By Jonathan Swifty
It all starts with tickets. I attended an evening fundraiser in Winters and bought some raffle tickets. For me it’s early to bed and early to rise, so I left my tickets with some friends. Turns out they are honest, since I ended up with two tickets to a Giants game. For $10 worth of raffle tickets, this is the preferred way to get tickets. For other ways, you’re on your own.
Going with someone. Luckily, I have a fellow Giant fan, an old high school buddy, who will always go with me. Nope, he says, he’s going to watch the Warriors on TV instead, and besides that, he has a Monday Night Football commitment with some friends to bring French bread. Well he’s a Stoner – what’s he know about commitment? Stuck, I called a number of people to go, either friends, or guys that tolerate me (as if I can tell the difference). Found one.
Getting there. I’d always driven down early on Giants’ games, parking north of AT&T Park pointed toward Bryant. One right turn and out. Parking the last time was $25. No, says my friend, he’s got directions to BART. It’s been years since I’ve been on BART. Per his directions (supplied by his lady friend), we used the Lafayette BART station. This was for 4 reasons – right next to the Freeway, free parking on weekends and after 3 p.m., safe day and night, and by taking 680 two of us were enough for the diamond lane. We left Winters about a quarter to 5 for a 7:15 game. Traffic was nothing, and we got to BART, parked, and got $11 each worth of BART tickets.
Following directions. There were these written instructions I mentioned above, and the oral directive from my friend to do whatever people in Giants’ gear do on BART. We’d planned to get off at Montgomery (downtown), and take the Muni rail line (either N-Judah or Tri-Line) to the Ballpark. (The short answer is no – I’m not walking for 20 minutes. That’s what the Promenade is for). To our surprise, those in Giants’ gear (and in Cincinnati Reds gear) got off at Embarcadero and directed us to do the same. On leaving BART, literally 10 feet past the turnstiles, a guy at a small table was selling tickets for the Muni. A gal in a Reds shirt and cap directed us to get “senior transfers” which is Muni-speak for round trip passes to AT&T Park. We did, for about $3 apiece, and followed her (and all these Giants fans) onto Muni.
Getting Into AT&T Park. The ride to the Ballpark was uneventful, if you don’t count people offering us their seats. We declined, as there were women not seated. Leaving the Muni, we were right across from AT&T Park – we’re talking less than 100 feet. The “Reds” fan who’d directed us to Muni started towards the east side of the Park and, when I told her the ticket section number, directed us to the right towards Willy Mays’ Gate. Did I detect envy in her eyes? We had about 30 minutes to spare. I visited a corner store, for bottled water (I just can’t talk myself into paying $5.00 for bottled water at the Park). Then, it’s through the metal detectors and in.
Tickets vs Tickets. Turns out I had won “Club” tickets, upper level, to which we could go and others could not. Fewer people walking, cleaner bathrooms, water fountains, memorabilia on display, carpet, and wonderful seats with a view on the 3rd level, behind the batter’s box. The Giants scored early and often. If you know your Giants, that’s an unexpected treat. After having the traditional Hot Dog (mine with Sauerkraut), we left this “upper section” and walked the promenade, all the way around. The number of food choices still surprises me.
Back to BART. Leaving the Park, there was a crowd across the street waiting for the Muni trip back to BART. We got there just behind an elderly lady, with the crowd cordoned off and full up. The Muni folks had the crowd get closer together so these “Seniors” could get in! Number one, what is it with San Francisco and seniors, and Number two – who’s a senior? The strange thing was the Muni screeners wanted to see both my Giants ticket stub and my purchased Muni pass. Anyway, it was back to BART and then on to Lafayette. Again we declined offers to sit down and take another’s seat – even women were making the offer. Guess they had trouble seeing the real me.
Going Home. Lafayette was well lit, with accessible parking, and back to Winters we went. No San Francisco traffic, no slowdowns, no nothing.
Lesson learned on how to see a Giants’ game. Anybody got any raffle tickets?
Jonathan Swifty is a pseudonym.