MUSINGLY By Karen D'Or

Writing Portfolio, Travel Stories & Other Diversions

Tag: baseball

ATT Park, San Francisco, California

Five Ways to Cope with (Baseball) Loss

 

ATT Park, San Francisco, California

The World Champion San Francisco Giants are resoundingly un-championlike this year, so the foray from Sonoma County to the stunning ATT Ball Park, in San Francisco’s China Basin, can feel onerous. Call me unsportsmanlike, but it is true: the trek from the North Bay (either via auto or the ballpark Ferry) seems a breeze when our guys of summer are on a winning streak, but can drag on like a six extra unproductive innings when they are losing!

So here are my hints on how to get through these tough times:

1.    Stay overnight in a luxury hotel, particularly for night games. Nothing takes the sting out of a stunning defeat than an easy walk from ATT Park to a 4-star hotel. If you are feeling particularly frugal, pick up a nice screw-top red wine from one of those ubiquitous liquor store’s with flickering fluorescent lights — and partake in hotel glasses alongside munchies Milano cookies and sweet potato chips. If you are feeling more generous, belly up to the bar at a high-end watering hole, order a fancy cocktail (or hot brandy if it is one of those SF summer evenings!) and note the number of people around you in SF Giants gear or hipster costumes.

2.    Skip the ballpark fare and treat yourself to a nice dinner before, or after, the game.  My two new favorites dining spots near the park are Marlowe right across from the Cal-Train station on Townsend near 4th street and Zaré at the Fly Trap on Folsom near Second Street. If you need a beverage, and you don’t want to fight the brew pub crowds close to the park, head up to First Street (between Market & Mission) and belly up to 83 Proof’s fine bar.

83 Proof's Fine Bar

83 Proof’s Fine Bar

3.   Don’t let the turkeys get you down. Losing at home is even harder when an arrogant Pittsburg Pirate fan (who claims to be a Giants fan) sits behind you and yells well, like an umpire, for each and every “Buccies” run. I’ve sat next to nicer LA Dodgers fans, frankly, but you cannot let opposing fans get you down, even when they tell you to change seats after a couple of scowls. Really?

4.   Take plenty of photos. Win or lose, we all know it is one of the most beautiful ballparks in the world. Always good to catch loved ones wearing more than one hat!

Loved one in two hats

Loved one in two hats

5.  Sing. As you head home after a losing game, try NOT to listen to the post-game wrap-up show on the radio. It is always tempting to over-analyze weaknesses, and commiserate with others, but better for the soul to pop in some tunes and sing your way home— there will always be another game, and another season!

 

SF Giants Game

Giant Women

SF Giants Game

Summer Day at ATT Park

This summer, the World Champion San Francisco Giants struggle to make contact — the mercurial, tiny white balls fly just inches beyond the reach of their shiny bats and handsome gloves. The players’ awkward near-misses along with straining strike-outs are so hard to watch; each painful blunder seems made in slow motion. How difficult it must be to flounder as a team after the miraculous wins of just last fall? And for Bay Area baseball fans, who are perhaps over-educated and have paid too much for tickets, the 2013 season is disheartening.

So, as the players take their All-Star break, I offer tribute to a few of the Giant women in my life: women who love the game, adore these ball stars, and are making the world a better place.

Mimi

I often go to games with my dear stepdaughter, Mimi, a loyal and knowledgeable Giants fan who often teases me when I miss a play, forget a name or follow the wrong Hector Sanchez on Twitter. Mimi teaches critical living skills to students with moderate-to-severe disabilities at a very large high school, on the east side of the Bay. Some of her students are autistic, one has cerebral palsy, and most suffer from cognitive impairment. Mimi tells me that none of them will graduate with a traditional high school diploma. So each school day she teaches them the things I take for granted: cooking, counting change or elementary grade reading comprehension.

Linda

I met Linda early in 2008 and she helped inspire me to volunteer for Obama’s campaign. I went from California to Texas, where I campaigned for four days with Linda and her crew of young San Franciscans. With her warm wit, great organizing skills, and unfailing energy, she motivated me to knock on doors all around Corpus Christi. Over the years I campaigned with many others, but it was never quite as magical as those early days with Linda as our volunteer leader. Later, she became a policy analyst for a statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, and now she is Policy Director for Young Invincibles, a new national non-profit that ensures 18- to 34 year-olds perspectives are heard wherever decisions about their collective futures are being made. Linda and I do not see each other much, but we recently shared a winning game  — and campaign memories ­— sitting high up in a boisterous ballpark, the vast green field below us on a warm June day.

Robyn

My daughter, Robyn, relocated to New Orleans two years ago. In Riverbend’s dive-y bars, she now watches Giants games surrounded by Louisiana-folk who have no major league team, and often cheer for the Atlanta Braves. Who can stand the Braves’ horrible, faux-chanting sound, a singsong irritant that bounces around my living room until I want to throw something at the TV? I digress. Robyn has found her home in the Big Easy, with an energetic group of caring new friends, she has created life that includes half-marathons with Mimosa rest-stops, walks to the Sno-Ball shop, and rides into the Quarter on the green streetcar line. With her resilience and creativity, she teaches in the Orleans Parish schools, guiding young  students to read, write and love education.

As Robyn struggled with career changes earlier this year, I wrote her a support poem. Now I offer it to all those who may be struggling —and particularly to the San Francisco Giants:

Giants Prayer

Pray for the calm savvy of Bruce Bochy.

Pray for the steady skillfulness of Matt Cain.

Pray for the youthful vigor of Buster Posey.

Pray for the exuberant joy of Pablo Sandoval.

Pray for the humble accuracy of Marco Scutaro.

Pray for the high altitude of Brandon Belt.

Pray for the sexy showmanship of Angel Pagan.

Pray for the clear vision of Gregor Blanco.

Pray for the hustle and goofiness of Hunter Pence.

Pray for the pure magician-ship of Sergio Romo.

Pray that as you “play ball” with your inner team you find the grit and guts to come back after defeat. Together, you’re giant.

Karen D’Or, July 2013 

 

 

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