We headed for the barbecue, where the boys loaded their plates with hamburgers and hot dogs. My son’s friends asked if they had to pay for the food and drinks, and I kept reassuring them that (a) everything was free because they were our guests, and (b) it didn’t cost me a penny since my company was footing the bill. But it spoke well of their manners that they thought to ask.
After lunch we toured the stadium. The visitor’s locker room wasn’t plush by Ritz-Carlton standards (and professional ballplayers can easily afford those rates) but it was more luxurious than the facilities at a college stadium or the local gym. Assorted scented lotions were thoughtfully laid out on the sink. Whatever happened to chewing tobacco and Jack Daniels?
The centerpiece was the door mounted on the wall behind a glass enclosure. It had hundreds of signatures from visiting ballplayers who had played in San Francisco over the years. The artifact commanded respect when our guide said that the door's value has been estimated to be about half a million dollars. Don't know if that value will ever be realized, however, since its ultimate resting place will probably be Cooperstown.
Our group crowded into the press box. Sportswriters have a tough job: they must compose unappreciated prose masterpieces for a barely livable wage. They must feign interest in the goings-on even when the Dodgers are ahead by a mile, yet they can’t be hometown fanboys either; there really is a rule that there’s no cheering in the press box. On the other hand, they get to watch what they love, and they get to watch it every day from the best seat in the house. In my next life I want to be a slacker, but being a sportswriter is almost as appealing.
We spent the last hour in the batting cages, and I even managed to make contact. Some of the old eye-hand coordination is still alive; decades of quarters dropped in pinball and videogame arcades did serve some purpose after all. © 2006 Stephen Yuen