Friday, July 16, 2010

An Outlander at AT&T Park, San Francisco

After our three games in Denver, we hopped a plane headed west - to San Francisco to see the Red Sox play three games versus the San Francisco Giants. Our flight was delayed getting into SFO due to fog - so we barely had time to drop our bags at our friend Kate's apartment, and head to the Park. The gates were just opening, so we watched batting practice (Ortiz had his son with him, which was adorable). Then we grabbed some dinner at the California Grill - and I got my garlic fries. I swear the aroma of garlic permeates the Park, which isn't a bad thing. I was really impressed with the array of concessions at the Park - standard fare like hot dogs,sure, but also a Chinese food stand, Ghirardelli hot fudge sundaes, a California wine cart, real Irish coffees - there was even a farmer's market on the Club level!

Our seats were in the section right behind the Sox bullpen, which was fun. When someone was warming in the pen, as he tossed, the fans would make this "wooo" sound, on a rising note. Then when the ball was tossed back, the "woo" was on a descending note. As for the game, we lost - and we also lost Pedroia for 4-6 weeks. He fouled a ball off his foot and broke it. Imagine going from 3 home runs one night to the disabled list the next.

A sharp contrast in temperatures during that 24 hour period. Game time temperature in Denver on Thursday had been 92 degrees. Friday night in SF it was 59! Yikes! Now I know why there was a long line at the Irish Coffee cart.

Game 2 was broadcast on Fox, so that meant a 4pm start - not much time to do any sightseeing. So we took a cable car ride and wandered along the Embarcadaro to the Park. We had planned to find a place to watch the US in the World Cup soccer tournament, but we couldn't get in anyplace - everything was "at capacity." So we sat at a sidewalk restaurant, ate pizza and enjoyed the California sunshine.

Game 2 was special: they were retiring the number of Monte Irvin, a Negro League player who also played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. All the Giants stars were there to honor him: Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda - very, very cool. It was a beautiful sunny day, which made the whole ceremony that much more spectacular.

We sat at the Club Level, again on the second tier. It was a nice spot, with access to all the Club Level extras (less crowded ladies' room, better concessions). We won 4-2, although we lost another player to injury: Buchholz left with a pulled hamstring.

We met our buddy Lydia for dinner at Joe DiMaggio's restaurant - a really nice spot in North Beach. We had a great meal - and a lot of laughs. And the trip back to the hotel was highlighted by a gorgeous full moon over the Transamerica Pyramid.

Day 3 - Sunday - was an interesting and fun day. It began with a stroll along the beginning of the route for the city's annual Gay Pride Parade. Yes, there were naked men and men dressed as women, but we also met some pit bill owners showing off their "babies" and librarians from the SF Public Library. It was a wonderful salute to human rights, the right for each person to be themselves. Very cool. Then on to the Park - our freebee today was a Panda mask, in honor of SF third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who is called Kung Fu Panda. My lunch today was the Crazy Crab sandwich, recommended by the NYTimes. Very good.

We sat on the Field Level, about a dozen rows behind the SF dugout. It was a really hot day - lots of sunblock was used - but the seats had their own concessions area below the stands. It was a handy spot to get out of the sun. As for the game, the billed star was two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum - who the Sox battered into submission by the third inning. Ortiz even hit a homer into McCovey Cove! The REAL star was on our side: Jon Lester threw a complete game, looking very strong. Who would have predicted that Giants pitchers would get 15 strikeouts - and lose 5-1? Bad note: we lost another player to injury - Victor Martinez left with a broken thumb!

After the game, we had dinner in Chinatown - yum! Then, it was time for me to pack up - I took the 1:30 am red eye back home. Ack.

Other notes on AT&T: at the end of the game, maybe within 10 minutes of the last out, the seagulls come swooping in. You can see them perching on the roof, on the giant glove in left field, waiting for the crowds to disperse so they can get their dinner. Very Hitchcock-esque! Great concessions - an incredible variety of food and drink. A gorgeous setting on the Bay - we were lucky to have such clear weather so we could enjoy it. They have a female public address announcer, who is excellent!

I'm now up to 12 major league parks. And already thinking about next summer. Pittsburgh? Philadelphia? Toronto? Maybe some of the midwest parks like Kansas City or Chicago? We'll see!

And photos!

Labels: , , ,