Putting this behind a cut because I intend to ramble and write too much.
I took off an hour early from work, almost - 5:10 pm - and drove home to get a jacket (though it was 90° in Santa Clara when I left work, China Basin can get chilly at night), change into a Giant's T-shirt and cap, and grab my camera and an extra battery. Drove to Mountain View CalTrain and wasted 5 minutes looking for a spot in their completely full lot, ended up parking two blocks away in a one of MV's many free parking lots. That delay and stupid people who can't figure out how to use a simple ticket machine had me on the platform waiting to buy a ticket while the 5:58 express train I was planning to ride was at the station. I didn't make it.
Got the 6:03 local fan train, which got me to SF about 12 minutes late at 7:15 (the earlier express would have arrived at 6:44) and from there I hoofed it about 6 blocks to StubHub's offices which they list as being 101 South Park Street, but the entrance is around the corner - I missed the darkened 101 entrance and wasted some time and walking by crossing the street to see if maybe it was the brightly lit, but closed and empty 100 S. Park St. Which is when I spotted the side entrance I'd missed the first time.
StubHub folks were friendly and efficient, showed my email print-out & ID and got my ticket for seat 21 row 24 section 138 left field bleachers and hiked 4 blocks to the park - CalTrain is on the opposite side of the field from the outfield seats. Lots of ramp to walk up, and I was pretty dehydrated and hungry from my brisk walk, but by now it was 7:35 and the game was already at the top of the 2nd inning, with the Padres one run into what was to be a 6-run rally, so I didn't stop for food or water. And didn't leave my seat for the whole game - didn't want to miss the show by waiting in lines.
The place was packed, lots of SRO tickets had been sold, and with the main attraction not due at bat for another inning, people were crowding the concourses for food & beer. And beer. And beer.
I plowed through the crowd and found a nice staff person (there weren't many around) to ask where my seat would be. Turns out I was only two sections away. The row numbers are cleverly hidden - if someone is sitting in the end seat you can't see the number while you're in the aisle, so I had to ask. Found my seat with someone already in it, but no worries, it was a couple who were two seats closer to the aisle than their tickets, and they just scooted over. It was a great seat for Bonds watching, in the official Barry area directly behind his station in left field. As a game seat it's crap, way too far from the diamond to see anything well, which accounts for the $17 face value on the season ticket ($18 retail, $33 for premier games, which this turned out to be). Only one other
sucker fan had shelled out the $90 out of the four seats available, so we were able to spread out a bit. Made it comfortable for picture taking and ogling eye candy,
of which there was lots.
Between each inning the reader board showed highlights of Barry's career, but I think they hijacked the instant replay equipment to do that, because there were no replays during the game - a couple of questionable calls and a few great plays did not get the second look they deserved.
I missed Bond's first at-bat, I hear he grounded out. His second time up, he got just enough of the ball to slice it lamely down the first base line, an easy out for the Padres. His final at-bat in the 6th looked like it might be going out of the park, but there's more AT&T park than most places, the ball was fielded in front of the warning track in dead center field.
Bonds got to do some fielding, especially in the 2nd inning when Padres went through most if not all of their batting order, putting six players across home plate. Center fielder Dave Roberts let Bonds do a little more fielding in his territory than usual,
with mixed results. The first fly out to left center Bonds caught, but muffed the throw to the infield. Another one Bonds fell down reaching for a grounder,
and should have been charged with an error. He also missed a fly to the left field corner - blame his toe injury for both of those, and probably for his poor batting.
There was a brief bit of excitement when a rather cute blonde woman ran onto the field, trying to get close to Bonds.
Field crew and police kept her from her goal, and Barry just stood there while they rounded her up. Most of the bleacher crowd had no interest in the game, were paying attention to Bonds when he was on the field, but the rest of the time they were partying, posing, and rudely booing Padres fans (even more rude when a Giant is at bat) and in four or five instances, starting fights. The two cops assigned to the left field bleachers had a very busy night, which got a lot busier after Bonds left the game. The man on my right is a real fan, season ticket holder, and the only one in the section who kept yelling encouragement to the team throughout the game. He was pretty disgusted with the party crowd, and during one of the fights yelled "Hey, this is San Francisco, not Oakland". A huge number of fans were in brand new #25 jerseys, and probably had not been to a game since the home run record was broken. I doubt if there will be many fans in that section next year. Without Bonds, those are lousy seats.
After inning 6, there was a lot of turnover in the seats around me - people from nosebleed sections would park themselves and their food & beer anywhere there was an empty seat, and leave when they were done eating. Some folks just came so they could say they sat in the Bonds cheering section. And some came to get a photo of the big 25 painted on the field
where Barry stands. #14 Fred Lewis and #57 Eugenio Velez were standing there instead. There was a brief bottom of the 9th rally which scored one last run for the home team, but in the end it was 11-3 for San Diego. By now (10 pm) about 1/3 of the fans had left, with another 1/3 on its way out. I stuck around for the video tribute, having been told by one of the crew who was handing out orange "Barry We Will Miss You/Thanks for 15 seasons" flyers
that Bonds would come out after the game to talk to the fans. The rest of the team came out, along with some crew, and threw autographed balls into the stands (some of those guys have terrific arms and launched balls into the upper decks) but the balls were autographed by other players, and Bonds never came out.
I strolled to CalTrain, expecting the next train was at 11, but forgot about the fan trains, so when I got there at 10:25 there was a train almost ready to pull out. It was packed, but not completely full - lots of drunk fans jammed the areas in front of the doors, I had to push through them to get upstairs where there were plenty of seats in the rear-facing section. People were still standing there when I got out in Mountain View. The drunk sitting in front of me spent about 15 minutes trying to convince me that 9/11 was a plot by the Bush Administration, and the twin towers and all the buildings in the trade center had been rigged with explosives beforehand by demolition implosion experts. I told him Bush was a very smart guy acting the part of a stupid Texan so he wouldn't get assassinated. Drunk guy enthusiastically bought into that theory, as well as the one that Clinton's real accent is British (he learned it in his year at Cambridge) and he only does the Southern Charm bit to get women. Thankfully, drunk guy's stop was early in the trip. After Milbrae I went downstairs, pushed through the bodies and crossed to the facing-front seats, where I was able to read some Cordelia's Honor. I get car sick if I try to read facing backwards.
Made a cash stop at B of A and did some shopping at Safeway on the way home. Downloaded the pix to the PC then started the upload to Flickr and went to bed.
Oh yeah - turns out I didn't need the jacket after all. It was in the mid-70's all through the game, and was still about 68° when I got home. Glad I picked up the camera, though, because my standby snapshot camera (I keep it in the car) would not have hacked it.
The full set of photos can be found here.