Friday, July 15, 2011

A Commoner Goes to a Baseball Game

Occasionally commoners venture out with other commoners.  Occasionally we will go to places where big events like baseball games happen.  I’m a big baseball fan and every year I go to the Giants game to see them play the NY Mets.  I’m a former New Yorker who grew up loving the Mets and now cheer for the Giants.  They like me were sent to live in California-we are kindred spirits and they are a great ball team.

Now ATT Park is not common by any sense of the imagination.  It is outstanding in every way.  The views, the food, the way the park is built into the city so you can’t see it, the food, the view, oh wait right.  The fans are a lot of fun too-no one curses or throws things, they are too busy eating sushi with chop sticks.  But if you don’t know someone (commoners never seem to know anyone) or have a guy (we never have guys either) you are designated to buying your tickets on the open market-you know the internet.  What that means is that your seats are going to be pretty much-well- in the sky somewhere.  But that’s okay because the Giants organization has done a great job of convincing commoners that these are the best seats because you have a great view of the Bay Bridge.  Hey-works for me- I love pictures of bridges.

We always make a weekend out of this event and stay in the city.  Yes New Yorkers, we also refer to San Francisco as the city.  We stay in a Hilton (living the high life for a commoner) and walk to the stadium.  My husband Rob was born and raised in a major European city and I’m a native New Yorker.  But Rob refuses to cross any street if the sign doesn’t say walk.  This means it takes a long time to get through this city-but we got there.  We even had time for a snack on whatever that road is that faces the stadium.
As we sat eating our sandwiches- me with a Panini and Rob with something not a Panini-I looked out the window like a commoner in awe-and noticed that the you could see the top of the stadium where ‘other people’ sit and see that it overlooked the street.  Brilliant I’ve thought you can’t even really tell it’s there.  Who would sit up there anyway?

So we entered the park, and took some pictures with the Willie Mays statue and strolled a lap inside the park.  We looked at the 75 dollar sweatshirts and 30 dollar t-shirts.  I was wearing a jersey already but Rob refused to commit to either team, wearing a Yankee cap instead- now he wanted a cap and he wanted to pay 10 dollars.  That didn’t happen.  Rob would later learn he would be sorry.  

We walked our lap and watched the Mets warm up and kind of got lost.  Now I know our seats are high up, after all, they were cheaper and who doesn’t want that great view right? It’s all about the view.  So I ask an usher who was guarding the seats that lead to the dugout,”How do I get to section 307?”  He looked at us, raised an eyebrow and said “307 huh? You don’t come to the park often do you?”  My answer was-“Oh yes we come all the time.”  Yes I outright lied.   He sneered and grinned like Cruella Deville ready for the dogs and said “Go out that way, out the door and start climbing those steps.”   Oh-those steps? No escalator huh?  Look around San Fran someday-no one is heavy.  These people climb hills as a mode of transportation

Ok no problem and we turned on our heels and started climbing-like mountain climbers we kept going until we got to the 300s and we entered the section.  Okay more steps no problem and we started counting up the rows.  Well we noticed we were running out of numbers-18 isn’t a big number is it?   Well there we were-the very top of the stadium.  I mean it-the top-there was nothing behind us and the pavement below but a chain link fence and some tarp.  When you turn and looked down there was nothing but sidewalk and the restaurant where we ate.  But this is the Giants!  World Champions!  They sell out EVERY game and we were lucky just to be there.

The wind blew, the tarp whipped at our backs, we froze and froze and I warned everyone that came up –don’t look down.  The game started, it was magic-a night at the ballgame and we were there.  Rob was on my left and blocked the wind but it had to be 30 degrees up there.  There were also bouts of altitude sickness –consisting of dizziness, loss of memory and the occasional nose bleed.  But oh the view.
What you learn about baseball fans and about commoners is that a ticket doesn’t really mean you have a designated seat and after the first few innings, all of the fellow commoners we had made friends with somehow disappeared.   You have to know these weren’t just game mates they were wind blockers and they all left.  Talking Rob into living on the edge and nabbing a ‘good ‘seat is next to impossible –so it was only when ALL the commoners had vacated that he agreed to move down-1 row.  Being a commoner and a rule follower is a tough mix.

The game ended-the Giants lost-but hey the Mets won-and the commoners began their trek down the stadium-complete with harness to protect us from falling from the sky.   And because we were walking in a pack of commoners walking through the city- Rob didn’t hesitate to walk when the sign said don’t.  With a little effort and some help from your local REI for Mountain climbing gear-America’s Pastime with America’s (sorry the world’s) best team is still available for a commoner.