It was a gorgeous day at AT&T Park, where not much happened… until this happened:
San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Hicks hit a three-run walk off home run in the 9th inning to beat the Cleveland Indians, and make it a clean sweep of the three-game series for the Giants. For most of the game, it seemed as if the lack of familiarity with either pitcher would translate into low scoring — until Hicks got the pitch he acted as if he’d been waiting for all day. Final score: 4-1.
I’m sorry for my Tribe, but thankfully this won’t be my last chance to see them play live in 2014. I’ll be catching a game in Seattle in June and, aside from my ongoing fantasy of someday moving to the emerald city, I have no affiliation with the Mariners. The Indians will have my 100% loyalty, and there will be no hand wringing over which team’s cap I’ll wear.
Now, please enjoy the pics, as I excuse myself to curl up on my sofa under a down comforter and spoon with a bottle of Vicks NyQuil.
On Thursday, I shivered through my first regular season San Francisco Giants game of 2014. The night air was so cold, I had to slip into my down jacket before the end of the second inning — not a good sign. Unfortunately, I forgot my gloves.
It was “Farewell to the ‘Stick” night — a celebration of more than 50 years of baseball and football played amidst wind, fog and swirling trash at soon-to-be-demolished Candlestick Park. The fitting promotional giveaway was a commemorative scarf that smelled awful when removed from its plastic bag. I wore it anyway. It’s no coincidence that scarves are among the most popular promos at AT&T Park. On my way home, I encountered at least one freezing fan offering to BUY one off someone.
Granted, East Coast teams play in some very cold temperatures in the early months of the season — a few years ago, the Cleveland Indians home opener was SNOWED out — but they have the scorching heat of June through August to look forward to. In San Francisco, we probably won’t see weather like that at a night game unless we make it to the post-season in October.
I’m surprised AT&T Park hasn’t tried a mittens promotional giveaway. Or a hand warmer giveaway.
Naturally, such an extremity-numbing game went to extra innings, and unfortunately the Giants wound up losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks by one run in the 10th. Still, my seat — four rows from the field, right next to the visitors dugout — was something to blog home about. I can only assume that the original owner gave up price-gouging for Lent, because I bought it on StubHub for at or near face value. Bless you, kind stranger.
Apologies for any camera shake. I shot until the shivering made it too hard to keep still…
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.
I’ve gone to a LOT of San Francisco Giants games at AT&T Park, often sitting in a seat near the dugout so that I could take hundreds of photos of whoever was on the mound. It’s fun with a fast shutter speed, because when you race through the photos later it’s like looking at a cartoon flip book.
There are only so many pitches you can photograph at 8 frames per second before they start to look redundant, though. Eventually it’s helpful when OTHER THINGS happen in the game that I can take photos of, like the scary collision between Tim Lincecum and Collin Cowgill at home plate in May.
Unfortunately, aside from Ryan Vogelsong’s solid outing, there was precious little to photograph during Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. I don’t think a Giant ever even made it over to third base, where I could snap him in a confab with third base coach Tim Flannery. A few made it to second, but my lens is a 28-300 which means photos from that distance are kind of ho-hum.
I was close enough, however, to see Buster Posey get stranded on base (again) early in the game. I can’t be sure, but I think he may have rolled his eyes before jogging back to the dugout after the third out. Seemed a little un-Posey like… but I know what I saw.
Listen up guys; I have tickets to four more Giants games this season. I’m not buying any more until I start to see some offense. I have already spent so much time photographing Giants’ pitchers, I could land a gig as a bullpen coach in the minors.
In the meantime, I’ll have to be satisfied with these shots of Vogey pitching to bad-bunter Clayton Kershaw (who does some kind of sun salutation stretch before every pitch) and of various Giants returning to the dugout scoreless, with their heads hanging low. Pretty much sums up the game, really.