In my post about the Giants @ Mets series, I said that living in New York means I can only see the Giants in person once a year, if I’m lucky.
I can be a (ir)responsible adult and decide last second to book a hotel room and buy tickets to a couple games a state or two over and take a road trip out to Philadelphia for a weekend with my best friend. The only reason why I wouldn’t do that is if I had any sort of impulse control that would stop me from blowing money on something that I really don’t need to do.
And well, I’m sure you can all guess what I don’t have.
Before the Mets v. Giants series was even over, Sharon and I were discussing the likelihood of being able to pull off a baseball related road trip less than a month after the team flew out of New York. We both agreed that, logically, we shouldn’t do it. We can’t afford this. Do we really want to spend money to go to a game that will most likely end in disappointment for all Giants fans?
We bought tickets to the June 2nd and 3rd game two weeks later.
From my standpoint, these two games passed by faster and with less overall excitement than the New York games, so I’m going to do my best to not ramble for three years like I did in my last game review. I also know that Sharon plans to post something about her own opinion on how everything went down and considering this weekend ended up working out more in her favor, I’m not going to steal too much of the spotlight.
However, I do have to share some things.
First of all, this was my first road trip where I was running the show. I have never driven further than Citi Field, and let me just say it was liberating. NYC traffic is a pain and I was afraid of having to deal with it, but just being able to get off the Island, just Sharon and I, and go where I wanted to at my own pace was worth it. I’m adulting, everyone, aren’t y’all proud of me?
Citizens Bank Park was beautiful, and the whole sports complex area was really cool. I wish I didn’t despise Philadelphia sports teams. I probably would’ve enjoyed it more (but there was far too many Flyers related items and buildings staring me in the face). My one complaint about the ballpark was the fact that they wouldn’t let us down to the field to watch batting practice until 5:35 (on the dot, wow). The Giants batting practice started at 5:25. Which, okay, missing ten minutes of it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.
The issue lies in the fact that we missed the team stretching and playing catch. That’s prime time to be close to the players and get any of their attention if you want to. Obviously, they’re doing their thing, but usually before they start taking swings and running drills, they’re much more receptive to fans trying to say hello or get a quick autograph.
I already accomplished my goal of getting a few minutes to say hi to Brandon Belt in New York. So I wasn’t incredibly worried about getting his attention again. I’m not that selfish. My concern was Brandon Crawford. The Brandon that we hadn’t gotten to see at Citi because of his groin injury. The one guy that Sharon really wanted just two seconds with. She had put all of her attention into helping me meet Belt in May, now it was time for me to return the favor.
So I was fully prepared to dedicate my energy to trying to get the short stop to notice us just for a second. We did end up getting a couple smiles and waves, but unfortunately our window of opportunity had closed after he played catch with Belt. He wasn’t signing any autographs before that game. It is what it is.
Even though getting Belt’s attention wasn’t my priority, it was still kind of cool when he looked up and noticed me during BP. I was in the same outfit I had worn to Citi Field so I could’ve been very recognizable, but I’m not sure if he did. He tried to toss me a ball for my Giraffe outfit anyway. Too bad a Philly’s fan took it from me. Wouldn’t even give it back when Sharon confronted them about it. People can be assholes. Like I said before, it is what it is.
The game itself was a blast. One of the very few Giants games that were truly enjoyable to watch. The offense started in the first and didn’t let up at all and they ended up scoring ten runs. Which, at the time, was the most runs they had scored in a single game all season. It was a dream come true. We even got on TV again, cheering after a sixth inning rally. Not to mention we were there for Austin Slater’s debut, and were only a section over from where his family was sitting.
We had really great seats again for this game, only ten or so rows behind the dugout. I was the obnoxious fan who cheered after every play, but for once, people couldn’t give me a glare and say “Shut up, they can’t hear you.” They could hear me. And I think some happy cheering, however obnoxious I may have been to the Phillies fans around me, was necessary for my team to hear considering how the season has been going.
In between innings, whoever has a ball in the glove coming off the field will sometimes toss it to a fan behind the dugout. I’m pretty sure Belt gave a ball to an entire row of children in the front row. He even tried again to toss a ball to me (I’m assuming he saw my failed attempt at catching the one he threw me before the game started), but again someone intercepted it and took it. At least he was trying.
Sharon, however, got luckier than me. She managed to get Crawford to see her one inning when he had made the final out. He wasted no time tossing it right to her, knowing that she had been the one cheering him on during batting practice before. She was the happiest I’ve seen her.
After the game, we left in a very good mood. Ty Blach has been a new favorite of ours since that game, by the way. He pitched phenomenally. We complimented some guy wearing a Blach jersey that had moved to sit in front of us in the last inning. Turned out to be his God Father. And wowie, was he a proud man. He had tears in his eyes when the last out was made. Seeing that made our night even better than the ten runs had.
We ended up finding the players entrance on our way out of the ballpark, and because we’re us, we lingered with a few other fans and watched as the team came out and got on the bus. It was cool seeing them all looking relatively happy with themselves. A much needed change. A few guys stopped to sign some autographs, Matt Cain being one of them, but I didn’t get close enough to get one. Jeff Samardzija had no intentions of stopping until the girl in front called him out on breaking his promise of coming back to sign for her during batting practice. (We had been standing next to her. Can confirm he was a total liar). So he signed for just her.
I got to wave to Belt when he got on the bus, and he smiled and definitely recognized me from earlier. I thanked him for the attempts to toss me the balls, but I’m an idiot, and couldn’t catch them. He left me with a promise of “tomorrow.” (He fulfilled that promise.)
In the end, we ended up getting out of there over an hour after the game had ended and with autograph’s from Joe Panik (who was such a sweetheart and stopped despite his family waiting for him) and Bruce Bochy (who Sharon got to hug, it was the best moment). We grabbed dinner in the city and headed back to the hotel for the night.
Saturday morning, we woke up, got ready, checked out of the hotel, and prepared ourselves for another long day. We went to iHop for breakfast where we started to get the dumb idea of possibly packing one more road trip into our summer and drive down to DC in August when the Giants play the Nationals. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to do that, unless something magical happens. But we still thought of it and discussed it. That’s how bad we are.
It was in between iHop and heading to the ballpark that we made a run to CVS when I got an idea.
“Let’s bet on the winner of the Brandons’ throwing game.”
Now I don’t know if everyone has read Crawford’s blog post where he describes the pregame throwing routine he and Belt have (Here’s the link if you haven’t. You definitely should read: “Simple Game of Catch“), but we made it our mission to watch out for it during both games. From what we saw on Friday, Belt was the winner in their little game of “Don’t drop it”. And because I’m dumb and I wanted to make things more interesting (and maybe a I was little overconfident from Belt’s previous victory too), I decided to bet against Sharon on round two. We shook on just $2. Because we are broke people and it was all friendly and casual. Barely a bet. More for our pride on whose Brandon is better.
I lost. Shocker. They didn’t have batting practice that day, so we had to wait until right before the game for them to come out and start throwing. It was fine though, we had been kept busy by Ty Blach stopping to sign a few autographs and take pictures with us while we waited:
He was so nice.
Either way, when the rest of the team did come out, we watched Belt and Crawford like hawks and held our breaths when their game started.
I thought it ended in a draw. They were close enough to each other that I didn’t think another throw was coming. Apparently, Belt didn’t either, because when Craw pegged the ball at him, it tipped off his glove and rolled away. There were simultaneous shouts of distress from both Brandon Belt, who just got fooled and lost the game, and me, who just lost two bucks. I made it known to him by yelling loudly that he owed me two dollars. I don’t know if he heard that, but two seconds later, he turned around and tossed the ball from the game to me, watching to make sure I caught it this time (which I did, thanks), so I guess that makes up for the lost bet.
It was about a minute after that when Brandon Crawford finally gave in to my obnoxious calls and bright sign (that I had not put down once). He came over to say hi, take a picture with Sharon, and sign the ball he tossed her the previous day. I got my ball signed too, which was cool, but other than that, I was too busy taking pictures like a proud mom, and trying to make sure the crazy fans reaching over me didn’t kill my giraffe ears. It was still great. Brandon was wonderful to come over this time around. And now both Sharon and I can say that we got to meet our Brandons.
The rest of the day wasn’t nearly as fun as the last. The Giants didn’t play well and of course, lost. Same old story, right? It didn’t take away from the fun of the trip. It was a much needed escape from the everyday routine of life at home, and we got to do it all on our own.
I ended up rambling a bit more than I wanted to, and I’m sorry. I doubt this was as fun for any of you to read as it was for me to relive. I don’t even think many people are going to even click on the link. But I felt like today was a good day for me to post this. In just the past six hours alone, I’ve read four different bad news articles about the Giants, and come across countless others that I didn’t even click on. Not to say that these articles aren’t warranted or accurate. They most definitely are. The team sucks. Baseball doesn’t seem to be fun right now.
So in a small way, I tried to go back and find a time when it was fun, for me and hopefully for at least a couple of others, and share it with anyone willing to read. It isn’t much, but at least this isn’t another terrible headline. I hope you enjoyed.
Thanks for reading!