Yesterday, family and friends from different areas of my life were brought together, through our plans -- and through baseball!
We dropped the dogs at the daycare place in the late morning, then headed back to the BART station. (I noticed that regular parking is $3.00, which means the reservation service is double the normal cost.) We took the BART to the Muni Metro.
From the train I saw many homes in Oakland with memorial murals for victims of police shootings, painted in ways that would be visible from the train.
There were a few people on the BART who might have been going to the game, but the Muni was a full-on game-train -- families and groups of friends in jerseys and hats. Allan and I have been on many such trains in many cities. I was a little choked up with nostalgia, and joy that this is happening again.
In the ballpark, as we walked to our seats in a packed crowd, the large majority of people were not wearing masks. I was amazed (although I shouldn't be -- people have very short memories). We kept ours on until we were outside at our seats. Even then I felt a little weird taking mine off, but I did. Later, when I went inside for food, I put my mask on and noticed some other people doing the same. The concession workers were all masked, thank goodness.
At the game: niece C (my sister's daughter) and spouse J, there on vacation; nephew J (my brother's son) and spouse C, who live in the Bay Area; A, my very dear friend who I have known since 1983, and her spouse M, my first time meeting M; D, my friend who I know from blogging; and Allan and me. A, M, and D all live in the Los Angeles area, and used this game and my trip as an excuse for a trip to San Francisco.
My friend A is mentioned several times in this blog, likely from before we moved to Canada, and again when visited her in Southern California, on two separate trips. A few lifetimes ago, she and I used to go to Yankees games together, when we all lived in New York City, with a different group of people, all of whom are still in touch and close with each other in different ways. We haven't seen each other in many years, and -- true to our history -- half-watched the game while gabbing.
Allan, of course, does no such thing, although he manages to score every pitch while still being somewhat social. Allan and D, who is a big Dodgers fan, watched the game together, which was cool, and the cousins sat together. We purposely got seats in two rows, rather than nine seats stretched out in one row. Successful party planning!
This was our third visit to this ballpark (2003, 2010, 2021). We've also seen a game in Candlestick Park, where the Giants used to play (1988) and at least one game in Oakland (2003). (Did we see two games in Oakland on our 2003 West Coast roadtrip? Allan will know.)
The Giants play in a beautiful park, which at this point should be called Your Corporate Name Here Ballpark. For the three games we've seen there, the park has had three different names. The ballpark is beautiful. The revolving door of "naming rights" is a disgrace.
The Giants wiped the floor with the Dodgers, winning 5-0. One minor disappointment: we didn't get to see former Red Sox hero Mookie Betts, who is injured.
After the game, A and M took off (we will see them today), and the rest of us walked further away from the ballpark, so we could find a place not mobbed with post-game partying. We found a cafe, a local chain, got iced drinks and took over a corner. At the game, we had been in the sun the entire time -- slathered with sunscreen and most of us wearing caps, but still hot and thirsty. It was great to hang out together without the game, too.
There's something else about this coffee chain. Allan will guest-post. (Suspense!)
Outside, we said goodbye to niece C and spouse J, who we won't see again on this trip. It was so wonderful to intersect with them. I love all my niece and nephews so much.
Then Allan and I walked with nephew J and spouse C to their car, through an area of San Francisco we don't really know, along the canal. They drove us back to our car at the BART station, which is on their way home. We'll see them again on this trip, too.
Then we picked up two very happy dogs, stopped at Whole Foods for food for dinner, and hung out in the cottage. I thought we'd be hitting good restaurants for dinner every day on this trip, but after a full day at doggie daycare, it's better for Cookie and Kai to snuggle in at home. It's a little disappointing, given the limited restaurant options in the remote area we live in, but the dogs come first. (Yes, Cookie and Kai, that's how much we love you!) We've also been tired from long days out and about, so staying at home is also a chance to rest and recoop.
We've been away for a week and still have a week of vacation in front of us. Most people I know don't take two continuous weeks of vacation, but I wish more people would. It's very different from a one-week vacation; you get into a different mindset, where the concerns of work and home feel very far away. I am proud to say I have not checked work email once the entire time we've been gone!