Sunday, August 19, 2012

Game 12: California Dreamin'

Nationals 6, Giants 4

After leaving Denver at 3am and braving the 20-hour drive through Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California before arriving in San Jose, California the night before the Giants game in San Francisco, we could not have been more excited. Making it to the West Coast marked the one-third mark in our trip and the completion of nearly 5,000 total miles driven, but more importantly, it meant we were about to experience the odds-on favorite for best game of the trip.

The major league-leading Washington Nationals were in town to face the Giants, who entered the game tied for first place in the NL West. What's more, the pitching matchup featured former Cy Young-winner and amateur contortionist Tim Lincecum and perhaps the most electric pitcher in baseball today, fireballer Stephen Strasburg. Moreover, at AT&T Park we were treated to so much more than just a marquee matchup between first-place teams; we were also given a guided tour of the stadium, scoreboard room, broadcast room, pre-game field access, and club-level seating.

Thanks to the generosity of Damon's uncle, the Project Executive for the construction of the Giants' stadium, and of the Giants organization, we had what was undeniably the highlight of our trip thus far. In many ways, the photos speak for themselves. As with most of this trip however, there are so many intangible features that a still frame can never capture: the openness and genuine interest from Giants fans and employees alike; the sense of vindication and accomplishment we got from seeing the palm trees the sprouted up from behind the Coca-Cola bottle/slide in left field, a sure sign that we had finally arrived on the West Coast, after driving through countless miles of corn fields, mountains, and desert; and the omnipresent (and perfectly-struck) balance between history and modernity that permeated throughout the ballpark.

We were able to see the Giants' 2010 World Series Trophy, feel a Barry Bonds game-used bat, and examine memorabilia from both Matt Cain's recent perfect game and Willie Mays' heyday when the Giants first moved to San Francisco from the Polo Grounds in New York.

Shrine to Matt Cain's perfecto
Old game-used bats

12 down, 18 to go; wearing our brand-new T-shirts
To top off the whole experience, Damon's family even designed "30 in 38 Project" T-shirts, which not only looked amazing, but also provoked a record number of conversations with other fans and members of the Giants' staff. As soon as we do our next laundry cycle, we have made it a priority to make sure that at least one of us is wearing the shirt for each game. 

Games Watched: 12
Games to go: 18
Stadium: A; the Giants handled every feature of the ballpark beautifully. The giant glove in right field was an excellent feature, and even the Coca-Cola bottle/slide next to it provided both a unique ballpark feature and entertainment for smaller children without blocking too much of the view of the San Francisco Bay marina or being too much of a distraction

Atmosphere: A-;
Concessions: A;
Tim Kurkjian Award: as
Miles traveled: 5,110
Miles to next stop: 810 (Twins @ Mariners, 7:05 on 8/17)

Click "Read More" for more photos (you really don't want to miss these!)

On the field behind home plate

Inside the front office
Just outside the Giants locker
Control room; one of many
Add caption

Giants of the past

Slides inside the Coca-Cola bottle

The marina beyond the left-field wall

Getting advise of what to see at AT&T

Takeoff to the Club-level seating

One of many cartoons the adorned the walls

Inside the scoreboard room

Barry Bonds bobblehead; one of maybe three Bonds-related items we saw
(including Barry Bonds himself, who attended the game)

Brian Wilson garden gnome

Game-used bases

The Trophy

AT&T Park in the best in baseball at diverting waste from landfill

Damon and Anna's tickets

Craig's ticket

Power couple

Tim Lincecum

"The Freak"

Bryce Harper

Stephen Strasburg

Buster Posey

Counter for balls hit into McCovey Cove


Damon spreads the 30 in 38 message, but fails to appear on the center field scoreboard

Garlic fries, and AT&T Park favorite
And we watched the last three outs live on Owen's iPhone app

Panorama of the ballpark

Quotation from "Field of Dreams," which we visiting just two days earlier

Outside the park with Kara, our amazing guide who works in the Giants' marketing dept.


  1. This looks amazing... really cool behind the scenes stuff. AT&T is one of my favorite park that I've been to. Plus, ridiculous pitching match-up. Bummer you guys just missed Melky! (and the perfect game... without a doubt the best pitching performance I've ever seen)