As San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez tossed the teamâ€™s first no-hitter in 34 years, and 30,000 fans at AT&T Park screamed in ecstasy, I sat in a Palo Alto parking lot, listening to history on the car radio with mixed emotions. I was happy, but also distraught. Thatâ€™s because five hours earlier, I had given away my tickets to the game.
That week in July, I had driven 800 miles from Arizona to California. And twice that week, I had already driven the 50 miles from San Jose to San Francisco to catch two games. So when Friday rolled around, after all that previous driving that week, I just couldn’t stomach driving up to the city again for a third game — and to see a guy with a 5.30 ERA to boot.
So my brother found a friend to take the tickets off my hands. And when he did, I actually joked, “What’s Sanchez going to do? Throw a no-hitter?” And then I said: “Watch him give up 4 runs in the first, and I’ll be glad I didn’t make the drive up.”
That evening, I stayed in the San Jose area. My wife dragged me to a tech party, and every half an hour, I “watched” the game with MLB.comâ€™s real-time pitch-by-pitch application on my BlackBerry. When Sanchez tossed three no-hit innings, I texted my brother, half-joking that Sanchez was throwing a no-hitter. Then the 6th inning, seventh inning and eighth inning came, and still no hits. By that time, I had stopped being social at the party, and just stared at my BlackBerry. Thank goodness I had a drink in my hands.
By the 9th inning, I ditched the party and scrambled to the parking lot to hear the rest of the game on our car radio. As Sanchez mowed them down in the 9th, I was ecstatic it was happening, but was also overwhelmed with an intense feeling of remorse because I could have been there.
I have been in the stands for many of the Giantsâ€™ memorable moments at AT&T Park: J.T Snow hitting a pinch-hit three-run homer in the 9th inning to temporarily tie the game during the 2000 playoffs against the Mets, Bondsâ€™ hitting his 500th home run, and the Giants clinching the National League Championship Series against St. Louis in 2002. Itâ€™s a great feeling when youâ€™re screaming at the top of your lungs and high-fiving complete strangers.
I have never seen a no-hitter before.
Later that evening when we got home, I caught the replay of the game on TV, and during the post-game celebration, an excited Giants announcer Duane Kuiper said something like: “You come to the ballpark, you never know what you will see.”
I turned to my wife and said, “You don’t go to the ballpark, and you don’t know what you will miss!”
It will be a while before I give away tickets to a game again.