Before we left for California, I mentioned something I knew of the state, from a Dave Eggers book in which two brothers drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, listen to “Don’t Stop Believin’” and play frisbee like golden gods following the deaths of their parents. Posh and I at Petco Park were sort of like the frisbee scenes.
“When we (roll) the world stops and gasps. We (roll) so far, and with such accuracy, and with such ridiculous beauty. We are perfection, harmony, young and lithe, fast like Indians.”
“We look like professionals, like we’ve been playing together for years. Busty women stop and stare. Senior citizens sit and shake their heads in wonder. Religious people fall to their knees. No one has ever seen anything like it.”
The stadium is wonderful, of course. They have certain California touches, such as a big sandbox behind the right field wall where kids dig in the sand next to a giant, roped-off “Padres” sand sculpture.
There are all these condominiums and office buildings behind the park, and many people were standing on their balconies and peering down on the game. After the game we explored the area behind the stadium.
There is a whole courtyard back there with a grassy hill and a giant statue of Tony Gwynn. During the game, people can just lay on the hill and watch the game — looking over the sandbox, or at the projection screen set up on the back of the batter’s eye. Or they could watch kids play on the mini-baseball field, much smaller and simpler than Helfaer Field. Not only is that a great fan experience, but if the team makes the playoffs it could cram in an extra 1,500-ish fans.
The courtyard is penned in by a fence and the neighboring condos/office buildings. I’m not sure how the ticketing works, but it would seem a resident or worker at one of those buildings could just walk out the back entrance to their building and catch the last couple innings of a game like this.
The Padres seemed to have several mascots. We did not see the infamous San Diego Chicken, but we did see the Swinging Friar, who just gave us this vague sense of unease. The team has two other mascots: one seemed to be Clifford the Big Red Dog, who went around putting people’s Brewers and Angels caps under his armpits, and the other seemed to be a Grateful Dead bear.
After the game, we went out for a drink, dinner and more drinks in the Pacific Beach neighborhood. We spent all of Friday on the beach. With no sunscreen. Which gave me very bad sunburn.
Despite this, we went out — to a pizza joint/bar which had a huge fucking ceiling fan. This had its pros and cons: everybody’s hair was blown about ever so slightly as if they were shooting a shampoo commercial, it cooled my sunburn, it kept everyone dancing from sweating, it dried out my contacts and was irritating/hypnotizing me to sleep, like a kitten.
We went back to the beach on Saturday, and by the end of the day we were exhausted. Back at Posh’s friend Emily’s apartment, we sprawled out and watched the Olympics. I realized, I had no idea if the Brewers had won on Friday night.
“Last night was the first game all year that I didn’t watch — or monitor, I guess — in any way,” I said to Emily while Posh stretched out on the living room floor. “I had either listened to, watched, watched on an online live box score or been to every other game this year.”
To that date, that meant 122 games.
“John…” Emily said, searching for delicate words. “… that’s… weird.”
“Yeah… that is weird, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it really is.”
“… Do you mind if I check the box score online?”
The box score refreshed itself and told us the Brewers beat the Dodgers in L.A., in 10 innings, while we watched Michael Phelps break some world records in between a trip to Pita Pit and Fat Burger. On the plane ride back to MKE on Sunday, I was able to tune in the game on the plane’s satellite radio. We missed an exciting pinch hit by Ryan Braun while we were picking up our luggage.
And by tomorrow evening, by the time Posh and I return from watching C.C. take on the Pirates at Miller Park, there will be 131 games played. That’s 130 that I’ve either listened to, watched, watched on an online live box score or been to this year. I’m a simple man (I forgot my wallet in my swim trunks when I tried surfing — twice), with simple pleasures. Although I won’t remember everything from every game I poured attention on this season, thanks to Posh and the hospitality of Emily and Laura, I’ll always remember where I was for that 123rd game.
Here they are again, those lithe little Indians.