Okay, so it’s been about three weeks since Sharon and I practically lived at Citi Field for a few days to see the Giants. The experience was absolutely amazing but everyone has moved on. The Giants have played 6 other teams since then (and won all of those series but two, which is improvement, okay?) and everyone has totally forgotten and/or stopped caring about my excitement from that week.
Does that mean I’m going to pass up on the opportunity to relive every detail via a blog post?
We had this adventure planned for nearly a year before it happened. That hype doesn’t just die. Especially with the amount of fun we had. I’m going to take every opportunity I can to babble about how much I enjoyed myself, and how much it all meant to me. So if you don’t want to read through my excited rampage, then I’m giving you your out now. Close this tab. I won’t be mad. If you think that I’m even mildly entertaining, read on and let’s hope you at least somewhat enjoy what I have written.
With that being said, let’s get on with it. We’ll break it down day by day. Here we go.
Day One (Monday night, game time: 7 PM)
School on Monday was probably the most irrelevant two classes I’ve ever had. I have a hard time focusing on lectures as it is, but when I was as excited as I was, I had no chance of absorbing even one ounce of information that was being given to me. Which probably wasn’t the best thing considering I had finals the following week, but priorities.
Sharon and I ended up leaving for the game around 2:30. Was it way earlier than necessary? Totally. But for those who don’t know Long Island traffic, trust me, it was better than waiting the extra hour or two and risking it. It’s impossible to predict how New Yorkers will be driving on any given day, and it takes a minimum of an hour to get to Citi Field anyway. And you bet your ass that we were going to be the first two people lined up to get into the ballpark so we can get down to the field and watch batting practice. We managed to do that, and in the process, ended up making friends with the security guard in the hour that we were standing out there. He was very entertained by my giraffe get-up, all inclusive with a baby giraffe Brandon Belt shirt, giraffe print leggings, hand painted giraffe print converse (shout out to @jesheeeee on twitter for the AMAZING job on those), Belt jersey, Belt hat, and giraffe ears. What was that I said about me being crazy in my last post? Do y’all believe me yet? It’s fine, I embraced it, and it definitely made me some friends along the way.
When the gates opened and they let us in we immediately headed to our section behind the Giants dugout, where we would stand to watch all of BP. We befriended a girl next to us who was celebrating her 18th birthday. Her family had flown out from San Francisco and took her to two of the games as her gift. They were all so sweet. She got Hunter Pence to sign her hat and wish her a happy birthday. I loved talking to them.
Rather than giving a play by play on the rest of the night, I’m just going to list some highlights and let-downs.
- Hunter Pence: In case any of you have been living under a rock for the past five years, Hunter Pence is truly the most genuine and wonderful human being. He’s so high-spirited all the time, constantly greeting fans and waving. The first thing he did when he stepped onto the field for batting practice was walk right over to a kid standing by the fence and sign for him. Then when he saw the birthday girl, Sharon, and I all decked out in Giants gear he talked to us and signed something for all of us as well, ignoring the highly obnoxious Mets fan that wouldn’t stop pleading for an autograph. Hunter had his priorities straight.
- Everything else about BP: Just being so close to the team. I watch these guys through a television screen every night. I don’t get to see them more than once a year if I’m lucky. And for once they were all just… there. Like… hi! I felt like a kid in a candy store. A bunch of the players were waving and saying hello. Michael Morse was cheesin’ it so hard any time he saw a Giants fan looking his way, which was wonderful. Sharon had made me a sign for the game that said something ridiculous, but also very clever and amusing “Belt, you can walk my way,” adorned with a “4-0” to solidify the pun. She was proud of herself, and I was pathetic enough to hold it up with pride. It did it’s job though. I got a few smiles and a huge grin and wave from the giraffe himself. It was enough to make my night, honestly, so it was totally worth it.
- The fan we sat next to for the game was a very quiet woman who didn’t speak much English, but she was so precious. It made me happy. Her face lit up when we cheered for anything the Giants did and she told me that she was worried she’d be the only Giants fan there. I assured her that wasn’t the case and we were all in this together. I love meeting other fans.
- Giants baseball: I mean… We all know that 2017 Giants baseball has been nearly entirely a let down. For whatever reason things aren’t clicking, pieces are missing, whatever you want to say. This game was at least relatively close until they blew it in the tenth inning. I wasn’t necessarily surprised, but it was disheartening. However, on to the next one, right?
- Migraine: my head was killing me the entire game. I was pretty miserable by the end of the night. *cue sad violin music*
Day Two (Tuesday night, game time: 7 PM)
Game two was definitely the best night of the series for a variety of reasons (But I think most of you who know me already know why), but let’s do a review anyway.
School was pointless again on Tuesday. So pointless, I skipped one of my classes (don’t worry parents, I didn’t have any work left for that course so it was fine). But I had a reason for wanting to leave early this time. I had to go pick up Rae.
Rae is my wonderful, amazing, friend that I have met through Giants twitter and was flying out for the last two games of the series. She, like many Giants fans, lives in California, so I have not had the opportunity to meet her up until this point, and boy was I excited. Even if the Giants lost every game, at least we got to hug Rae in person. That was one priority that I had straight.
We picked Rae up from the airport at 3:30 and went right to the ballpark after that. This girl is a trooper, let me tell you. She woke up at 2:30 AM PST for 7 hours of traveling, sat through a full length baseball game, and didn’t get to sleep that night until 2 AM EST. But she made it through.
Okay, to the highlights.
- Rae (obviously): Seriously guys, this girl means the world to me. She has quickly become one of my best friends in a matter of months and nothing is better than getting to hold someone you love close. I’ve made a lot of friends online before. It’s the kind of person I am. Not everyone on the internet is some creepy man living in his parent’s basement. She is only one of the friends that the Giants have given me and getting to spend time with her in person, even if it was only for two days, was not only a highlight of this week, but a highlight of the year. I’m so grateful for that time.
- Alex Pavlovic: Hands down, the Giants have some of the best beat writers ever. And Alex is the KING. My whole group loves this guy. He’s just incredibly funny, knowledgeable, and good at his job. One of my close friends, Brynn, stands out as Alex’s biggest fan on twitter and was even able to meet him before the season started. We got to see him and take a few selfies before BP started, and guess what? He knew Brynn by name when we mentioned her (which she screamed about later). He was super nice to take the time out and come say hi. I loved it. Player or not, he’s still part of the Giants.
- Batting Practice (again): The team was just as cool as last night. Hunter recognized us. We got another wave and a bit more chit chat. Morse waved like a lunatic again and smiled like the happiest man in the world. You wouldn’t think the team had lost four straight. I admire that about them. Even with a bad record, their pregame routine held a calming, light, feeling. It was refreshing, for players and fans alike.
- Brandon Belt: Here it is, boys and girls. My time to SHINE. The moment I have lived twenty years for. I met Brandon Belt. Like… the Brandon Belt. My favorite baseball player. My favorite athlete. This genuinely amazing person that I idolize so much. I got to meet him and say hi, like, FACE TO FACE. wHAT?! Hi… I’m crazy again, I know. But yeah, Sharon went out of her way to make another sign after we got home Monday night to hold up herself. This one simply said “Belt’s Biggest Fan” with an arrow pointing to me, who still had the same sign from yesterday. Simple, but effective, I guess. It got his attention as they were playing catch and he came over when he was finished. To be quite honest, I don’t remember as many details as I would like from the exchange. He walked over and said “Hi guys,” and then it’s kind of a blur. But here’s what I know:
- He was the nicest athlete (or any “celebrity” type person) I’ve yet to interact with. For real, guys. I know I’m biased, but I’ve met a bunch of hockey players and baseball players. I do this stuff a lot. Crazy, remember? Usually they’re all very nice. I haven’t necessarily had bad experiences with anyone yet, but often, it’s a forced smile, picture, autograph, and done. Brandon did seem genuinely interested in what I had to say (even if I was blabbing super loud at him, holy shit I’m a terrible human being) and every smile he gave me was real. Nothing forced. He was happy to have me there. He was grateful for my support. And he was genuinely kind. And that… means more than I can explain. So @ Brandon Belt: thank you so much. Really.
- He thanked me a lot. He thanked all of us for our support and for even showing up to the games at all. He commented on my outfit, and the fact that I had a Longhorns hat too. Like I said, genuinely grateful. For every thank you he gave me, I responded with about 30 more.
- He signed my hat. He took a selfie with me, Sharon, and Kate. He signed a baseball for Sharon. And he talked a bit. All attention on us. This was a special moment just for us and no one else got to interrupt. Which sounds selfish, but I needed those two minutes of just him with my group.
- He signed my shoe. The shoe that my friend Jess put so much effort into painting so it looked like an actual giraffe. He was amazed by her work. I wish I had a picture of his face when I said they were hand painted. When I asked him to sign one of them it was just an excited “Absolutely!” It was a great moment for all involved. Jess was very happy to hear her work was appreciated by the giraffe himself. (Unfortunately the paint started to chip off the leather, hence the white spots, so these shoes are officially retired. But look how awesome they came out!)
- He doesn’t blow up his fist bumps. This was the only disappointing moment of the whole interaction. I can’t believe it. I gave him a fist bump and I totally went for it, and he didn’t even Baymax that shit. Just a bump and done. Next time I see him, I’m going to have to have a serious talk with him about it.
- I got famous? I mean… not really. But Sharon (and everyone else?) tweeted about me getting to meet him because apparently I have a “brand”. Who knew? Either way, the Giants twitter ended up retweeting her tweet with the picture of him and I together. Aaaannnd the team’s photographer ended up posting a picture of me and Brandon on Instagram. (I actually ran into him the next day and got to thank him for taking the picture.) So that’s cool. Pretty awesome.
Overall rating: 11/10. Best experience ever.
6. Last highlight of the night had to be this one Giants fan that sat behind us during the game. He had so many funny comments and chirps throughout every inning. He yelled at all the Mets fans around us for continuously screaming and cheering for fly balls. “Not every fly ball is a homerun! Stop cheering for outs!” It’s a classic line. But during a game where your team is getting beat up on, his humor was appreciated.
- Giants baseball (Again): This one wasn’t even close. Shark gave up a lot of early runs and our stunted offense did nothing to make up for it. Buster’s second homerun of the series was the only positive point of the actual game. That and the fact that we were sitting down the first base line and Belt was actually playing first for once! It made me a little happy at least. But hey, I met Brandon Belt. So was a 5th straight loss really a let down? Only a bit…
Day Three (Wednesday afternoon, game time: 1 PM)
After a night like Tuesday, I didn’t think it was going to be able to get much better than that. And it didn’t necessarily. But alas, it was another day of memories, and more surprises. So after an early alarm and a quick run to Starbucks for much needed caffeine, Sharon, Rae, and I were on the road for our final Giants game in New York. So lets not waste time.
- Cookie dough: We got to the field early, not expecting that there was going to be batting practice, but just in case there was, we wanted to be there. There wasn’t, as we figured because it was a day game following a night game, so we took advantage of the extra time at the park and walked around the stadium. And we got cookie dough. Yes. Edible cookie dough is available at Citi Field. And yes, it was extremely good. I would totally recommend if you’re ever there.
- Seats: So when we were buying tickets at the beginning of the season, we thought that May 10th would have been a Bumgarner start. In the end, we were wrong either way, having counted the starts wrong, but even if we had been right… well we all know how that would’ve ended up. But alas, we were not mind readers in early April, and didn’t know any of this would happen. So when buying tickets, we decided that we’d spend the most money for good seats during the game Bum would apparently be starting, because we all love him and Rae is by far his biggest fan. So we dropped $80 per ticket for seats seven rows behind the visitors dugout. Price wasn’t bad considering the cost of those seats in other ballparks, but it’s more than my broke self is used to paying. In the end, we had Cain pitching, not Bum. But the seats were still freaking fantastic, and the experience was amazing. I don’t know how I’ll be able to sit in the nosebleeds ever again.
- T.V. Star: They found me. NBCS Bay Area found me in my giraffe outfit sitting out in the open behind the dugout, and they put me on the broadcast. Multiple times actually. Both Affeldt and Kuiper made a couple comments about my outfit/attitude and Belt himself (I know he was slumping guys, but let him live). Of course it was the day he wasn’t in the lineup too, but it was okay, I had gotten my fair share of Belt time this week. They found me in the third inning, made a few comments, and then moved on. Then they came back to me again in the 8th when Belt pinch hit (and ended up popping out, damn it Brandon). Here, have a look at how stressed I was during that at bat: The last time they showed me was after Hunter ended up hitting the single to tie the game in the 9th. You can see me cheering and yelling “HUNTER PENCE” at the top of my lungs. Every Mets fan in our section hated me.
- Funny Mets fan: Okay, so I have no idea what the heck this guy was on, but he was full of funny comments. At one point, I was cheering for Hernandez who was batting, and when I shouted “C’mon Gorkys!” this guy suddenly chimes in, “That’s not even a real name!” I laughed for a solid two minutes, and I still laugh whenever I think about it. It got me. It wasn’t even that funny, but I’m still laughing. Then when the Giants took the lead and Derek Law came out to (eventually) get the save, this guy just heckled him to no end. And he was saying the weirdest stuff. “Derek! I am your father!” “I just want to see my son, Derek!” “Derek! Father my first born child!” None of it made sense, but if you had heard this guy, you would’ve been in tears. He was using this loud, guttural, voice that just rang throughout the park. Even Giants fans were laughing at the crazy stuff he was coming up with. At one point, Samardzija, who was standing at the railing in the dugout, threw a glance over his shoulder at the fan with a ‘what the actual fuck?!‘ look on his face. It was quality entertainment.
- Giants Baseball!(?): They won! On a 9th inning comeback?! That never happens. It was such an exciting game to be at in person. When the Giants started to rally in the 9th inning (thanks to Sharon and I holding up #RallyLights for Arroyo’s at bat, you’re welcome), I knew that this series was going to end off on a good note. And it did. They didn’t blow the save. We won. We got to celebrate and enjoy the ride home. Sharon got to blast her victory music in the parking lot. It was a great way to end our adventures.
The rest of the day was spent sitting in traffic, and then eventually using what was left of our time together to show Rae some Long Island things (mainly getting her Ralph’s Italian Ices). We spent some time with a couple other friends and just relived our fun before finally getting some (much needed) sleep. It was a great day.
For anyone that has actually read through all of this, I salute you. I know this may have been a bit… extra, but I wanted to write it all out for a bunch of reasons. I wanted to share my excitement and to be able to recall my enjoyment in depth and actually write it out. I love telling stories and sharing my adventures. But I also love explaining my thoughts and mentality behind it. For everyone else, I’m just writing about a few baseball games, but it meant more for me. As I mentioned in my last post, this team has given me a lot of happiness and memories in the past year alone. There’s nothing wrong with sharing some happiness, even if not everyone else thinks the same way as me. But with all the negative news surrounding this team right now, I’m sure all of us could use some positive vibes.
So I hope that living vicariously through my recount of these games offered you at least some enjoyment. I hope it maybe reminded you what being a fan is all about, especially when the team we love is struggling so much. That’s sort of the main goal of this blog. Remember what it’s all about. Fun.
Sharon and I are off to Philly tomorrow for part two of our Giants Adventures. Let’s see what this journey has to offer.
Until next time, thanks for reading.