Monday, July 09, 2007

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks...

The fact the All-Star Game is being played at Pac Bell... no, SBC... no, AT&T Park has been hard to miss. Tonight is the Home Run Derby and I decided to walk down to the Park during my lunch hour and take a peek.

It's a beautiful day. The fog creeping through the Golden Gate has stuck to the tops of the East Bay Hills. The breeze is brisk and from the West. The first sign that something is going on is that Pier 28, behind Red's Java House is full of white tents and has two auto trailers of black, full-sized Chevy pick-up trucks. The line of portapotties is wrapped in advertisements for Chevy, featuring a batter, a fielder, and a catcher in the same graphic style as the logo to the left.

I didn't think to bring my camera to work, so I can't show you the different graphics decorating the Embarcadero sidewalk. They're kind of cool, featuring a ball splashing in water, kayakers, the Golden Gate Bridge, the front of a cable car, and the clock tower of the Park. They may be done by the same artist who designed the signs for the different parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area--I've asked around, but no one seems to know.

About three piers from the Park, some kids have set up a lemonade-and-homebaked cookie stand. $1.50 will buy you a 16 oz. cup of lemonade; $1.00 will buy two homemade chocolate chip cookies. The stand is named "3 Brothers"--mom was busy chasing the youngest of the three when I passed by. The ship chandler/nautical decor shop had signal flags out and its doors wide open. Carmen's at Pier 40 was selling bottles of soda and energy drinks on the sidewalk. The kayaking rental place advertising "tours" of McCovey Cove--and possibly a chance to snag a home run ball.

The crowds were already lining up at the gates in front of metal detectors. Signs were posted detailing the security procedures. Oddly, they seemed to be only in English. The garbage cans, however, were labeled "Trash," "Bottles and Cans," and "Compostible" in English, Spanish, and Chinese. And they were color-coded.

There is already quite a crowd of kayakers and small boats in McCovey Cove. The U.S. Coast Guard has a boomed off the area in front of the Lefty O'Doul Memorial Drawbridge and has a small boat anchored there. The entrance to the Cove is also boomed off, so only small craft can get in. San Francisco Police Department has their Marine Unit boat tied up and has patrolmen on jet skis (the bigger ones). And the Port of San Francisco has their security boat out.

The only groups I didn't see were the Navy and the Fire Department.

My favorite small craft, though, is the raft painted half in the yellow-and-green of the Oakland A's and half in the black-and-orange of the San Francisco Giants. They have an ice chest and a beach umbrella!

The plaque in front of the Seal is missing, which is too bad. San Francisco's first pro baseball team was the Seals (Oakland had the Oaks), during the Pacific Coast Conference days. The Giants' mascot, Lou Seal, and the statue are a tribute to the previous team.

Several local restaurants have vendors' carts in strategic locations in case you become hungry or thirsty while waiting in line. No extra portapotties that I noticed--a serious oversight, as far as I'm concerned!

Walking back, I looked up at the Bay Bridge, stately, gray, and utilitarian. The logo on the American League and National League shirts feature the gaudy orange of the Golden Gate Bridge. She gets all the scenic shots and the regional symbolism. The only time the Bay Bridge was mentioned during a ball game was when a section collapsed in 1989 during the World Series--on the Oakland side.

Lots of people, early as it is, lots of baseball jerseys, lots of cameras. So far, everyone is in a good mood and happy. Kids are playing catch on the green. Guys are pounding the pockets of their gloves, hoping to catch a piece of history.

It's a nice break from real life.