I’ve attended 25 Giants games in my “fan career.” Twenty-five is a pretty special number around these parts, so I thought I’d go back and recap them all, starting from the most recent and working my way back. In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2.
Game #11 | July 11, 2009 | AT&T Park | Giants 2, Padres 1
Matt Cain vs Tim Stauffer
Player of the Game: Pablo Sandoval (2-Run HR)
Entertainment Rating: 6 (out of 10) | Record in Games Attended: 6-5
Though nobody could have predicted the championships that would soon consume the franchise, city, and fanbase in the years to follow, there was a 4-game series vs San Diego in 2009 that made us all believe the tide might just be turning. Tim Lincecum took a no-hitter late into the first game of the series, and the next night Jonathan Sanchez actually did hold the Fathers hitless. Well, we had tickets to the third game, a Saturday night contest. I can still remember the buzz in the park that night. It didn’t feel like a franchise coming off four straight years of losing anymore. Of course, Cainer allowed a hit to the second batter of the game and was later removed when his counterpart, Tim Stauffer lined one back up the middle and off of Cain in the second inning. Ironically, the same thing happened to Cain in a game I attended four years later. Who knew? In the game at-hand, the Giants bullpen held San Diego to 1 run on 7+ innings of work, and Pablo’s 4th inning homer off Stauffer was the difference in the victory.
Game #12 | August 8, 2009 | AT&T Park | Giants 4, Reds 2
Barry Zito vs Bronson Arroyo
Player of the Game: Bengie Molina (HR, 3 RBI)
Entertainment Rating: 6 (out of 10) | Record in Games Attended: 7-5
Man, I can remember the circumstances of this game clearly. It was a Chico-area radio station promotion. I went with two buddies, Tyler and Jason. Tyler’s sports-loving grandpa (“Grandpa Ron”, who was given a shoutout on the air by Kruk for his 60th wedding anniversary a couple Sunday’s ago) and uncle also went with us. It was a good size group, and we took a charter bus to the stadium. I remember sitting in the view level right above home plate, near a few of the local radio DJ’s and sportscasters. I even have a picture to prove we were there… but I don’t remember anything about the actual damn game! All I recall was Bronson Arroyo and his leg-kick. That’s how I figured out which game we went to. Apparently, Bengie Molina and Eugenio Velez hit homers, and Zito tossed 6 solid innings. B-Willy Wilson sealed his 28th save of the year. Thank goodness for Baseball-Reference!
Game #13 | August 10, 2010 | AT&T Park | Cubs 8, Giants 6
Tim Lincecum vs Ryan Dempster
Player of the Game: Buster Posey (2-5, 2 RBI)
Entertainment Rating: 5 | Record in Games Attended: 7-6
I was home from Montana for a week-vacation, so my sister and I went to a game with our cousins, who lived in Foster City at the time. It seems you can pick something special or significant in nearly every game you attend, but this one was big. It was my first time seeing Mr. Gerald Demp Posey, live and up-close. The rook was as good as advertised, hitting a double and a single, and driving in two runs. He ended the game with a cool .341 average. Man, can you believe that was 8 years ago already? The game itself wasn’t a winner. Timmy was mired in a rough stretch and gave up six earned on this night. Kosuke Fukudome took him deep in the first inning. Highlights for the G’s included 3 hits from Sandoval. And remember the “water buffalo” outfield? Andres Torres manned CF, with Pat the Bat in left and Aubrey Huff in right. Ironically, it was the Cubs who couldn’t field the ball, committing 4 errors. which didn’t cost them in the end.
Game #14 | September 24, 2010 | Coors Field | Giants 2, Rockies 1
Tim Lincecum vs Jhoulys Chacin
Player of the Game: Tim Lincecum (8 IP, 1 ER, 9 K)
Entertainment Rating: 8 | Record in Games Attended: 8-6
My first and only time watching the Gigantes on the road. A pretty special experience, road-tripping from Billings, Montana to Denver with my best friend Tyler, his girlfriend (now wife), and a couple of our college friends. The regular season was nearing completion, and the Giants were really surging… just about a week away from that legendary weekend showdown with San Diego that decided the division. I caught Timmy for the second time that summer, and he was in prime form that night at Coors. Thinking back on that performance, and knowing what I do about pitching in that park, makes it all the more impressive. The Rockies scratched a run in the 6th, but otherwise The Freak was mowing them down, inning after inning. In the top of the 7th, Pat Burrell turned on one, sending the pitch sailing down the left field line, almost directly at us in the LF bleachers. It just wrapped around the foul pole, and without consciously thinking about it I jumped from my seat and let out a scream of joy. It only took a few seconds to look around and realize I was just about the only one yelling. Major stink-eye coming my way. That was a feeling I’ll never forget! The Giants won the game, which happened to be Fan Appreciation Night. The Rockies marched everyone in bleacher seats down onto the outfield lawn for postgame fireworks. An unforgettable night, following the boys on the road.
Game #15 | June 12, 2012 | AT&T Park | Giants 6, Astros 3
Madison Bumgarner vs Bud Norris
Player of the Game: Madison Bumgarner (12 K, 1 HR)
Entertainment Rating: 8 | Record in Games Attended: 9-6
Summer 2012, I had returned home from Montana to complete my student-teaching. A family friend had connections to season tickets near home plate in the premium club, and I had been emailing her for a while to set up a game. We had planned on June 13, a Wednesday night against Houston (of the NL Central, mind you). For some reason that I simply cannot recall anymore, it didn’t work out. So I hit StubHub and got three tickets for Tuesday night’s game, also against the Astros. My sister, her boyfriend, and I rode the Vallejo Ferry to the stadium, a first time for me. The game was awesome. MadBum was brilliant. Not only did he strike out 12 Astros (a pretty hapless lineup at the time, but one that contained Altuve, Jason Castro, Jed Lowrie, and JD Martinez), but he also CRUSHED a 3rd inning offering from Bud Norris into the LF bleachers. That was the first homer of Bum’s career, odd when considering it was his 3rd full year in the bigs. Look it up! Later in the game, Belt would hit his first homer of the season. I’m pretty sure young Bum was giving young Belt an earful about getting off the big fly schneid first, and Belt simply got tired of hearing about it. Bochy used four pitchers to get the game’s final four outs, and we went home happy.
About that game we were originally supposed to attend, the one the next night on Wednesday? Nothing special happened. Unless you consider Matt Cain’s perfect freaking game special!! Bum’s first homerun is a decent consolation prize, I suppose…