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Sunday, September 10, 2000

A night's sleep helps. A day away from everything helps more.

I was up at 7:30 again this morning, but this time it was so I could find a place to get some gas before driving to Larkspur to meet Eric, so that we could take the ferry to the Giants game in San Francisco. It was foggy here this morning, so I wasn't sure what to expect in the City. We took the 9:45 boat and got to the Ferry Building about an hour later, bathed in brilliant sunshine.

It was a choice between taking the 9:45 ferry and getting there extra early, or taking the next boat at 11:45 and getting there barely in time for the start of the game. Because we can't get enough of the positive atmosphere at Pacific Bell Park these days, we naturally went early and watched batting practice.

batting practicethe coke bottle and oversized glove, from yet another angle

John and some friends were also going to the game today, but their group was sitting in the nosebleed seats that we usually occupy. Because Eric had been offered a co-worker's season ticket seats, we were in right centerfield, just above the façade, along the arcade to the right of the scoreboard.

It's fun just to be at the ballpark, but it's better when you can see the field. John walked down from his seats to ours during the game, and he could see the difference right away.

the view from our seats

From this angle, you can see the pitches, and you can follow the ball more easily than from the high spots along the foul lines where we've been sitting. There's a corner of right field where we have to wait to see what's happening, because it's totally out of our line of sight. But the trade-off for the overall perspective is worth it.

So we had people ambling back and forth behind us along the arcade all during the game. It was kind of a bleachers atmosphere in that section. The seats are benches, like in the bleachers, and I think that has a subtle effect on the way people relate to each other. Everybody's your friend when you're sitting in the bleachers.

Little kids who go to baseball games are so lucky. They get to spend three hours with their parents in a situation where the event doesn't overwhelm the fellowship. You don't have to pay attention to the game all the time, leaving plenty of time to pay attention to each other. The pace is perfect for conversation. Families spending a day together in the sun, in the midst of people in a sunny mood — it's a lovely thing to see.

This was another game where a lot of runs were scored. The Giants led, 5-0, after one inning and were never in danger of losing. They ended up beating the Padres, 10-2, and gained a game on Arizona in the standings. This means they're one game closer to a shot at the World Series, the ultimate goal.

So everything was perfect, right?

Well, it probably would have been, except that I forgot the sunblock. I asked some people if they had any I could borrow, but no one did. So I fried. I baked. I roasted in the sun.

I did my best to cover the back of my neck with the collar of my shirt, but since I was wearing a T-shirt with no collar to speak of, it was kind of a hopeless quest. There wasn't much I could do except sit there and turn red in the ozone-impaired direct sunlight. I'll be sore tomorrow, especially on my neck and the side of my face.

It's frustrating to take precautions all summer long to keep from getting sunburned, and then to blow it all in one day. Luckily, I rarely suffer for more than a day, no matter how badly I burn, so I'm counting on just one bad day. It was the last time I'll see a day game this season, so it's worth the after effects. It was totally avoidable, though. I always remember the sunblock.

And now I'll have to take cold showers for a couple of days.

Because the game was played well, and quickly, we were able to take the 4:45 ferry back to Larkspur. If the game had run long and we'd missed the boat, we would have had to wait two more hours. A day sitting in the sun takes a lot out of me, and I was grateful to be home earlier than I'd expected. Especially since I wanted to find something cool (and antiseptic) to put on my sunburn as soon as possible.

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There was a little guy about four sitting (mostly standing and wiggling) in our section, who called the Padres the "Podracers."