San Jose Giants Experience 2012
(originally written 9/1/12)
Thanks to the extreme generosity of my friend Angie, I found myself in possession of a dozen free tickets for the San Jose Giants/Visalia Rawhide game 8/22. (For those unaware, these Giants are the lowest minor league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants—Buster Posey, Matt Cain, Pandoval, etc. had to pass through ol' Municipal Stadium on their way to the majors.)
Five friends kept me quality company, even though early on I wasn't great company thanks to roaring hunger. One friend recommended the tri-tip sandwich; at that point she could have recommended the Q-tip sandwich and I mighta agreed. Now, if you're a SJG tri-tip neophyte as I was, you wil expect to walk to a booth or a window, stand in line, and place your order.
That's not quite how it's done. Apparently you grab your own menu and check boxes as you stand in line, then pass it off to the worker. Even for an introvert like me...this was a little extreme. And the sandwich wasn't even all that.
While paying for it, I thought I recognized an older lady from Meetup softball who'd come out just enough times to where I couldn't ignore her in this line. Not wanting to tap her and be wrong, I simply yelped "Sue"—indeed it was Sue. This could have been a Seinfeld subplot; is the acquaintance "tapworthy"?
The game itself was almost totally uninteresting. I'd heard of exactly one player on either side: 2011 #1 pick Joe Panik, the SJ shortstop. San Jose had one hit through eight innings, after which the score read 0-0 and felt like -5 to -4.
How dull was it? I spent entire innings observing the ballpark staff, wondering if they were allowed to ever watch the field or had to face the crowd at all times, even on batted balls. Sometimes they would cheerlead with no clue what happened behind them—going solely off the crowd reaction. (Imagine the headline: "Oblivious Giants' Staff Cheers On Streaker!")
At one point we ignored the "action" to monitor which ones put on sweatshirts as the temps dropped. What a ballgame!
Saving the first eight innings from 100% snoozefest status: a ridiculous diving catch by #1 Chris "No, my dad ain't Kenny" Lofton in LF, coincidentally against Visalia's #1 Michael Freeman; an air-guitar "contest" between a couple of 5-year-old girls, one of whom so pathetic that she won by pity vote; a fan yelling "Hey, batter, you missed the ball!" after said batter whiffed; and San Jose batter Adam Duvall inexplicably remaining frozen in the batters' box as his one-hopper caromed off the Visalia 1B and into RF—finally giving Giants fans something to make noise about (albeit it negative.)
Speaking of fans making noise, I looked up at one point to see one of my co-fans in tears. Now, I've been with enough damaged women to know a crier by scent—and this girl is no crier; someone must have died, or her food came with way too many onions, I thought. Turns out she made the mistake of walking and popped a tendon in her leg. Yowch. I briefly considered sharing the Jeff Ruland story with her, but A) it didn't seem the right time for humor, and B) she wasn't there to talk about the past.
In the top of the 9th, Visalia's Jonathan Griffin hit a six-mile solo HR to break the scoreless tie, SJ tied it on an RBI walk in the bottom 9th, and won via walkoff sac fly in the 10th. Like the movie Flight Of The Phoenix, the exciting end made up for the painful, lengthy tedium. (Well, that and friends.)