Bob's wife and two sons turned down the ticket. So there I was with him at AT&T Park last night on Italian Heritage Night. The atmosphere was of hyper-anticipation. Would we be there on the night history was made?
In his first at bat, Barry hit a cannon shot to deep center for a double. In his second, he scorched a frozen rope single. This pitcher then was not a mystery. In his third at bat, Barry hit a ball down the first baseline that Dmitri Young easily handled, but the ump called it foul. It looked fair to me, but I guess the man in black was as anxious to see history as the rest of us. The crowd was chanting, "BAR-RY, BAR-RY." In answer to their pleading, he sent the white orb into orbit with splashdown about 415 feet from home plate. Wow! At 43 he can still do that? Barry may be unpopular almost everywhere, but in the 415, 925, 650, 408, and 415 area codes he reigns as a sports king. On the radio this morning, someone opined that this was the second biggest moment in Bay Area sports history to The Catch (which is all the more on people's minds because of Bill Walsh's recent passing).
After fireworks and celebration, we were told to watch the scoreboard for a special greeting. My first thought: oh no, not George W. That will ruin everything. Then a split second before he appeared, I divined that it would be Hank Aaron. And so it was. Down on the field joining his godson was Aaron's contemporary and, IMHO, superior as a ballplayer, the great Willie Mays. I was snapping pictures as fast as I could.
I ran out to the souvenir stand, but the line was already a hundred people long. I grabbed a few of the last "You Were There" T-shirts for Bob, me, and #3 and #4. And I feel so lucky to have been there. Say what you want, but there's drug testing now, and no 43-year old in baseball history has ever played like this.
Now that Barry has launched the recordbreaker, there's little left for the Giants. The team is terrible despite having perhaps the most feared slugger in the game (at 43?). I'm a fan so I'll still get out there for lazy days in the sun watching the occasional performances of Barry and the young pitching phenoms, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. But I'll stay here on Cloud 756 for another day or two.
Barry comes home after hitting #756.
Barry with Willie.
Bob and I wearing our "We were there" T-shirts.