As the 2013 baseball season winds down, I’m taking in as many San Francisco Giants games as my schedule – and my budget – will allow.
I was on hand when the team played the Red Sox on August 20 (the only game the Giants were destined to win in that series), as well as Friday’s game two against the Pittsburg Pirates, which did not end so well. The Giants lost 3-1, but there were several silver linings for me.
To start, I actually had two tickets to the Pirates game (long story), and spent the first three innings with my college friend Richard, who is British, and his two fantastic children who are spending the summer in San Francisco. His daughter Chloe educated me on the similarities and differences between baseball and rounders (a game she apparently plays to some acclaim back home). Thankfully, there was no quiz afterwards, because I think I would have been forced to cheat. It’s complicated!
Richard’s son Dominic asked great questions that tested my knowledge of America’s pastime. Our best conversation of the night went something like this:
Dominic: “Is Matt Cain pitching?”
Me: “Wow, you already know the Giants’ pitchers?”
Dominic: “He’s in an Audi advert near our house. But what about the one named Tim or something?”
Me: (*sigh*) “Pull up a chair, young man.”
Second silver lining: At the end of the third inning, I headed to my seat near the Giants’ dugout. I plopped down in my usual graceful manner, before noticing a bit of a hullabaloo in our section. The gentleman sitting directly in front of me was allowing fans to photograph his massive bling-bling ring.
It wasn’t the Pope. It was veteran Giants first baseman Will “The Thrill” Clark. He stuck around until the fifth inning, signing balls and taking photos with fans – always with a gracious smile. He works in the Giants’ front office, so perhaps he’s obligated to go to a few games each season to reward fans. However, I saw him at 2013 Spring Training too, and am certain his generosity and enthusiasm are genuine. The man loves baseball, and clearly feels blessed to still be part of the game.
There are only 32 games left in the season. I wonder if I can squeeze in one more Tim Lincecum outing, since San Francisco Chronicle beat writer Hank Schulman has (helpfully) pointed out that Timmy may only have two more starts in a Giants uniform.