This is authored by Chuck. He’s out of town and I’m posting it for him. I will be out of town, too, in a few hours. Have a good 4th everyone. Try not to light yourself on fire. :)
Since this is all about the nostalgia trip (at times), let’s hear about your first actual game memories. This being an off day and all (I’m writing this on 7/2), I’d love to hear stories of the first game you remember going to. Where they were, what went down, who played Anything that you remember about that first time you walked (or crawled) into a big league ballpark to see your first real-live ball. I’ve heard a coupe of your stories (Flav’s Ed-Haliki-no-no springs to mind), but let’s hear ’em.
Mine was pretty cool. For my 7th birthday, my mom, who was as far from a sports fan as could ever be imagined, took me and about 10 classmates to Bat Day for my 7th birthday in 1968. Bat Day always fell around my birthday, so I guess my mom thought it would be a great idea to take a bunch of kids to a ball game. The details of the game are hazy, I’m pretty sure the Giants played the Cards, but I’ll never forget walking through those double doors, getting that blast of air in my face, and then seeing the impossibly green field for the first time. It looked perfect. The Stick back then was still grass, and not yet enclosed for football, and I guess it was still relatively new. I don’t think it was a sell-out, but the crowd was pretty good, and we made our way to the upper deck, 1st base side. All us kids had our full sized (none of this puny half-assed bat shit) bats (I got a 32) , and were busily trying to stab each other and bash each other’s brains out. The coolest thing happened though when the Giants leadoff hitter (Jesus Alou? Bobby Bonds? No idea) came to bat. EVERY kid that got a bat started bouncing it off the ground. After 3 seconds, the whole place had the timing down. Whap whap whap! Whap whap whap! Whap whap whap! 10,000 kids beating out a rhythm. It would break out during rallies and other random times, but it sounded so cool. The two old guys in front of us didn’t like it so much, but there wasn’t jack that they could do about it. They were too busy getting their buzz on and throwing one-liners at us.
The game? Weird thing is, as cool as it was to be there, I don’t remember much about the actual game. We all ate a few hotdogs and drank all the soda that the vendors could give us. Got bags of peanuts. We got those malted things with the little wooden spoon (NOTHING reminds me of childhood more than that taste of that spoon when the ice crem’s gone). Best part was trying to see how many peanut shells we could stack onto the hats of the two old guys in front of us (who were dead asleep by the 6th inning) without them falling off or the oldsters waking up.
But there they were: Mays, McCovey, Bobby Bonds, Jesus Alou, Jimmy Ray Hart, Jimmy Davenport, and the rest. Guys whose baseball cards I had, but had never seen play. The place, and the game, seemed so impossibly big. The Giants won the game, we all left happy, and for some crazy reason, my mom thought this was such a good idea that we did this for the next 3 years. Crazier still. I still go to ballgames with one of those guys.