Well, that was a fun ride! Three World Series victories in five years. As Giants fans, we have to savor it because we never know if and when it will happen again in our lifetimes. Years from now, I have a feeling we as fans of San Francisco sports teams will look back to the Giants in the 2010s like we now do the Niners in the 1980s. That it was a special time and that we were fortunate.
I attended five playoff games this year — two NLDS games, including the clincher; two NLCS games, including the clincher; and Game 3 of the World Series, where I sat in the bleachers for the first time. I watched the rest on TV, living and dying with every pitch.
It was fun. Yet stressful. Nerve-wracking. But in the end, it was pure joy.
Now, I have five orange rally towels. Each time I’ve come home from a game, I’ve just flung them on top of the bedroom dresser. What am I going to do with them?
Maybe use them to wash the car.
Summer means a lot of concerts and baseball.
The Mountain Winery in Saratoga is one of my favorite music venues — picturesque, low key and close to home. It makes it easy to attend concerts on a weekday night. We don’t have to rush out the door and drive 45 minutes to an hour up to San Francisco, Oakland or Berkeley, which is a long, miserable schlep after a work day. But with the Mountain Winery, it’s just a quick eight-mile drive on city streets.
I do have one small nitpick with the venue. I’ve gone to two concerts there so far, and both times, they didn’t take our tickets. We just strolled on through. It’s like you walk in a little late and the ticket takers are already gone. The first time, the main act had already begun. The second time, last week, the opening act was midway through the set. At least this time, some guy 10 feet away from us on the main path said, “Hello, good evening.” I waved my folded-up, printed-out tickets, which could have been blank pieces of paper for all he knew, and he just waved us on.
If I’m going to spend money on tickets, at least take my tickets, so I don’t feel like I could have seen the concert for free!
This season, my brother and sister-in-law upgraded their Giants’ season tickets. And this is the awesome new view.
It’s a huge improvement. Here are the before and after shots, taken in February when we took a field trip to AT&T Park to check out the new seats.
My brother, uncle and I bought the rights to the original seats before the ballpark opened in 2000. When I moved to Arizona for ten years, my brother and sis-in-law kept the seats, and I’d attend a few games a year during my visits home.
We had some good times in the old seats — the 2002 playoff run, the Barry Bonds’ moon shots over the right field wall, and the 2010 and 2012 World Series championships. We miss some of the people in our old section, for sure. Some of them became like family. The next time I attend a game, I’ll have to go to the old section and say hi.
My co-author Matt Johanson and I were on Marty Lurie’s Giants pre-game show on KNBR 680 on Saturday to discuss the newly updated edition of our book, “Giants: Where Have You Gone?”
It was a fun day at the ballpark. Marty’s had us on his show in the past, so it was great to be invited back.
Here’s the audio of our interview:
And here’s a few photos from the day:
Don’t we look pretty calm, considering we’re about to go on air?
After the interview, it was still about two hours before game time, so we hung out and watched the Giants play whiffle ball with their children. Here, Giants closer Sergio Romo pitches to his son.
The view from the press box. The Giants beat the Dodgers, so it was a good day.
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.
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.
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.