There is no other sport I’d give up a precious vacation day for. No other sport that begs for me to play hooky in the middle of the work week so I can catch an afternoon game with my girlfriend.
And when the day is the first warm and sunny one you’ve seen in about two months, there’s no other sport with which to take full advantage of the weather.
Yes, baseball is back, and today I enjoyed my first game of the new season at Pac Bell… I mean SBC… no, make that AT&T Park. Ying and I took the day off, and we were rewarded with gorgeous weather and a great game, with a Barry Bonds home run to add to the excitement.
Today’s game was the rubber match between the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. After winning the first game, the Giants dropped the second.
(It’s been a rather difficult series for me, since I’m a New Yorker at heart, with 18-plus years of rooting for the Mets, and only eight years rooting for the Giants. In the first few years living out in California, it was easy: I rooted for the Giants when they played anyone except the Mets. Things are more complicated now, and I find myself rooting for the Giants against all-comers, including the Mets, yet I still find myself disappointed when the Mets don’t win.)
Today’s game was fantastic: the Giants lead early, the Mets tied it up then went ahead most of the game, then the Giants tied it up in the bottom of the ninth on a two-run pinch-hit home run by Barry Bonds, before the Mets took the game in 11 innings.
It was a hard-fought game, and very enjoyable. The absolute highlight of the game, of course, was the homer by Barry. With the Giants down by two runs with two out in the bottom of the ninth, Bonds came in to pinch hit, against the Mets’ closer Billy Wagner. Bonds had never before hit a home run against Wagner, but that all changed with one massive swing of the bat. It was Barry’s 711th home run of his career, this time several rows into the center-field bleachers, leaving him only three bombs behind Babe Ruth for second on the all-time homers list.
This is another history-in-the-making moment for me and Barry: back in 2001, I had the pleasure of watching him take a pitch to deep right field in Dodger Stadium for his 67th home run of the season, on his way to hitting 73.
I’m looking forward to home run 714 and then 715. I hope against hope that he stays healthy and productive enough to make to 755 and beyond.