Throwback Stories: The Crack of the Batfeatured

Throwback Stories: The Crack of the Bat {the ponytail diaries}

I remember one of the first Giants games I ever went to. It was at Candlestick (RIP) and we sat in the upper deck somewhere. I was…four? Maybe? Old enough to know “We’re at a baseball game!” but too young to understand or follow the game for more than one inning. I had these black and orange pom-poms (that are probably still somewhere in my parents’ house) and I remember everyone cheering at one point, and Mom telling me “Will Clark just hit a home run!” and I jumped up and waved the pom-poms around. (Will the Thrill was my first favorite player for no other reason than I recognized the name.)

That probably wasn’t my very first game ever (Mom? Dad? Care to confirm?), but it’s the first clear baseball memory I have. It was the first time I felt that burst of excitement, the electricity in the crowd after a big play. The first time I enjoyed one of those chocolate malts and got too much sun and probably fell asleep in the car ride home.

Now, obviously there are three clear winners when it comes to my “favorite baseball memory.” (2010, 2012, 2014.) But I’ll never forget the six games we went to in 1999 — the last year the Giants played at the ‘Stick. Sometime before the season began, I found a special “Tell it Goodbye” ticket special — a six-game package that also included seats at one of the three final games. I showed it to my dad, who didn’t need much convincing to buy five packages.

We sat in the lower deck (under the overhang, so somewhat protected by the wind) on the first-base side. As it happened, a group of guys — maybe 10 altogether? — with the same package had seats right in front of us. They were maybe college-aged or a little older. And they were so fun. They were there to have a good time, but they were all legit fans, they knew the game and they were there to watch it. They’d talk to my dad about how a certain pitcher was doing, they’d high-five us kids (I was 13, my brothers about 11 and 8 at the time), they’d teach us cheers — mom’s and my favorite being “Hey JT, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind! Hey JT! Hey JT!” (chanted like “Hey Mickey,” if you didn’t gather that, for hunky then-first baseman JT Snow).

We also learned how to play “Mound Ball” from them — at the beginning of each inning, everyone puts a dollar in a cup. One person gets to hold the cup for the inning. At the end of the inning, if the catcher or another fielder tosses the ball back to the pitcher, and the ball stays on the mound when he drops it, the person holding the cup gets to keep the money in it. If the ball ends up anywhere else (on the grass, tossed to a fan in the stands, whatever), everyone puts another dollar in, the cup gets passed to the next person, and so on.

So much about a good experience at the ballpark has to do with the people near you in the stands. I’ve watched great games that were ruined by the group of women who wouldn’t know a curveball from a line drive gossiping behind me the whole time. I’ve watched really terrible games made amusing by the antics of other fans (and copious amounts of beer). We lucked out with that package.

Linking up with Jessa and Kasey for Around the Horn — a baseball countdown linkup — on Thursdays this month as we all anxiously wait for Opening Day.

Kasey At The Bat
  • I always worry about the people who are gossiping instead of at least paying a little attention. I’ve seen way too many people get hit with a foul ball. also I hate when people automatically assume since I’m a girl I don’t know what’s going on + I blame those ladies for that!! I went to a Braves/Giants game at AT&T in like. 2011? and the fans around us were fantastic, but when I went to the bathroom (in my braves gear, obviously) these women CORNERED me + got all up in my face about how I wasn’t somewhere I should be, I really thought I was done for. hahaha! I’m glad you’re one of the better giants fans! thaaaank you for linking up!!! I’m having so much fun with this today!!

    ps sorry this is like, a book.

    • Hah, I totally almost got hit once — not by a foul ball, it was between innings and one of the outfielders tossed a ball into the crowd. I was on my phone trying to figure out where my friend, who was meeting me at the game but in the wrong seat, was. An usher literally reached over and caught the ball right before it broke my face. I was so embarrassed.

      And I’m sorry girls were mean to you at AT&T! Most people are pretty cool, unless you’re a Dodgers fan. Hope it didn’t ruin your experience at the game!

  • I love the idea of Mound Ball… Haven’t played that before but I could definitely see us having a good time with it with my group of friends 🙂

    • It’s fun! The best part, though, is watching someone play it, because you’ll see a group of people goofing off and joking around during the game, and then at the end of the inning they’re all SO focused on where the ball ends up.