It was happenstance that I was hanging out with a good friend in from LA last Friday and he miracled myself and two other friends with tickets to the 2007 MLB All-Star Game. Being a tomboy at heart and growing up playing America’s past-time a large grin grew across my face and the golden ticket was tucked away in a safe place until the day of the big game.
Now I already loved baseball. I mean really I do. There is this whole culture that most people who don’t embrace the game just cannot grasp. Sure the game is about two teams with 9 players starting on each side. There are rules, albeit strange for some, about field errors, pinch hitting, pitchers being swapped out, stealing bases…the list is endless. Fans are there to support their team or their ‘adopted’ team. All walks of life come out to enjoy come rain or come shine. You may see a man in an elvis costume, a couple kissing on a huge video screen, someone running around with bunny ears on, a cup being passed around for the next round of overpriced beer, thousands singing during the 7th inning stretch, or even a super fan jumping from the stands to run across and embrace his/her favorite player (not recommended).
You can eat and drink anything from a hot dog to pretzels, nachos, jerk chicken bowls, crab legs, sushi, burritos, ice cream, beers, water, wine, liquor, whatever your taste buds demand. What I am getting at is that attending a baseball event is about the entire experience. The game and the teams are the nucleus and are what brings people together but the energy and excitement around it cannot be matched. In a way it creates this tiny cultural representation of America.
So now onto the 2007 All-Star game. This was the real deal. The MLB’s best and most coveted all on the field at the same time. This wasn’t my first trip to AT&T park in fact far from it but my friend Bill who I was with had never been. What a way to be introduced to the stadium I would say. My other partner in crime was Jenny who had been in a kayak the day before waiting to catch a splash landing hit from McCovey Cove.
The three of us descended on AT&T park around 4.45pm on Tuesday, July 10th. When entering the stadium and headed up the ramps the smell of hot dogs and light beer filled the air. As we began walking across the bridge towards our right center field bleacher seats we stopped in our tracks to see the introduction of both the AL and NL team rosters. Red carpets adorned the field for this was the royalty of baseball about to be introduced.
Defining Moments of the Event:
Opening Ceremonies: The San Francisco Symphony played the Canadian national anthem and Chris Isaac belted out the Star Spangled Banner. The all-star players lined up single file for all to see. They honored Willie Mays who is a legend in baseball history. He threw a ball from center field and was escorted around the field in a 50’s vintage car. The icing on the cake was when the Air Force sent 4 fighter jets performed aerial acrobats over the stadium. Those planes high overhead made the stadium explode with sound.
Obnoxious Yankee Fan: We all know one or have heard of one. Our obnoxious Yankee fan was named Tom. He was a jolly drunk and was entertaining for the entire game. Spilt beer, hot chocolate dribbling, wearing a Jeter t-shirt, telling off-color jokes, you name it he did it. You have got to love the fans that get so intoxicated before the game that they focus more on socializing than the game itself. He loved us, he hated us depending on how the wind was blowing. He even disappeared for a bit and we actually got worried that he was passed out somewhere (don’t worry he returned). In a world full of chaos, he kept us laughing for the duration of the game. Thanks Tom.
Icharo’s in Park Home Run: During the fifth-inning drive, Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners hit the ball to the right-field wall for the first inside-the-park homer in All-Star Game history. Ichiro finished the night going 3-for-3 in his 7th All-Star Game. Go MVP.
McCovey Cove: Not sure if you aware but AT&T Park is unique in that behind the right field wall and walkway is the bay. McCovey Cove to be exact. This cove is named after a San Francisco Giants player Willie McCovey. This cove is known for its splash landing hits and unique perspective to participate in the game. People paddle out in kayaks, on surf boards, in boats, pretty much anything that will float. A new concept in enjoying a baseball game but exciting nonetheless. The party in the water on Tuesday was something to talk about.
The game was definitely memorable. There was a touching and emotional kick-off. The San Francisco hometown fans gave Barry Bonds a standing ovation. It was perfectly acceptable to get decked out in your favorite teams gear without getting heckled by the home team fans. The mood was festive. Light and heavy banter about AL vs. NL buzzed through the seats but people were just delighted to see the MLB all-stars do their thing. The only tragedy of the evening was when my National League team lost to the American League 5 to 4 giving up home field advantage for the world series and failing to break the AL All-Star winning streak for the past 5 years.
Better luck next year gentlemen.