SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 19: Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants has no idea what this post is about. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
In a game that had a little bit of everything except home runs and errors what most stood out was how completely forgettable it nearly was. It was every Giants-Athletics game ever rolled into one, really, and the Giants both continued their experimentation with patience and resumed their devotion to being hacks. And yet, it was a remarkable game in that it certainly *felt* different from previous games where the Giants stacked the deck in their favor only to change strategy and do a 52-card shuffle. It felt so different, in fact, that it required a style change to recap it:
The warm morning and discussions of Disneyland hinted at the beginning of summer. The family rode to the BART station around 11:30am in order to make the game on time. There were five in all, and youngest, Aidan, rode in the back of the Envoy, nervous with excitement. This was the first time he had been deemed old enough to go with his father, mother, and two brothers to see the Giants at AT&T Park. It was the twelfth year of the park’s existence, and the seventh year of Aidan’s.
The Giants had won three of their last five games. Jeremy thought it was because of a new approach at the plate, so many walks had they drawn in that span. It made Aidan’s skin crawl to think of it. He remembered the pizza parlor tales Old Grandpappy told them. Walks cheated the game, he said, and were a sign of cowardice. The man with the bat should never be timid. Walkers consorted with einsteins and fools, stole pitcher’s pitches, and drank blood from polished horns. And their batboys lay their bats without care to reinforce the terrible idea that hits don’t matter.
But the team they saw drawing walks early and scoring runs late in the game at AT&T Park had many hits, as they often did. The pitcher, Ryan Vogelsong, also did what Giants’ pitchers often did, and silenced the bats of the opposition, the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics had but one hit, which was soon lost to a double play. They dressed in grey, green, and gold, the same as a lunatic.
The breath of man and garlic mingled, steaming, in the afternoon sun as his father argued about the team with rotund fellow sitting nearby. Jeremy and Bentley sat tall and still in their seats, with Aidan between them on top of their jackets, trying to seem older than seven, trying to pretend that he’d seen all this before. A faint wind blew through the stadium. Over their heads flapped the banner of his favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants: a baseball with the words San Francisco Giants written across it.
Aidan’s father gestured aggressively from his seat at the rotund fellow about the value of a left-handed reliever. His unkempt beard was decorated with food crumbs, making him look more slovenly than mother often accused him of being. He had bloodshot eyes from drink, and he seemed not at all the man who would sit before the television in the evening and pay no mind to him, his brothers, and his mother. He had taken off Father’s face, Aidan thought, and donned the face of an angry Giants fan who thinks Carlos Beltran is overrated and is glad the Giants kept Javier Lopez.
There were dollar figures raised and advanced sabermetric concepts explained in the heat of the midday, but afterward Aidan could not recall much of what had been argued. Finally his angry father gave a command, and an AT&T Park usher approached him and asked them to kindly stop making a scene. The rotund fellow felt he was being singled out for wearing an A’s hat, and insisted that he was minding his own business when father tagged him on the shoulder. Father scoffed and removed his wallet from his cargo shorts. He produced from it a pin. "Croix de Candlestick," that pin was called. It was as wide across as a chicken piece in a Cha Cha Bowl, and older than even his mother. The emblem was a snow-capped "SF" with "Veni * Vidi* Vixi*" written beneath it, Latin-forged and orange as mother’s tan. Nothing showed devotion like a Croix de Candlestick.
His father thrust the pin in the usher’s face, insisting it proof that he is a reasonable man. He took hold of the Croix de Candlestick with both hands and said, "I swear to Christ, on my mom’s grave and dad’s ashes, the lives of my wife and children, the deed to our house, and everything holy, that guy is an asshole and I haven’t done shit to him. Now, who do you want to believe?" He flashed the smile that often made mother more upset with him after he tried to apologize for hurting her feelings.
Aidan’s bastard brother Bentley moved closer. "Keep the nachos well in hand," he whispered. "And don’t move them far away. Father will know if you do."
Aidan kept his father’s nachos well in hand, and did not look away.
The usher warned them both that another complaint would lead to their dismissal from the stadium. His father grunted and dropped his mass back in his plastic seat. He grabbed for his nachos without looking and knocked them to the ground. Aidan could not take his eyes off the guacamole. The concrete under his shoe drank it eagerly, dampening as he watched.
"You did well," Bentley told him solemnly. Bentley was fourteen, an old hand at devotion.