Kids, No Chaser

TimeCapsule: Your First Ballgame

Friday, July 06, 2007 posted by Henri

We woke up pretty early that day worried about the traffic getting into the city. I had a pork butt to ghettobake for a bbq later that afternoon. You woke me up with your usual sippycup banging into bedroom door routine. You block your door as I push your sliding pajama’d 36 pounds across the wooden floor using only the force of wood against your forehead. You laugh like always and yell “Goomorning Daddy!” as you continue to slide across the floor. Finally, I can wedge myself into your bedroom. Chaos. As usual. I’m not sure when you will take over the world, but from the state of your bedroom every morning, I am sure that when you decide to make your move it will be swift, vicious and masterfully exercised. There is no other explanation I can come up with as I gaze upon strange book structures and train track monstrosities that you have constructed in the night. I know, I know…if you fail to plan you plan to fail. I get it. I asked you if you were excited to go see some baseball. You seemed more excited about eating some cheerios. We head into the kitchen together…I make you some cereal then pull out my giant pork butt. Mom’s downstairs with BabyJ. You and me are two Mans doing Mans things before a baseball game. Eating Cheerios…preparing Pork Butt. I try to get you to say Let’s Go Oakland even though we are headed to a Giants game. You think that’s funny. You think the pork butt is hilarious. I say it like fifty times. Pork Butt. Pork Butt. Pork Butt. Mom comes up the stairs with BabyJ. BabyJ is gigantic. BabyJ smiles at everything. She is sweet and good natured. The two of you still get along well. You yell “Morning Mommy!” “Morning Joda!” Everyone gets ready. Soon we’re on the road.

The morning was truly beautiful. Driving down the 80 towards the Bay Bridge. Horse track to the right of us, train tracks too. Train!Train!Train!: your mantra as we hit the bridge. Still no traffic on a beautiful Sunday morning. We cross the bridge head into the city and park on the street outside the stadium for free. Stadium parking is $35. Sunday games always have plenty of street parking. We stop in at the Donut shop across the street from the stadium. Three donuts, one croissant, one espresso, one cappuccino. You’re eating raisins when I sit down with our little white paper bags. Mom’s happy. Mom loves donuts. You, however, and the rest of your merry band of friends, have been raised on La Farine. You know the difference between a croissant and brioche. You look at the croissant warily. You know this ain’t La Farine. You eat it anyway. You’re happy.

We smile at Chinese Grandmothers sipping coffee in their Giants regalia. One man sports an orange Mohawk. The whole place is teaming with parking enforcers with their little clown cars of misery parked outside. They have Donuts too. Guns, no. Donuts, yes.

We have some time to kill before we meet up with RyRy and his parents so we cruise the neighborhood for somewhere you can run around. The Muni trains roll in on the street median every few minutes. You are absolutely amazed at your luck. Another train! OMFG Another train! What?! Another train!!! Can that possibly be yet ANOTHER TRAIN!!!11!1eleven!1 We find a little condo complex with a cool little bamboo garden. We set you free. And you’re off. If your parents weren’t so humane they would buy you one of those little human leashes. The ones that look like little teddy bears or backpacks:

“Hey what’s in your backpack little boy?”
“Actually little boy, looks like there's nothing in it”
“Sartre called it nothingness”

So off you go doing a baby version of Parkour which involves doing 95 laps around the bamboo garden while Mom nurses BabyJ and I try to keep you from running into the street. It gets closer to game time so we work our way back to the ballpark. We wait next to the statue of Willie Mays and there are Dulcinea reps giving out free fruit samples. You eat many of them.

Ryry and parents arrive, we gather our tickets and head inside the ballpark. It’s my first time in this place and I can’t help but compare it to our lovely Oakland Athletic’s ballpark. I hate to admit it but this place is really nice. A bit imagineered, but beautiful nonetheless. Our seats are on the lower deck, under the shade, and I immediately realize that a Phil&Ted’s double stroller will not fit under a stadium seat (close but no cigar). So off I go to find a place to check in the stroller.

Somewhere between finding guest services to check in the stroller and returning to our seats all hell apparently breaks loose. I get back to three empty seats. I start to scratch my head when the phone rings. It's your Mother. Your Mother is pissed. She gives me some convoluted directions on how to triangulate your present location. I eventually find you and your Mother and your Bjorned Sister next to the railing overlooking the bay. You're hugging the bars and smiling at boats. I reach down to pick you up. You scream bloody murder. BOATS! SEE BOATS! SOn, I'm gonna put you on a boat if you keep acting like that. I wrestle you up into the air and somehow throw you over my shoulder. You smile upside down at passersby trying to engage them in random nautical conversation. Unfortunately for you they do not speak toddlereese. We all get settled back into our seats and I begin to hear of your escapades while I was gone. Something about how you got into the field access ramp and were only two steps away from breaking into the sweet sweet freedom of a Major League Baseball infield. They would have tackled you son. They would have taken you down - take you down to Chinatown. There's no Thomas in Baby Jail.

So somewhere between waking up early and driving to the stadium and running around outside, there was no time for you to take your nap. You know that scene in Matrix Reloaded when that Keanu fellow is fighting a bunch of Agent Smith guys and everyone dogpiles on Senior Neo and he takes this deep breath and the whole cement floor kinda buckles in for a bit and there is this tiny moment of silence followed by this dude suddenly taking flight and tossing Agent Smiths hither and yonder? I swear I saw the area within a four seat radius around you buckle and distort a bit as you gathered yourself for this tiny silent fractional moment of distilled grace before you exploded into a raging meltdown of epic proportion. We were popping garlic fries into you as fast as we could to try and slow the onslaught. You were the acoustic version of a strobe light. Scream/Chew/Scream/Chew/Scream. Toys bounced off of your rage. If the Stadium where a plane, they would have had to pull over.

ATT park has a giant kids area. I am now a Giant's fan. So off we went. You and your buddy Ryry, me and Ryry's Dad. The wives somehow got to be the ones to sit and enjoy the game. How this came to be is beyond me. To this very day I try to assemble the chain of events that led from me sitting down wrestling you into your seat and popping garlic fries into your mouth as fast as I could to walking towards the play area while your Mom sat and watched the game.

You're not tall enough to ride the gigantic Coca-Cola slide. Meltdown #2. I hate this place.

Hey look it's Lou the Seal! You stare at Lou for a bit, comparing his face with the registry of Sesame Street characters in your brain. No match. No match. No match. Time to get creative.

"Cookie Monster"

Close. His name is Lou. Lou is new.

"Hi Loo"

You're happy again. There's no way I'm going to risk taking you back to your seat. So I call your Mother to meet us here and have some hot dogs. We're surrounded by concession stands. Some of them have a wine list. You can order Crab Louie for godsake. They serve Guinness here. I love this place.

Your Mother arrives with RyRy's Mom, RyRy fell asleep so his Dad got to carry him back to their seats. We have hot dogs and Bratwurst and Nachos and Cokes and carrot sticks. Your kids meal comes with your first baseball card. You finally start to get that drowsy look in your eyes. You fall asleep as I carry you back to our seats. When we get there it's past the sixth inning and the Giants are clobbering Arizona. I hold you throughout the rest of the game. You sleep like a little bear. Later that day we'll meet up with your other buddy Cade and his parents. We'll eat a bunch of pulled pork. You'll scream and run and fight and cry and laugh all night. But right now, your asleep on my shoulder at a ballgame on a wonderful San Francisco afternoon. Whatever may come after today, the fights the lies, the screaming or missed punches, the loneliness the fear, the misery or redemption. No matter what this world holds for you and me Son, I want you to know one thing. This moment holds truth. When all is said and done, you are my entire world. And I'm holding on as tight as I can. Giants 13, Arizona 0.

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Blogger Whit said...

Hey, in his defense, pork butt is funny.

My wife always pulls that crap too. We go do something that I've really looked forward to, and the next thing I know I'm standing next to a slide with no wife or fun in sight.

11:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was really lovely.

And I think that's what Whit meant too, 'cept he said it in Man Love language :)

9:21 AM

Blogger Sam and Lori said...

aww, we sure did make some (expensive, but priceless) memories that day, didn't we?

hey, don't be bitter about you guys being stuck in the kiddie area while we got to watch the game...we thought it would make for some quality father-son bonding time. see, your wives only have your best interests at heart. :p

11:30 AM

Blogger honglien123 said...

As long as he grows up to be an A's fan, it's all good.

And yea, pork butt IS funny.

11:56 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rather have the fruit of my loins end up as a street walker than a Giants fan. C'mon, dude. The A's are much more ghetto and fun to root for!

Meanwhile, do you want to know one of the many reasons I love you (and believe that we were separated by birth?) Because you understand the culinary excellence known as pork butt.

Question...I've been ordering ribs every week from all the best pitmasters in the country and having them FedExed to me in NYC. So far, Dreamland BBQ (Alabama) and The Salt Lick (Texas) have been the best. Got any good recommendations for me?

8:09 PM

Blogger thisislarry said...

Hey, Rabbit Dragon and I had our 1st MLB experience this year, too, also at pacbell park.

The Giants played the A's.

The A's won. Rabbitdragon was crushed.

10:01 AM

Blogger Henri said...

Well as a Californian it's not really my place to say much about BBQ. But from what little I know, it seems that the BBQ road is a long and delicious one that has many stops but only one final destination. A lot of people stay in Texas for awhile, many people linger in Kansas City, but if you stay on the road long enough it only leads to one place, North Carolina. And even in North Carolina many people will stay in Lexington for a long while, but eventually you have to reach the final stopping point. Eastern North Carolina. It's a whole pig slow cooked with not much else. No sauces or bells or whistles. And supposedly in Eastern North Carolina there's only one place that will FedEx you a care package:

10:44 AM

Blogger Henri said...

---Oh and I got a pitch for you.

Pierre and Henri on the Road

Kinda like Hunter S. Thompson meets Harold and Kumar. The Travel Channel will love it.

11:00 AM

Blogger Henri said...

Island Girl- The last time Whit expressed his Man Love to me it left a stain on my soul.

11:20 AM


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