I reached my gate at Phoenixâ€™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.
â€œHey, you going to the game?â€ I asked.
He looked up from his smartphone and said, â€œYeah, both games.â€
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, heâ€™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 â€“ 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, â€œHey there!â€
I stopped, turned to my left and looked at the guy barking at me. I didnâ€™t recognize him.
â€œYou are here!â€ he yelled.
It was the guy at the airport. No way!
â€œHeeyy! You made it to the game!â€ I said, laughing.
â€œYou did, too,â€ 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.