Baseball Travelogue

Date: 17 Jul 2000
From: Frances Whitney <>

This weekend Mark and I went up to San Francisco to haul another load of Leonard's stuff up to him, and to bring back an antique treadle sewing machine that Leonardw's roommate Doug gave me. After all my years of trying to talk Aunt Margaret out of her treadle sewing machine, I finally have one!

Rachel and I spent the day moving all my classroom stuff from Chipman to our living room and then Mark picked me up when he got home from work and we headed north with things for Leonard, including one of Nancy's bookcases that I used to have in my classroom. It was pretty late and we decided to forego Pea Soup Andersons and the blandishments of Javier, since an off-ramp Denny's would probably be faster. This may have been a mistake, since the service was even more slow than Javier's. My veggie-cheese omlette was wonderful, but Mark's sandwich was fully an inch and a half skinnier than the very same sandwich I had earlier this month at the Denny's in Provo. We got to SF about midnight, to find LeonardW sweeping the floor and Leonardr already in bed. Mark crashed in the guest room and I took the living room couch, from which I was awakened at dawn by (cat) Miles sharpening his claws on the oriental rug beside me.

I went back to sleep but woke up about 8 to meet Leonardw's (new?) boyfriend, a very personable and sharp fellow who teaches economics at UC Berkeley. They were going running in Golden Gate Park. I liked this guy --- whose name escapes me; I'm sorry-- very much. He has a lilting Scots accent and a winning smile. The irony of having a Scotsman teaching economics is not lost on me. Leonardr asked me if I interrogated him as to whether he subscribes to Adam Smith's theories; I don't know, and didn't think to ask because I wasn't awake enough. I just hope he didn't think Leonard's sister is entirely a slug-a-bed. (He can't have been impressed with my morning hairdo!)

Mark and I took Leonardr out to the weekend brunch buffet at the Marie Callendars on Serramonte Blvd. This Marie's is highly recommended; so much better than any of the others I've ever eaten at, including the old one on Wilshire. Ironically, there was an antique sewing machine perched above our booth and I had quite the discussion with the waitress about it, as she sews too and loves old machines. I didn't dare climb into the lap of the man in the booth behind us to inspect the tension mechanism, badly as I wanted to. (See the tension, not sit in the guy's lap.) Mark and Leonard made some mechanical (aeronautics) jokes that were quite lost on me, but they were amused with each other. I told them how impressed I was with Leonard's boyfriend.

Mark (who was still asleep when the boyfriend came over) said, "So he wasn't a flamer, then?" and Leonard did his wonderful Uncle Leonard imitation, "Frances, I've brought home a real flamer", which cracked us all up. We thoroughly stuffed ourselves and then dropped Leonardr off at home in time to head out for the Giants game.

As you may know, the Giants have a wonderful new stadium. "We" were playing the A's, and I was looking forward to a visit to the new ballpark, which was expediently accomplished by walking down the hill from Leonard's house to the BART station. The SF Muni had a special shuttle train from the BART station that leaves you right at the ballpark. The architecture is spectacular, all red brick and very compatible with that area of waterfront San Francisco.

There is a really nice statue of Willie Mays by the front entrance. I took a picture of Mark by it, and we spent some time in the dugout store, where he bought a white polo shirt with a team logo and I bought a heavy black wool letter sweater, for which I was grateful as the afternoon wore on. I told Mark about my friend Art's Brooklyn Dodgers jacket, and Mark got all envious.

We had some wonderful box seats right behind home plate which I had gotten off the Net from someone who had season tickets. The view was absolutely spectacular, looking over the ball diamond toward the bay, where sailboats bobbed and the waves lapped in the sunshine. They have trained dogs which retrieve any home run balls hit into McCovey Cove. I thought that was a nice tribute to Willie, to name the cove surrounding the ballpark after him.

The one fly in the ointment is an obnoxious Pacific Bell ad below the scoreboard, which trumpets that the telephone is once again our friend. As everyone knows, Pacific Bell is NOT our friend, and no amount of wonderful ballpark can make up for that!

We sat with a nice man and his little four year old boy, Antoine. They had also gotten tickets from the same fellow on the Net. Antoine is named after Dvorzak, and a very sweet kid. This man told us that the stadium is never windy, no matter what the weather outside; I gathered he and Antoine attend every home game, since Antoine knew all the players and their stats by heart, even though he is only four. At one point, Dad left to go to the bathroom and left Antoine and his hot dog in care of me and Mark (The hot dog vendor was, coincidentally, also named Antoine.) The minute the dad left, the kid took a huge bite of his Giant Dog and spurted ketchup all over himself, his seat, and the back of the man in front of him. His eyes got all huge and he was really worried about this assult on another Giants fan, but I told him the man could wash his shirt and I went to the ladies' room to get paper towels to clean the kid up. We decided not to tell the man he had been splattered. Eventually, the Dad and Antoine went to stand closer in where Antoine though he'd have a better chance of catching a foul ball, and the ketchup guy was none the wiser. I hope the kid did get a ball; Barry Bonds, the hero of Trevor Olson, the boy in our ward who died of cancer last December, hit nothing but! We were hoping Trevor could help Bonds out in some sort of angelic fashion, but Trevor was obviously occupied elsewhere. Hiding in some corner of the universe in disgust, no doubt.

The Giants played terribly and I spent a lot of time time telling Mark stories of the old days at Candlestick, how Dad and Robert went to every game waiting for Willie Mays to break Babe Ruth's record, how Mom suddenly got interested in baseball after Dad took the widow down the street and her little boy to the game, etc. I really wish Dad were around to see this glorious new ballpark, even though he would have been quite put out with the quality of the Giants' pitching and fielding in this game. They were just no match for the A's. Mark was not as upset about it was I was, since he was raised as a Dodger fan.

We left at the top of the eighth, since it was hopeless, and huffed and puffed our way up the hill home. That little hike made us feel better about eating Marie Callendar's and ballpark food all day. Then we loaded up the sewing machine and drove back to Bakersfield-- a quickie trip but a lot of fun, and easy to do. I recommend it to everyone, since we have family so handy for a visit to "The City."