A game at "Cell Phone Park"
added 4/11/2002 by Darrell Pittman
My lovely wife Susan had to travel this week to San Francisco on business. Since she travels often, she had a cudgillion frequent-flyer miles, so I tagged along and flew free. Besides being with her, the highlight of the trip for me, so far, was attending the Giants-Dodgers game this past Tuesday night (April 9) at Pac Bell Park.
All day Tuesday, as I walked about the city while Susan was in training classes, the weather was cold, windy, and rainy, and I had considerable doubts about whether the game would be rained out. Susan and I are not accustomed to good luck when we travel, but on this day, the gods of baseball smiled: the rains stopped about an hour before the game, even as she changed after returning to the hotel room after her classes.
I had always heard that tickets at Pac Bell were hard to get, yet somehow, Susan's boss Diane was able to get a block of 25 tickets in the left-field bleachers for those training attendees that wanted them. Even I and a couple of friends were included, which was very nice. This must have taken considerable resourcefulness on Diane's part, as at the game, the announcer said that it was the Giants' 51st consecutive sellout.
My good friend and former co-worker John lives in the area, and we had previously arranged to meet at the game or, if it was raining, at MoMo's just across the street. A cab ride from the hotel to the ballpark and a couple of cell-phone calls reunited us with John, and we entered the ballpark just in time for the first pitch.
The all-day rain had left the open-air ballpark drenched, with puddles on most of the concave bleacher seats, but one of Susan's co-workers had thoughtfully dried off our row with wads of napkins from the concession stands. Not sitting in water makes a ballgame so much more pleasant :-)
The temperature was still cool (in the 50s), but the rain and wind had slacked off; the stadium flags were almost still, which for a stadium next to a bay must be unusual. In jackets and sweaters, we were quite comfortable, though Susan and I had brought an umbrella as insurance. The left-field bleacher seats gave us an up-close view of Barry Bonds. They were great seats.
The Giants' Russ Ortiz faced off against Hideo Nomo of the Dodgers. Nomo would go on to two-hit the Giants in a 3-0 shutout, while Ortiz would give up six hits and two earned runs.
Pac Bell has a reputation as a pitcher's park, and it lived up to that reputation this night. There was only one homer, this by the Dodger's Shawn Green in the eighth inning. Apart from that, no one got more than a double. Bonds managed no more than a single to right. The game featured some great defensive plays and aggressive base-running. In short, it was an old-style National League game, and was a pleasure to take in.
The rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers is an intense one. The few Dodger fans in the bleachers took a considerable amount of heckling (most of it good-natured) from the Giant fans, which intensified as the Giants' cause grew increasingly hopeless. There were, however, a lot of F-words being thrown around, and I found myself feeling for the parents in the crowd who had brought children. A ballpark should be a family-friendly place where one can bring one's kids.
We did not bring a camera with us this trip, but I took some pictures of the ballpark when I took a tour of it in March 2001, before last season started. If you want to take a look, click here. At the time, they were resodding it after the desecration of the XFL games that were held there.
The Giants' fans are rightfully proud of their new crib, as it is a beautiful ballpark, and a nice place to take in a game. It is very similar to Astros Field. Susan and I both enjoyed the game immensely.