On my California trip last month, after I left Lake Tahoe, I spent a few hours in Golden Gate Park drinking in the breathtaking vistas of the Bay area and then I went to an evening baseball game at the home park of the SF Giants with H, one of my Lake Tahoe running mates. I think the park currently is known as AT&T Park, but who cares? (Above: Goodbye, Lake Tahoe (thanks again, Bex).)
A hobby of mine is to attend baseball games at different ballparks. When I was in California to run the Inaugural Disneyland Half Marathon last September, I saw games in three parks I hadn't visited before, the current homes of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Oakland Athletics and the San Diego Padres. I also spent a few hours walking around the outside of Candlestick Park, the last home of the SF Giants. It's home now to the SF 49ers and called something else, but who cares? It'll always be Candlestick to me. I regret that I never saw a game there.
I was meeting H at our seats in the LF corner by the foul pole. The night didn't start out right when I got totally lost trying to find the stadium. (It's on the water by the Bay Bridge. How hard could it be?) I finally drove up and discovered that parking was $30.
I turned around and drove away from the stadium until there were no longer any signs prohibiting parking and parked. Uhh, it wasn't so great a neighborhood. I walked back to the stadium, about a mile, and went to our seats where I met H.
It's a lovely new stadium of the typical topical retro design. Think Camden Yards in a chillier city with a water panorama instead of a warehouse view. And much more expensive parking. Really, with one or two exceptions, the new stadiums all look pretty much the same. Which is, gimmicky. But if you're ever in Pittsburgh...
It was June but it was cold. I bought some pricey garlic fries, which is supposed to be indigenous to the Bay area, but the cupful of cold fries I received was a stuck-together soggy mess. The stadium struck out on the food score as it had already struck out on the pricing score.
The interesting thing about the game was watching Giants left-fielder Barry Bonds. I don't need to bring anybody on the planet up to date on the steroid controversy that swirls around "Mr. Big Head."
Bonds misplayed two fly balls that led to an early lead for the Giants' opponents, the Toronto Blue Jays. But then he hit home run, career number 747 (eight behind Hammerin' Hank Aaron's hallowed, drug-free record) that put the Giants permanently in the lead. The place went wild. Those San Franciscans love him. I have to admit, I was sullen about his exploit, not that I care a whit about the Giants or the Blue Jays. I think his tainted pursuit of Aaron's record is a non-event, and every Giants win in which Bonds hits a home run should be disqualified and awarded to the other team.
Afterwards my car was still there and I drove H to her hotel by Fisherman's Wharf. Then I drove over the Bay Bridge to the San Joaquin valley. Catnapping in truck stop service center parking lots, I made LA by the next day. After attending Knotts Berry Farm Theme Park in Anaheim to while away some hours, I caught a red-eye at the Long Beach airport and arrived back at Dulles early the next morning, my second California vacation in a year complete. Both vacations were heavily running oriented (Disneyland Half and Lake Tahoe Relay). None of my friends from before I started running in 2000 can figure it out. Wait, I have no friends left from before I started running in 2000. Here's to all of my new friends.