Had a great time up at AT&T Park this weekend, specifically Sunday, when the Dodgers put the finishing touches on a three-game sweep and consecutive game shutout, restoring the Dodgers back to first place in the NL West with a 4-0 victory. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and despite the city's attempts to thwart my arrival (thank you, SF Marathon street closures), I was able to make it to Pete's Tavern beforehand, and then the game itself.
The pictures don't do this game justice. Sure, the Dodgers won 4-0, and sure, there were a ton of Dodger fans in the crowd who could enjoy this victory with me. But there were also two special guest stars who met me at the Phone Booth on Saturday: long-time SoSG reader fanerman (a.k.a. Mr F),...as well as someone who holds a special place in all SoSG readers' hearts:
I can't get the jump thingy to work properly right now, so I'm going to have to show all these pictures in one mongo-crazy post. Sorry about this.
First off, let me start by saying AT&T Park is, admittedly, a beautiful stadium. Even a stalwart Dodger fan can recognize this. On a warm day, the stadium gets a slight breeze from the ocean. The view of the bay is picturesque. The sightlines to home plate are pretty good, with the seats angled such that you don't have to crane your neck to watch the action.
And we had seats up on the View Level (read: high, high up), but down below the concourse in a section that had only four rows, so it was pretty intimate and calm.
Despite the city's attempts to thwart my on-time arrival (thank you, SF Marathon street closures), I was able to get there in time to have a couple of drinks at Pete's Tavern (across the street from the ballpark) prior to the game. There was a guy in a Kershaw t-shirt here as well, and the bar was jumping prior to the game.
We hung out for a couple of innings, but by then the kids were antsy and it was time to go to the Coca-Cola Fan Lot, which is a nice distraction for families who don't want to depress themselves watching a substandard home team play baseball. Of course, I needed sustenance along the way, so I picked up a hot dog:
By the time I arrived at the great Coke bottle in the sky, my kids were ready to slide. Here are some shots from the area where the kids emerge:
The only bummer about this was that the Dodgers put on their first runs of the afternoon while I was tending to the exits, trying to make sure my munchkins didn't emerge and get lost in the crowd. It's a little chaotic since you can't really tell when your kids have entered or how long the queue is up top.
I heard the Dodgers put on their first run when Hanley Ramirez grounded into a force out but avoided the double play, allowing Juan Rivera to score from third. The Giants crowd let off a big cheer which was followed by a depressing sigh; the sigh was echoed moments later when Marco Scutaro biffed an infield fly in the sun, which led to yet another sigh when Luis Cruz doubled in the second run of the day.
Of course, I couldn't see much of this action from where I was, which was a bummer. But oh, well. After a couple of go-rounds, we continued onward toward right field, stopping at the cable car for some more photos (not posted here).
Walking around the main concourse, I have to say, Giants fans were pretty civil all in all. I ate a Chicago Dog along the railing by McCovey Cove and there were no incidents. But then, there were a lot of Dodger fans around; in fact, it was fun to walk by and high five a random Dodger fan as we coasted to victory.
As we made it back up to the 300 level, I figured I'd buzz fanerman and see if he was up for a stadium connection. Sure enough, he was ready. I bought him a beer and it was great to see Smonk again.
Remember, Smonk was awarded to fanerman in a contest that took almost a full year to play out. When fanerman finally won, it was like an era of SoSG had passed. He was a worthy contestant and deserved his spoils.
So it was great to hang out with fanerman through the remainder of the game and enjoy the sun, make wisecracks about Juan Uribe, and regale in the stories of fanerman's clever strategems which defeated Mr. LA Sports Czar down the stretch. I had no idea how thoughtful fanerman's Smonkstakes gambits were. He really needs to write a book on this stuff: "The Art of Smonk War". (Smonk, by the way, is not to be confused with Smock, Mr. LA Sports Czar's prize for winning Assassins' Circle 2011.)
After Hanley Ramirez extinguished the Giants' flame, we took the long walk down the ramps toward the exits. And it was slow going, not only because of the crowds but because Giants fans walked with their heads bent down:
This was a wonderful game to see in person (I'm sure Saturday's 10-0 drubbing was great as well). Here's hoping this roadtrip (and series) signals a more positive trajectory for the Dodgers from here on out!