Going to a ballgame is always romantic. For me, it always has been. And it has nothing to do with the kiss cam. I’ve been to games at Dodger Stadium, Fenway, (old) Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Jacobs Field, Kaufmann Stadium, US Cellular, and of course hundreds of games at Wrigley Field. There’s something about being here that feels like home. Though I’m not (for once) really paying attention the game, the whoosh of a pitch, the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd as well as so many other familiar sounds at the ballpark envelope my psyche as I carry on in my conversations this evening.
Before AT&T, it was PacBell. And before that it was Candlestick. Sitting in the upper deck is a dream. On the worst of days, the Giants faithful cheer their team on. On the best, they win championships. They have a champions heart (as much as it pains me to say it). And they are on a collision course with my Cubbies, though still in first place, owners of the worst record in baseball since June 20. It’s been breaking me. And now heading into the All-Star break, the Giants own the best record in baseball. It’s an even year after all.
Earlier in the evening, I accompanied a friend who worked at Silverado Vineyards into the ballpark through its back entrance where the employees sit, up the elevators and staircases known only to them, to the club level, where I poured wine for guests. I don’t know much about wine, except what I like and what I don’t. So when people came by our table, all I could say while flashing my crooked pearly whites was “the Sauvignon Blanc is amazing!!!” (which it was, and then some) and “the Sangiovese is sensational!!” (which it was). My friend who worked at the vineyard was able to describe the way wine aficionados want it described.
“2013 Miller Ranch Sauvignon Blanc vines are rooted in a special site between Hopper Creek and the Napa River. Blessed with deep soil, Miller Ranch is also in a climate sweet spot: cool enough in the morning to give the wine refreshing aromas of grapefruit, lime and tangerine; warm enough in the afternoon to give the wine a smooth silky texture and a juicy finish.”
We had the 2015 varietal. I don’t remember what she said about the Sangiovese. Other vineyards represented included Dry Creek, Cline, Mumm, and others. I met some great strangers. And even though, I couldn’t speak with wine-lovers the way they were accustomed to be spoken to, I held my own. There’s something to be said for being excited about the wine you’re drinking, even if you don’t know much about it.
After the event, we walked into a suite to take pictures of the ballpark and mingle with some of the guests. Before long, we had made our way to our seats at the View Reserve section in the upper deck. I was expecting it to be frigid, but it turned out to be extremely pleasant. Along the third base line, we had perfect views of the entire ballpark and the drama unfolding upon it, the Bay Bridge to our left, the iconic Coca-Cola bottle and old-school ballplayers’ mitt, the giant scoreboard and viewing screen, and of McCovey Cove as the skies darkened. Fenway and Wrigley will always be my two favourites, but among the “new” ballparks, AT&T (though in my mind, it’s still PacBell) along with Camden Yards, sits right up there in my top five.
We had a good time with the other wine pourers. During the seventh inning stretch, we sang along to Journey.
“When the lights go down in the City
And the sun shines on the bay
I want to be there in my City
So you think you’re lonely
Well my friend I’m lonely too
I want to get back to my City by the bay
It’s sad, oh there’s been mornings out on the road without you,
Without your charms,
Ooh, my, my, my”
What’s been the best thing about this eve? Besides spending time with friends, it was the seagulls. The seagulls?? They fly over the ballpark like they own it. And quite frankly, I don’t mind one bit. They fly. We watch. And the Giants win. 6-2. First place. Best record in baseball. C’mon Cubbies!!!
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ALWAYS BE EPIC.