Even under the best circumstances, live attendees of a baseball game probably pay, at best, 60% of their time actually focused on the game. That’s fine and to be expected, regardless how well the home team is performing. Being outdoors is refreshing and there are plenty of other sights and sounds to take in besides the pitcher-batter matchup.
We know Oracle Park has a lot of diversions from the game itself. It has always been that way. One of the park’s qualities is how it allows people to just come right up and get a little taste of what’s going on inside. You can sail or raft right into McCovey Cove to get a bit of the experience, too. This has led to some fun stuff, like the DeLorean —
Hey look. The DeLorean is back in McCovey Cove.— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) July 15, 2018
Jet Pack Man —
and the skateboarding dog —
'The skateboarding dog in San Francisco is back, again, and is just as cool as you remembered'— LongboardsUK (@LongboardsUk) October 6, 2018
#skateboard #skateboardingdog #sanfran #funny pic.twitter.com/VFGV90q3zZ
... but yesterday, a couple of events took place that I’d never seen before. There was a weird vibe in McCovey Cove this past Saturday afternoon, and it seemed to attract a very specific but odd subset of people.
Type 1: The recklessly obstinate
In the top of the seventh inning, a pair of women floated their raft to the rocks surrounding the cove statue of Willie McCovey. Here’s the video of the full sequence (with all the baseball moments cut out):
If you can’t see the video because you’re reading this on Apple News or just didn’t want to use your data plan to stream this particular video, here’s an introductory look:
This was a determined effort. Nothing was going to stop this pair from joining their friends at the top of the rocks and underneath the McCovey statue to take a group portrait.
Why, yes, that’s exactly how this ended:
In between these two moments, the rafters dragged the raft up the rocks, which looked like a proposition just as risky as climbing the rocks did. The disregard for personal safety is one thing (jumping wet rocks in sandals!), but it doesn’t seem like the entire enterprise was thought through very much. What happened if they tore that raft? Were they renting it? Did they come from a larger boat? If not, did they take into consideration whether or not they’d able to get back to the dock to return the raft and/or not drown themselves?
The team will probably have to do something at some point to address the matter of people climbing up the rocks to get to the statue, but until that time, let’s just sit with the idea that people are going to do what they’re going to do.
Here, two people were willing to crack their heads open or risk drowning to get a group photo. But why?
Type 2: The quarter-life crisis actors
In the bottom of the seventh inning, this party boat found its way into the cove:
Obviously, the theme was “denim.” Without ripping on these people just trying to have a good time out on the water on a Saturday afternoon, let’s at least give this whole party a closer inspection with the critical eye of “young people be anxious”.
Yeah, everybody should be loose and having a good time when you’re on a boat, but themed parties on cramped boats and the big pose of sailing through McCovey Cove strongly suggests that this wasn’t some natural group of friends but instead an organized group outing and concerted effort to have fun in a cool way.
That’s fine! We’re all just trying to get by in this world. Were these co-workers? College friends? Someone’s birthday party? We’ll never know, but let’s take a look at the mix of people who nonetheless shared many traits.
Let’s start with the basics. Boat partygoer in boat captain’s hat? Check.
Might as well come to the party dressed seaworthy. Also take note of the open laptop. That’s DJ Denim with his MacBook playlist and possibly digital mixer ready to make waves on the dance floor.
Now, is the DJ a friend of the host(s) or hired by the host(s)? He looks to be about the same age as the rest of the group. The denim jacket could just be because the host(s) told the DJ they hired to wear what the theme is, but I’m not so sure about that. The guys standing around him seem to be close enough to him that there’s some familiarity.
Which brings me back to wondering what this party’s all about.
See here two of the guys starting to dance. They’re the only ones taking part at the moment — they knew what song was coming because they’re standing around the DJ getting him to play something they know will pump them up and hope will pump up the rest of the crowd.
And then there’s that guy in the upper right hand corner wearing sunglasses, standing alone and talking to no one. There are three distinct groups in this frame: the DJ table, the group of women to our right and then the group of women to the lonely man’s right.
Here’s another angle on what I just described, because I wanted to get the full effect of the dancing:
Uh, you should actually watch the whole video, because then you’ll see all three groups start dancing to the beat.
And then we get the full picture of this outing:
Chucky’s Pride is a private charter based in San Francisco. You can rent it out for all sorts of events like birthday parties, bachelor/ette parties, etc.
Kruk and Kuip thought those people standing at the bow of the ship were the “smoking section”, but upon closer inspection —
Just that one dude is smoking. Who is that dude?
He is clearly on the Chucky’s Pride payroll. That is the look of a man who’s thinking about what he’s going to do after he leaves work.
But first, a smoke.
As the boat leaves McCovey Cove, the cameras capture this last image of everyone thrusting their hands up, pumping in rhythm to whatever’s being played. Everybody is facing in the direction of the DJ, too. It all looks very odd without music.
Just who are these people? What was the outing about. I’m about to make some guesses.
Type 1: Given the time of the year, the general adventure of the activity (rafting in San Francisco Bay!) with the tinge of youthful adventure up the rocks in a way that you’re not supposed to go followed by a triumphant photo op with the park in the background and the general romance of doing things in San Francisco... I’m going to guess that these women were party of a bachelorette party weekend.
Type 2: I was thinking this was a birthday party for the woman wearing the captain’s hat, but now I’m thinking the denim theme combined with the likely high cost of hiring a charter boat to sail around San Francisco Bay with 20 passengers on board combined the strong possibility that the DJ is a part of the group and not someone hired for the event, and factoring in that there’s a roughly even split between men and women on board (yes, I counted), I don’t think this is a birthday party.
They all look a bit too young to be doing anything wedding related but not young enough to be doing something related to prom. Instead, I’m going to guess this is some sort of fraternity-sorority outing.
Now, I don’t think it’s weird for a bachelorette party of frat-sorority boat party to stop on by McCovey Cove, and we’ve certainly seen legitimately strange permutations of both types of parties sail in and out of the space before, but the denim boat party, the music-less dancing, and then the women climbing the rocks to get to the statue all combined for a weird inning.
After explaining why it stood out to me, what do you think? What kind of parties were they?