I’ve been loading up on baseball the past 2 weeks. After the last regular season game on Sunday, the Post Season starts with one more game in Pittsburgh. If the baseball gods look favorably on the Giants, we’ll be back in our seats on October 6th and 7th, depending on how the series with Washington goes. But there’s no guarantee.
So very soon, the long season of No Baseball will start. It’s one thing to be without the game and players we love, but there’s much more involved when the season ends. This weekend is a lot like the last day of a long, intense school year where there are good-byes, promises to keep in touch, reliving the memories of the season, and the thoughts of what to do now with all that freed-up time . . . being a fan can be terribly time consuming, but in a good way. Eventually, though, you have to do your laundry.
The 2014 season has been a good one for the peripherals that go along with what’s happening on the field. Being a season ticket holder, I’m usually surrounded by the same cast of characters at games, and those other fans have become friends. We keep in touch even when we’re not at the park. We’ve talked about families, health, work, vacations, hopes and dreams. We’ve shared tips on food, where to go around the park for fun activities, and other important issues. And of course, we’ve discussed baseball – not only the Giants – from just about every angle imaginable. Every time I go to a game it’s like going to my second home, knowing that I’ll have needed support in weathering the inevitable ups and downs of a 162-game season.
This year, I’ve added having breakfast with Marty Lurie on the Public House Patio before weekend games. We can’t always hear what he’s saying but he always interviews well-known baseball people, which is fun for us fans. My friend Julia got to pat both Mike Krukow and Willie Mays on the back as they passed through the patio, and I shook JT Snow’s hand while telling him ‘hello’ for my neighbor who knows him.
Mostly, though, I’ve gained a whole new group of friends, the Patio People, who enjoy hanging out with Marty as he does his pre-game show. It’s usually hard to find a seat, so my technique is to find an empty couple of chairs and ask if I can sit there. ‘You don’t even have to talk to us,’ I tell people, but invariably, we end up finding something in common to share besides baseball. After talking to one couple for about an hour, we discovered that they were old friends of my cousin Frank, and I passed on his phone number so they could reconnect. Mike and Barbara are usually there on Sundays, and will make room at their table if I show up with a friend. This weekend, I met Jerry and Carol from Turlock, and look forward to seeing them again next year. And there’s always Billie, the president of Marty’s fan club, who is good for a smile.
In addition to fellow fans, I’ve gotten to know ushers, concession stand workers, people at the elevators and escalators, and many more. Saying ‘farewell’ to them at the end of the season is always hard, because I never know who will be back, and we’ve all become a part of each other’s lives. To paraphrase Hunter Pence in his now-famous speech of 2012, “I want one more game with all my Giants friends.” Hopefully the post season will go on a little longer. If not, I’ll really start missing the baseball experience around the end of November and it just gets worse until a few weeks before Spring Training in February.
It’s been said that the Giants organization isn’t just a franchise, it’s a family. For those of us who are part of that family, we agree whole-heartedly.