bunt sign

Thursday, April 11, 2002

The game lasted about two and a half hours. I left my house at 8:30 this morning and got back home at 6:30 tonight. That's a huge loss of time (especially since I haven't even done my taxes yet), but it was worth it. It was worth it (even though my team lost) for a few reasons. To spend the day with Eric is one thing, but to spend the day with Eric at a baseball game is about as good as it gets.

He drove up to Santa Rosa from his home in the East Bay after work yesterday and spent the night at his parents' house. I picked him up first thing this morning and we headed for the bus. There are two local tour companies (that I know of) that do semi-regular runs to major league games in San Francisco and Oakland. One is cheaper and more convenient. That's the other one. The one we went on today is not as cheap, and not as easy to use because they won't make an extra stop at a place that's easier for Eric to get to. That's why he has to drive all the way up here.

However, you get more for your money with this company. (Besides, Mom paid for the tickets and gave them to us for our birthdays.) It's a roomier, more comfortable bus, for one thing. Plus, you get donuts and coffee on the way down, a bag of snacks to take into the ballpark, and ice cream on the way back. The other company passes around a basket of candy and lets you take one piece.

Another thing this company has is a great driver. I've never seen anyone who could maneuver a vehicle that big in and out of such small spaces. He talked his way into letting us off at the front entrance of the park, instead of in Lot A a half-mile away. And after the game we managed to get home safely without ever getting jammed up in the parking lot known as Highway 101 in Marin County. He found alternate routes, byways and shortcuts that I never dreamed existed. It was brilliant!

Pacific Bell Park

Looking from the arcade, across the field at our seats in the corner behind the foul pole.

We were there an hour before the game started, giving us time to walk all the way around the rim of the beautiful ballpark by the Bay. We got our food and settled into our seats, after a minor confrontation with an usher who insisted on seeing both our tickets.

Eric had misplaced his in one of his many pockets and asked the usher to hold his drink while he searched for it. He wouldn't believe that we were with the tour group sitting a few feet away from us, waving. He wouldn't believe that Eric's ticket was identical to mine, except that he had seat 6 and I had seat 7. He was stone-faced during this whole inquisition, and then as soon as Eric found his ticket, he turned cheery and helpful. "Enjoy the game! Would you like a pocket schedule?"

We were later told by some of the older people on the bus that they had to empty their backpacks and take out what they needed, and then leave the game early to retrieve them. These were elderly people with canes, so obviously no "profiling" was involved. Everyone is treated with the same level of disrespect these days. It's security at the expense of freedom and consideration, an overreaction to the way the world is today. It was a minor inconvenience to us, but a cause of real stress to some who least deserved it.

On the other hand, they didn't seem to mind it for themselves as much as I minded it for them. So there you go. It's just sad is all. America's national pastime, the great pastoral game, played almost exactly as it was a hundred years ago in an age before planes and skyscrapers, is held hostage by zealots.

Pacific Bell Park

Looking out from our seats at the field, through that same foul pole.

We sat under the overhang in the left field corner, shaded from the sun but not overly chilled by the marine air blowing off the bay. I was glad I had a sweatshirt, but I almost never go to a game at Pacific Bell Park without one. The game, between two bitter rivals, was tense, well-played, and close all the way. Each team had the lead late in the game, and even though my team fell short at the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The season is just over a week old, and the first game of the year is always a big event for us. If all goes well, we'll have many more new memories by the time it ends in October.

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