Memories: A Way of Life or a Song from Cats

Warning: This post contains simulated swear words and nostalgia and may not be suitable for readers under the age of 30.

AT&T Park

AT&T Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In about 2 days time I will be landing down in San Francisco, California.  Well…I’ll land down in Millbrae or wherever the hell the airport is.  Then it’s off to East Bay and some relaxation.  There are people to visit and things to do.  Saying ‘Hi’ to my mom is one of them.  Kiss my cousins baby is another.  I’ll be really looking forward to going to a San Francisco Giants game.  My wife has never been to a baseball game and so my family will make her.  She’s not much of a sports fan, despite having been on hand to witness her beloved North Melbourne Kangaroos (yes, that is the name of a sports team) win a Grand Final (Aussie rules) some time in the 90’s.  That’s one thing I’ve never done…watch my team win it all, live and in person.

There are only two series’ that I have to choose from and neither one has much appeal.  It’s either the Astros or the Padres.  Both teams are battling it out for last place in their divisions, but I’ll bet my brother wants to go see the Houston Astros because a guy he played high school ball with is on their team.  I don’t really care who I go see.  I’m just in it for the ballpark.

AT&T Park, which used to be known as SBC before the merger with AT&T, and after the acquisition of Pac Bell by SBC, thus removing the Pac Bell Park name, which the park was christened with upon…sigh…

Let’s start again.

AT&T Park is a beautiful park.  It’s my favorite park.  There’s very few ballparks that I’ve been to and so I have very little to compare it to.  Here is a list of stadiums I have been to for a baseball game.

  1. Mile High Stadium during the Rockies’ first year in existence.
  2. Mariners playing at the Kingdome.
  3. Dodger Stadium (the only one on this list with any character at all, and a generally nice experience)
  4. Wherever the Arizona Diamondbacks play which is actually a sleek-looking, new field.
  5. And…what’s the name of that place…oh…and Candlestick Park.

    Own this poster now. Note the optimistic tone of the poster. (Poster Credit: allposters.com)

I don’t know if any of you had watched a game at Candlestick Park.  It was a beast of a stadium that belonged in the Soviet Union somewhere.  Multi-use stadiums were all the rage at some point in the 50’s or 60’s and appeared to have been designed by the same architect.  They had no distinguishing features, whatsoever, and if you were to see aerial photos of them, you’d have a hard time telling them apart.

Not only was the ‘Stick ugly as sin, it was a miserable place to be.  Wind swirled, fog crept, and you could be wearing a puffed up, triple fat goose down jacket on a summer night.  Mix that in with the fact that we never tasted glory there and I’m glad it’s gone.  Well, not gone, just left to the 49ers.  But, as the title of the post implies, there were a lot of memories there.

Pete Rose, when asked about playing at Candlestick, had this to say. (Photo Credit: unknown)

  1. I got Roger Craig (the baseball manager, not the running back) to sign my ball.
  2. We watched the Marlins beat the Giants in 15 innings, and every inning, from the 8th inning on, we moved up about 5 rows until we were right by the Marlins bullpen.  We heckled the poor soul that was standing out there, making sure the catcher in the pen didn’t get hit with a wayward foul ball.
  3. Joe Guerra’s dad, Bob, took us down to the players exit after Goose Gossage blew a save (yes, the Goose played for us, briefly, toward the end of his career).  We asked him for his autograph and he came within a whisker of cursing at us.
  4. I watched Rob Deer hit an inside-the-park home run to win one in the 10th inning.
  5. And last, but not least, my first game.  It would have been 1985 or 1986.  My dad was a lifelong Dodgers fan, but he took me to my first ballgame, at the ‘Stick, to see Pete Rose play.  It was his last year, and my dad wanted me to see the all-time hits leader before he retired.  He got zero hits that day, but the guy behind us dropped forty-something F-bombs.

“if you don’t F$%&ing take F$%&ing Johnny ‘F$%&ing’ LeMaster out of the game right F$%&ing now then you’re a F$%&ing F$%&!!!”

I stared up at my dad to see if he was hearing what I was hearing.  He gave me a smirk-shrug that said, “Some people.”  I knew, then and there, that nothing was going to stop this man and I had fallen in love with baseball.

More Reading:

Samuel Lam discusses the sadness that goes along with the impending closing of the ‘Stick.  (butattheendoftheday.com)

The definitive history of Candlestick Park, complete with a “Video Experience” embedded.  (ballparksofamerica.com)

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  1. Really like the site. It’s clean and has the same great writing as X-Ray. Keep up the good work. Hope all is well.

    • Thanks Joseph. I’m off to the States today and the first two days are a bit hectic so I may not post for a few. Appreciate your support.

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