|It'll last longer
||[May. 2nd, 2010|12:43 pm]
When the month of April comes to a close, it means On Field Photo Day is not far behind. The first Saturday day in May has become one of those dates we automatically circle on the schedule and then await with a combination of impatience and dread. Sure, the chance to take pictures with your favorite players is exciting -- I'll admit that I've entered into fits of giddy fangirliness at just the sight of certain Giants -- but the necessary sacrifices and inevitable disappointment can overshadow an otherwise gorgeous day.
My experiences with OFPD are well chronicled. Here's an entry from '06, which includes a mention of my inaugural OFPD in '05. My '08 entry details some of the lessons learned from OFPDs past, and last year's entry is laced with the bitterness of a fan who did not get a picture with Tim Lincecum.
So it was last year, and so it was to be again. A man with two Cy Young Awards under his belt is in much too high demand to meet the needs of 3,000 fans vying for his attention. I can hardly blame Timmy. He is a rock star in every sense of the term, but not one who would have chosen this lifestyle if he had his way. Yet he does his damnedest to accommodate all of us, we who strain against the ropes, calling his name, begging for pictures and autographs, asking him to hold our babies or perhaps sire them. He draws from an apparently bottomless well of calm, grace, and poise. I'm always charmed in his presence.
I will say that the one thing Tim Lincecum has not yet mastered is time management. OFPD is always impractically paired with San Francisco Little League Day, and a cordoned-off area exclusively for Little Leaguers and their families was where Tim spent the vast majority of his time. Which made a sea of grade-school boys ecstatic, I'm sure, but left me with a sad.
Due to a misunderstanding, we arrived at the park approximately three and a half hours prior to the game start time -- and not, as per usual, prior to the gates opening for OFPD. Sadly, this relegated us to the very end of the line, in back of the players' parking lot where our OFPD roots began year ago... sans Omar Vizquel in an outrageous purple and orange shirt to amuse us. Realizing that we didn't need folding chairs (and in my case, music or NYT crossword puzzles) to wait a measly 45 minutes, my mom and I made a trek back to the parking lot which involved crossing Lefty O'Doul Bridge seconds before it was raised. By the time we got inside the park, there were no prime spots left open. We stationed ourselves behind a couple of large men and hoped for the best.
Ultimately, I got pictures with Sanchez, Affeldt, Zito and Torres, and have little recollection of the rest. Fucking Eugenio Velez ignored my request for a photo. (That's right, Velez ignored ME! It's supposed to be the other way around, that hack. I hope he enjoys getting sent down again real soon.) There were a few notables missing, like Molina and Renteria. The ones I most looked forward to, Timmy and Sergio Romo, got tied up in with the Little League crowd. It was great watching them on the big screen; Romo in particular is a ham, and he and Tim were -- no other word for it -- pretty adorable fielding questions and conversing with the starstruck children looking up at them. I just wish they would either reduce the number of fans they let in, or make Little League Day a separate event. The kids need and deserve their time with their favorite players, but come on, let us young-at-hearts have our fun too. Guys like Tim are trying to do right by those who look up to them most, but grown-ups who stood in line for hours came early for a reason.
As for the game itself, it was awesome! We took our seats in the View Reserve Box and I said to no one in particular, "What a beautiful day." Not a cloud in the sky, with a slight breeze every now and then to take the edge off an unrelenting sun. The weather alone was propitious. We sipped lemonade and munched on nachos as Matt Cain struggled through the first three innings before settling into a groove and getting through eight scoreless. In between innings, I alternated between trying to take quick cat naps and watching the arms of the woman in front of me turn ever more brilliant shades of red.
The only blight on the afternoon was listening to the dudes behind me, whose baseball knowledge was spotty at best. "What do the backwards K's mean?" one of their female companions asked. "Not sure," they answered. They speculated that it had something to do with the sponsors, or the avoidance of spelling "KKK." "How many players are on the team?" they were asked toward the end of the game. "'Bout 30?" was their guess. They were casual fans who meant well, but man... I hope they did some good Googling when they got home.
So OFPD '10 turned out to be less about the Photo part and more about just being a Fan of what happened On Field. Three bombs and one stud pitcher were all it took to undo the frustration wrought by hundreds of Little Leaguers. As a card-carrying member of the Matt Cain Booster Club, that's fine by me.