Giants 2010: Lincecum Vs. Ubaldo
(originally written 9/4/10)
Talk about shame.
Having already seen a Washington Nationals home game and a Baltimore Orioles home game this year, with plans to see an Oakland Athletics home game on the horizon, imagine the guilt I carried around every time I called myself a Giants fan (and blogger) when I hadn’t attended single home game so far in 2010. I felt like a fraud and a phony; somebody unqualified to sport their colors.
Not that there weren’t extenuating circumstances. Raising a child certainly took up a lot of my time and money. My best Giants fan friend was busy planning his nuptials most of the summer, otherwise I think we’ve checked out a game by now. I spent two months of the season 3,000 miles away—where plans to catch the Giants during their visit to Nationals Park in July were ruined by outside interference I had no control over.
Upon learning of their “special” for Wednesday night’s game against Colorado (view reserve seats for $6 apiece), I knew I had to jump on it. And jump on it I did; it was important to me to get baby Josie to AT&T Park—she is going to be a GIANTS (not A’s) fan, no matter what her mama says—during her first MLB season in existence.
I expected the section to be full, and maybe even the stadium, so I bought the tickets online. Meaning an extra $8 in “convenience” and “printing” fees. They give you two options on their website to obtain your tickets—print-at-home and Will Call. Both options cost an extra $2.50.
The only way to avoid extra ticket fees is to buy them at the ballpark, which is an AT&T Park risk I’ll never take again, having not forgotten the standing-room-only debacle of 2004 in which there was only standing room by the exit. You would have thought Jerome Williams was Billy Dee Williams (Circa 1980). But I'm not here to talk about the past.
The lady and I have attended about 10 Giants games together over the years, and arrived late to all of them, mostly because she refuses to take CalTrain. Meaning I have to drive through rush-hour traffic, find parking, etc. But this time, even with Josie, we pulled it off, leaving super early from the 408 and having our car parked by 5pm—75 minutes before the first pitch!! Awesome!
Knowing it would be enough of a challenge keeping Josie entertained during the ballgame itself, we decided to walk her around the entire park until first pitch…and made a discovery I’d never noticed before. On the promenade behind the right field wall, the Giants have installed bronze home plates, not unlike the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Each one commemorates a Giant milestone or feat, including Jon Sanchez’ no-hitter from last season and Barry Bonds’ record-breaking home run of 2007. Somehow I’d managed to walk back there on at least three occasions and never noticed them.
The gate we entered through turned out to be probably the worst one we could have chosen to get to our seats, although it did provide an interesting side story. Directed towards an elevator by staff, we accidentally tried to use the freight elevator. The doors opened to reveal a forlorn man who gave every appearance of having been inside this elevator since AT&T Park opened in 2000. “This is the FREIGHT elevator,” he bellowed, half-hoping we would still climb inside and keep him company. Hopefully, the Giants let him out one day.
The match-up tonight: Tim Lincecum vs. Ubaldo Jiminez. Back in June, this would have been huge news, and likely kicked off all the sports highlight shows in the nation unless Roger Clemens confessed to steroid use or LeBron James decided to play pro baseball. In June, Ubaldo pretty much had the Cy Young award wrapped up, while Lincecum contended strongly for second place. But the two aces had combined to go nine straight starts without a win, with Lincecum especially scuffling. (Ubaldo was still 17-5, 2.65, with 169 K.)
Our seats, as mentioned, were view reserve—way up in LF foul territory about level with the fair pole. We could see over the RF wall well into McCovey Cove and the San Francisco Bay; it really was a spectacular view and I’d hoped to get a photo of my family in our Giants gear with that scene as a backdrop. In the first two innings a lone, harmless-looking guy sat nearby; I was twice about to ask him to take our pic but was interrupted each time.
Try #3 seemed like the charm, but when I turned around, that guy was gone, replaced by a couple that seemed right out of a MegaDeth concert. Needless to say, I passed on the photo.
The game itself moved very quickly—a good thing, for Josie’s sake—as both pitchers brought their A-games. The Rox scored first when Carlos Gonzalez (the ex-Athletic who’s become a real star in Colorado) homered off Lincecum in the 4th, but the Giants got it back when newcomer Mike Fontenot singled up the gut in the 5th. Our home fans were great throughout, showing their struggling ace LOADS of love with every big pitch, and even during his at-bats. In fact, when Timmy laid down a successful sac bunt in the 8th, he was saluted as if he’d broken the all-time sac bunt record.
That sac bunt would end up helping win the game; pinch-runner Darren Ford (who I once saw lead off a San Jose Giants game with a home run) made his MLB debut a memorable one, swiping third on a “wild” pitch—it rolled about five feet away—then scoring when the throw went awry! The stadium erupted as if it were a World Series game, including yours truly, who high-fived everyone within high-fiving distance.
(When the Giants took that 2-1 lead, some fans actually left, improbably believing the game was in the bag. These fans obviously blocked out the painful ending to Monday’s game.)
Collectively, we were trying to will Lincecum to a badly-needed victory. He’d thrown great but gotten no support; it would have been a tragedy to deny him on this night. In fact, when the game was still tied, the Giants sent two relievers (and catchers) to warm up—I’ve never seen four men sadder to be in the major leagues than this group. You would have thought they were going to retrieve drowned squirrels from a swimming pool.
Brian Wilson made quick work of the Rockies in the 9th, with a little help from Freddy Sanchez, who did his best Jerry Rice imitation with a spiffy over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right for the final out—leading to jubilant pandemonium from the contingent. It was a great 2-1 victory, a great night all-round to be at the ballpark. I even ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in over a year while waiting to retrieve my car from an off-site parking garage (which is actually just an oversized shed they cram as many cars into that will fit.)
That very parking garage, located off Townsend Street, has some issues. Driving eastbound on Townsend, the displayed price was $25. Driving westbound the price was $20. I guess if you’re dropping in from the sky the price is $15??
We made note of the Marlins/Nats final of 16-10 on the out-of-town scoreboard, wondering if in fact they played football rather than baseball. Only later did we find out they were actually boxing down in Florida.
Todd Helton, the longtime Colorado Rockie star and their all-time leader in most categories, went hitless. I do like Helton, who took less money to stay in Colorado when his stock was very high a few years ago. In the first half of this decade he was one of the league’s three best first basemen, hitting .330 with 40 bombs a year. But he’s 36 now, hitting around .260 with only a handful of jacks. He just isn’t what he used to be. It was kind of sad to watch a legend slowly fading away until I realized his fade can only help the Giants…unless they acquire him like they often do with old, fading players.
The “Baby Cam” dissed me something bad. I had Josie in her Giants gear dancing her little butt off and got NO love from the cameramen. The only logical reason: my $6 dollar seats. Later the “Carlton Cam”, in honor of the nerdy dancing of the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” character, missed a guy who should have been an easy winner—I suspect because he was also in the $6 section. The cameras DID catch one dancer who I’m convinced had no idea what the Carlton Cam even was, and had been “swinging” since the start of the game.
Last but not least, GO GIANTS! BEAT L.A.!!!!!