Sunday, August 19, 2012

SF Giants Road Trip to San Diego (2012)

(August 18-19, 2012)

Just as an aside its about a year since we subscribed to a newspaper.  My wife misses the ads.  I miss that I have nothing to start the BBQ coals with.

When getting the newspaper it was strange reading the news on the web 2 days before seeing it in the paper--though as my friend Gary says with a newspaper you'd read stories in the paper that wouldn't open to read on the web.  I bookmarked the comics I want to read every day--though the deadline for the next days strip varies for each.  The only thing I really miss is the baseball box scores all in one place--where I can A.D.D. around the page checking on certain players that pop in my mind.   Opening up each box score, game by game, ain't the same.

A real box score--quickly--what did "The More Deserving*" David Wright do??
(*as nicknamed by New York media when he didn't start the all-star game--the fans rather see THE PANDA!)
Sometimes it ain't the same from minute to minute.  Last Monday, in anticipation for a cycling weekend around Mt. Lassen at Dr. Dave's hideaway, I went (for the first time) to Bev Mo to select a 6-pack.  A sacred process as I hadn't had a beer this year and two years ago the first time I had beer for the year was also at Dr. Dave's cabin.   After studying and spending more time making my choice for beer than primary candidates, I came away with 'Mendocino 8 Ball Stout.'   When I got home and checked my email first one from Dave indicating weekend cancelled--wildfires all around Lake Almanor.   Fuck.

On Tuesday after the usual Mt Diablo after work training ride, came home and caught the Giants with the Panda back off the disabled list.  So now after some good table setters batting 3rd-Milkman Melky Cabrera (.346), 4th-Buster Posey (.331), 5th-Pablo Sandoval (.295), 6th-newly acquired Hunter Pence .(.260)--I'm jazzed, this is the best middle of the lineup the Giants have had since Kent-Bonds.  Things change from minute to minute.  Next day Cabrera suspended for 50 games for failing a drug test.  Fuck.

Editorial note--I don't care that Bonds was taking an illegal substance--basically he was just carrying on an ignored baseball tradition of taking performance enhancing drugs and the owners encouraged this, looking the other way,  after the strike season alienated the fans.  But with the resulting backlash and a firm drug suspension policy in place, what the hell was Melky thinking??  (Seemed strange that Kansas City traded a guy with 200 hits in a season for a mediocre pitcher--wonder if their management knew something was up???)   Luckily the Giants didn't sign him to a 5 year 15 million per year before this revelation.  Now I have to put up with the aforementioned Gary emailing how he had told me Melky sucked in New York.

With all this going on my West Hollywood baby daughter started emailing that I should take her to the Giants games in San Diego for the weekend.  Good idea--I already had Friday off for the cancelled bike trip.   San Diego's downtown stadium is a nice venue, the ushers and other stadium folks are, BY FAR, the friendliest of any stadium I've been to, and lately there have been as many Giants fans making the trip to the stadium as Padre fans.    Mrs. Pumpkin had never seen San Diego and decided to go also, so at the last minute bought tickets for Friday and Saturday's games.  As both games evening affairs didn't bother to get a motel to stay over in San Diego--after all ONLY a 2 1/2 drive from Los Angeles per Mapquest--and I never had a problem zipping down there.  But I got payback karma from once telling Mrs Pumpkin as we were leaving a Dodger game--that the Padres were only an hour away and we could catch that game that night.  (Which we did and where I then caught my first baseball.)

With Donnie by Tony Gwynn statue

With Jessie--obviously not in the Bay Area re the clothes we can wear to a night game
Good photo of the family by Tony Gwynn statue.
So, we learned on this trip that:

-Maybe because traveling Giants fans have grown in number--but the ticket deals on StubHub are nonexistent.  Variable pricing from the Padres had these tickets costing almost twice as much as the midweek Pirates games.  Last time I used StubHub I could get tickets at 80% face value and with parking thrown in--now, with 38,000 & 32,000 in attendance for the two days ticket prices were no bargains for good seats.

-THERE IS ALMOST ALWAYS HEAVY TRAFFIC IN LOS ANGELES.  After picking up my daughter in late afternoon but well before the "rush hour"--the 2 1/2 hour trip to San Diego took a miserable 4 hours in stop and stop traffic.  The segregated car pool lanes were a parking lot--the places where the highway had 7 lanes were a parking lot.   We made it for the 2nd inning.  (When the game ended at 11pm I was able to make it back to Los Angeles in 2 hours)

Last photo with Jessie at Petco park before looooooong traffic heavy drive back to Los Angeles--freeway even crowded at 10pm
OK, next day is Saturday so it can't be nearly as bad as we left late morning for San Diego.  We only left real early as we wanted to walk around the Gaslamp district.  So..............4 1/2 hours later we were in San Diego.    Luckily we had time enough to eat at a good sports bar/ restaurant--the BarleyMash, which was cheaper (and better) than the "emergency" ballpark food the night before.

This guy who might have been a Padre employee ignoring the baseball game so we can start the wave.

Fireworks after the game--the Western Supply Building (not a real building anymore--ballpark seating put in the shell of the building) lit up
 Giants won 2 games.  Padre fans nice hosts--and slightly outnumbered by those wearing orange and black.  Sometimes stadiums goes minor league (stupid promotions between innings--PAD Squad trying to start the wave), and scoreboard operator gets confused.  Thin Joaquin Arias up and at first scoreboard shows rotund Pablo Sandoval as the batter, then they realize mistake and put up traded Nate Schierholtz??)  Announcers they pipe in all over the stadium sound like any 2 senior citizens rambling on where my mom lives.  Seats we got for 2nd game right in line with the setting sun so everyone in our section looked like Johnny Carson's Carnac holding cards to their forehead for 3 innings.  But stadium personnel is very very friendly and except for two commutes from hell--had a great time.

I'm glad my daughter is doing well and likes Los Angeles--I hate it.  Ironically in the mid 1970's Los Angeles was viewed as the city of the future and New York was the cesspool.  In the last decade New York has been revitalized and Los Angeles is a nightmare with crime, and racial strife and gridlock.  City of the future with cars whizzing around freeways--where??   Apart from Monopoly's Atlantic City, there may not be any place more sleazy with a famous name than Hollywood.

***Ticket Notes***
On first level Row 25 is last row before a mini wall, then Row 26 is the first row raised about an extra 2' than usual.  Row 25 has an extra foot of leg room, as such it is used as a mini aisle during the game.  So Row 26 has an optimal view and probably at a lower price point.

On second level sit on the thirdbase side if sun is going to set during the game.  Row 13 is also last row between a larger wall than on the first deck--in fact you can stand in row 13 and not obscure the view of the person in row 14.  Here row 14 is raised 4' more than usual.  As large wall behind row 13 you broil if setting sun is hitting you.  So thirdbase side and row 14.

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