Day 16 – 7th September 2008 – San Francisco
Today I am very excited – I am going to see my very first baseball match. The Giants are playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at the AT&T Stadium and are we are going – how cool is that!!
Now you may think this is very selfish male thing to do on holiday but it was Lyn’s idea and she insisted that we go – not that she has any interest in Baseball but she knows it is something that I have always wanted to do – big big kisses to my wonderful wife!!
The game starts at about 1:00pm (I think) so we have a full morning to continue our sight seeing. We decide to try again to catch the Powell & Hyde tram to Union Square – this time there is virtually no line – we buy our ticket and board almost immediately – Lyn wants to stand up on at the back with the brakeman – is there no limit to this girl’s lust for thrill seeker!. We set off – I develop a sense of admiration for our brakeman – this is a really physical job. When you’ve got used to power steering; hydraulic brakes and in car communications systems – the antiquity of the tram and its visible moving mechanical parts is both fascinating and scary at the same time. This is a great way to see the streets of San Francisco and for $6 each it is great value.
We arrive at Union Square – we aim to be at the Stadium for around midday and if we are going to walk there from Union Square we will have to leave around 11:00am. That gives us about an hour in Union Square – a lot of damage can be done in an hour in Union Square but not for the want of trying we survived the hour without any major collateral damage.
We arrive at the Stadium with plenty of time to spare – we buy our tickets (I think they were $40each) we ask for tickets in the shade and specify that we didn’t want bleachers (I have no idea what this means but I was advised to mention it when I ask for my tickets) – I feel as though the mention of – no bleachers please – has elevated me to the level of a baseball aficionado – I consider giving the ticket clerk a wink and a knowing look - just to confirm our mutual understanding about my seating requirements but instead I keep quite and hope I don’t make too much of a fool of myself. My cover is blown when she gives me the choice of about seven seats – I crumble and admit that I have never been a baseball game before and ask her which seat she regarded as the best – she gives me a pitiful smile or was it grimace and makes a suggestion – we take the seats and scurry off trying to hide my embarrassment.
We still have an hour or so before the start of the game and so we walk across the road and sit at a lovely Italian pavement café and order pizzas. Sitting next to us was a young American mother with her two young children. We strike up a conversation and she explains that she and her family are regular attenders of the Giants and in fact one of her friends is a regular in the side – wow – I bask in the reflected glory that I am now on speaking terms with a friend of a Baseball star (unfortunately I can’t remember his name – drat!). I ask her 7 year old son if he could explain any of the rules of Baseball to us – he did – he was excellent – he also told us that the Giants were currently going through a bad patch and hadn’t won for ages – I told him that was all going to change as from today because I intend bringing them oodles of good luck.
I don’t expect anyone is that interested in the game itself and so I will spare you that explanation – however, we did sit behind probably the only Pittsburgh Pirates fans in the stadium. My initial thought was this could inhibit my new found passionate support for the Giants – but the excitement of the game got the better of me and I could not suppress my support of my new team – Go on you Giants.
The Pittsburgh fans were great fun and spent much of the game explaining what was happening and why – towards the end of the game as it became a little chilly Lyn gave the wife use of her wrap to keep her warm.
Anyway the Giants won – whoohoo. Our Pittsburgh Pirates friends felt that this was a poor introduction to Baseball as the game was full of errors (now far be it from me to suggest that there may have been a modicum of sour grapes involved in this assessment – but they were the experienced baseball fans and so I deferred to superior knowledge). Sometimes you just have to win dirty. The Giants crushed the Pirates in the 5th innings when they scored a staggering 11 runs – does this sound as though I know what I’m talking about? Anyway it was good fun.
My first experience of Baseball was superb – It’s has a nice friendly atmosphere – somewhere you can bring the family and have a good time. I get the impression that Baseball has parallels with Cricket in England – not just the game but the atmosphere and the type of people that attend. I expect that you could draw a similar parallel between English soccer (football) and American Football.
I am now a confirmed lifelong Giants fan – apologise to all non-Giant fans. Hey but goodness doesn’t it take a long time to finish a game– just about 4hours and what about the organ that is played during breaks in play – what is that all about - is it intended to whip the crowd up into a frenzy of excitement – lol.
Still we had a great time – I saw my first game of Baseball and Lyn managed to read almost half of her book.
After the game we decide to walk back to Fisherman’s Wharf – for the first time on this whole trip we actually feel cool and if my eyes don’t deceive me there seems to be a cloud bank moving towards us – oh no!.
It’s quite a walk back to the Wharf and when we arrive we decide to go into a bar that has live jazz music playing – it has a super atmosphere and we spend the rest of the night there – immobilised by either the walking or the strength of the alcohol – either way just sitting there and enjoying the live band was good.
We make our way back to our hotel around 10:00pm ish – tired and ready for bed.
I really enjoyed San Francisco or at least that small part of the city that we managed to see – of course it’s geared up for tourist – but that’s what we go for – there was never a moment that I didn’t feel safe and there are not many cities in the world you can say that about these days. Thank you San Francisco for a great time – come on you Giants – tomorrow we start the drive that I have really been looking forward to – The Pacific Highway – now that is exciting