the guy barking at me. I didn’t recognize him.
“You are here!” he yelled.
It was the guy at the airport. No way!
“Heeyy! You made it to the game!” I said, laughing.
“You did, too,” he said as he raised his beer.
We clinked our plastic cups together in Giants solidarity and went about our merry way. And that was that.
What were the chances of running into each other at a ballpark with 42,000 people? Pretty darn near impossible. But it was a cool moment.