In all my decades of living in Manhattan, I never went to a baseball game. Never saw the Mets or the Yankees play. I know — ridiculous, right? But, I never made it to the top of the Empire State Building, either. That’s how focused I was on building my theater career. I never was a tourist in my own city nor a sports fan.
I missed out on so much.
Well, I can now say I am a true San Franciscan: I have seen the Giants play at home, and even though they lost to Atlanta 7–5, it was an exciting afternoon at the ballpark. I even had a corn dog, which tasted sublime because I was eating it at AT&T Park. The game was a cliffhanger until the final moments, so there was plenty to feel good and feel bad about throughout the three-hour game. But the main thing? I was there! Cheering and booing along with all the other 41,000 people that sunny Sunday afternoon.
Peter and I even have the sunburn to show for it.
I was reminded of my departed Momma who, into her 80s, was an avid Chicago Cubs fan. She called them “my Cubbies.” She told me once that she loved watching the handsome players run around the bases in their tight pants. I am my mother’s daughter. Madison B. sure looks good on that mound.
Because baseball is the USA’s national pastime and because we are now in July, let’s talk baseball.
Here are my observations on attending my first game at AT&T Park — the three Ms:
1. The Merchandising: From the name of the park itself, to the backs of the rakes used to tidy the field, when you go to AT&T Park, every moment your eyes are open, you’re being sold something. Even when your eyes are closed: That day’s special event (kids being invited to run around the bases after the game) was sponsored by a clothing corporation, and the female announcer informed us of that many times, so we could hear the product name as well as see it all around. Levis, Salesforce, Budweiser, Coors Light, Safeway, Adobe, Dignity Health, ReMax, Yahoo, Chevron, Toyota, Visa, and of course, Coca-Cola have a huge visual presence at AT&T Park, and, though I’ve not been to any other ballpark in years, I bet that’s how it is everywhere. Take me out to the ball game? More like “take me out to one long commercial,” and sell me something, along with my corn dog.
2. The Modeling: I was delighted at the fashion show presented by the Giants fans surrounding us. I saw the San Francisco Giants logo on every conceivable article of clothing, including a man’s underwear, when his jeans slipped down far enough. Of course, underwear, that’s no big deal. But how about a pair of black velvet low-heeled slippers, worn by one handsome, grey-haired woman who came to the game dressed to impress? She wore those black velvet pumps, embroidered with the Giants logo; gorgeous orange rhinestone earrings in the shape of the Giants symbol (where can I find those?); a black cape and long skirt, swaths of orange Giants’ scarves; and an enormous sparkly Giants ring on the fourth finger of her left hand. This woman was beautifully committed to “her” Giants, enough to shell out good money to dress up for them. It was delightful, as were the various knee socks, fanny packs, running shoes, T-shirts, jackets, sweaters, gloves, sun visors, belts, shorts, sunglasses, necklaces, bracelets, headbands, earmuffs, and jerseys that adorned the fans. Sometimes, all the items were on one person! Those were the most fun.
I succumbed and bought Peter a baseball cap and a jacket. He looks gorgeous in them. Great color combination, that black and orange. And finally …
3. The Masses: I’ve mentioned that there were over 41,000 people there that Sunday afternoon. Over 41,000 people!
We’d been given tickets down close to the Giants dugout, so I was able to turn around and look back and up, up, up to all the folks filling all those seats, and it was an impressive sight: all those mouths to feed, all the potential hotdog and beer sales, all that love and enthusiasm for the game. Forget that there were that many people in one place — I mean, that’s a lot of people in one place. But they were all agreeing on something: their love of the Giants, or at least love of the game, because there were some Atlanta fans there as well. That is impressive, all that humanity cheering for the same thing.
I just kept thinking: If only we could get this many people to go to a live theater production at some nonprofit and struggling theatre … if only live theater could attract such enthusiastic fans, all willing to spend their money on the performing arts!
Maybe if legitimate theaters sold hot dogs? And beer?
Ya think that would work?