Big Giants!

While it wasn’t as long since I went to a San José game, it’s been way too long since I’ve been to any Major League game. The last time I had tickets was 2020 and that didn’t turn out well. We’d had hopes of getting to a Giants game this summer though* and, thanks to the recent swoon, I was able to find tickets for super cheap. This would be the first game I went to with both boys since I’d previously only taken one at a time in 2018 and 2019 for their own personal first game experiences.

*Also want to get to an A’s game but for the life of me I cannot figure out why upper deck tickets for the A’s are so expensive. $30 for field level. $30 for upper deck. Makes no sense to me at all. 

I didn’t take many photos. Not a first and I didn’t want to make as big deal of it. Plus we’re all wearing masks on the train* and in crowds so the photos aren’t as nice. We got to the stadium early enough to walk around a little bit, see the World Series trophies, and hit the Coca Cola slides (not as exciting as they remembered) but didn’t do the full slow circuit either. While I don’t want the stadium experience to become routine, not every visit needs to be treated the same as a first visit.

*Amusingly this was both boys’ first train ride since 2019. Usually we train to Newark Airport but this year got caught up in a wildcat strike. They’d forgotten what it was like to ride a train. 

Thanks to Trenton being awesome and providing free programs and scorecards at every game, the boys have become accustomed always acquiring a scorecard and keeping score. Much to my surprise when I hit the Giants souvenir stand, I discovered that the Giants no longer make either scorecards or programs.

I understand that they may not be big sellers anymore but not having anything available just feels wrong. Buying a scorecard and keeping score is one of those old-school baseball traditions and it’s really rough, especially in this day and age of no ticket stubs, to have no scorecards available either as a handy binderable souvenir.

As unimpressed as I was by this, at least the Guest Services desk was offering free copies of the scorecard printouts that they provide for the press. These are actually pretty nice except for the fact that they’re legal sized pieces of paper that you can’t write on unless you have a desk. Thankfully I had a notebook and folder in my bag that were hard enough to write on.

We made it to our seats in time for lineups and the national anthem. Same spot I grew up with up high and behind the plate. Things felt more like the Giants games I used to attend up there with a much looser crowd that thinned out even more as you moved away from the plate

My eldest has turned into a pretty observant fan and is noticing things that have changed since his last visit and how the teams are arrayed on the field. My youngest was sick to his stomach because he was worried the Giants would lose again and that he was bringing them bad luck. He was however into the game even, as with his first game, though he couldn’t keep up with the scorecard because he was sort of overwhelmed.

Turns out that he shouldn’t have been too concerned. Alex Cobb settled down after a rough first inning and somehow got through 6 innings in under 100 pitches while only allowing one run. The team got some clutch hitting, drove in runners in scoring position, and both took the lead early and never let Arizona get back into things.

Was nice to see Madison Bumgarner pitch* even though it does hurt a little to see him get jumped on. But it’s cool to be able to give him a proper ovation as thanks. He’ll always be welcome in San Francisco.

*My youngest wore a Bumgarner shirsey even though he knew he was starting for Arizona.

Lots of excitement with Longoria’s home run being the first Giants home run either of them has seen live. And with Joey Bart first laying down a perfect bunt then smacking the absolute tar out of the ball with a double that went off the top of the arcade and a single off the left field wall. Either ball is slightly higher and Bart has two home runs including a splash hit from a right-hander.

My youngest wasn’t comfortable until the last out was recorded though. Then it was big smiles as we walked out and I realized how serious he had been taking things. Hopefully now that he knows he isn’t bad luck he’ll be able to relax more. Either that or we just have to go to more games next summer.

Because we have to rush to catch the train—Caltrain only gives us 15 minutes after the game ends to get to the station—we finished up our scorecards on the ride home. Not a bad way to do things and wrap up the night. Has been a while since I kept score on a nicely laid out scorecard too. My only complaints are that four lines for pitchers makes zero sense in the modern game and it would be nice to have substitute lines for all the players too.

Other than that this got me thinking seriously about designing my own scorecards and getting them printed. Will be good to not have to rely on them being available at the stadium as well as have a layout that doesn’t suck.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

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