Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Returned My Heart (and Soul) to San Francisco, part 3

So I had agreed to meet Craig (Big Flavor, Magnus Flavorus), progenitor of the Giants-proud and smart blog, at MoMo's around 2:30 or 3. At around 1 p.m. or so, yes, the atmosphere was galvanic, but it was still manageable. (The sequence may be off on some of this, but who will sue me?) I called my brother in Boston, a baseball fan, and told him of my media mugging and hogging camera time and tried to convey the scene. "Stay out of harm's way," he said. Harm? In paradise?

I strolled out to McCovey Cove, out on the other side, out by the statue. I felt bad I had not paid homage to it and to Stretch last year. Willie McCovey is kind of in exile out there; last year, I thought it unfair, a slight to position the statue out there. Not sure now. I like the view. Took some shots, had someone take a picture of me, saw a nice little kids' ballfield nearby. Does anyone use it? A Mercury News vendor had Fear the Beard placards. Beat the Rangers. Four for a dollar. I grabbed one for my younger daughter. Gave the guy a buck. It was a feeding frenzy, like sharks. Wild. You'd think they were gold nuggets. Then I went to the Dugout Store, having promised my wife and daughter some swag. It was already filled with excited customers, lines snaking confusedly throughout the store. I easily dropped over $100, plastic: three shirts, program/scorecard, and a lanyard with a plastic pouch for a World Series ticket I didn't have and knew I wouldn't and didn't care all that much. I might've been in the store close to an hour. And that was being fortunate enough to get into one of the shorter lines. Great chat with a few very smart fans, partial? full? season ticket holders who were bowled over hearing about my pilgrimage. "Had to do it. Wouldn't you?"

By the time I exited the store, maybe 1:45, nearly 2, the whole nature of things had changed. Guards were letting people in and out, lines were formed outside. It was crazy. I figured I'd better get over to MoMo's because I was getting hungry and I knew it was going to get crazier and I was thinking maybe Craig was already there. MoMo's was a mob. Bouncers. Party. Loud. Patio packed. Craig had said, "I'm 6 feet 6," and we both had seen photos of each other. In one email he said, "I'll have a Giants hat," and I was naive enough to take the bait, briefly. "You and 300,000 others." I got into MoMo's, which itself was not easy, with hurly-burly lines and bustling and hustling. I scoured the bar and the dining room. No Magnus. Every other guy looked 6 feet 6, with a Giants hat. So I thought maybe he had made reservations, and inquired at the front desk. "We don't have anything for that name." (His real name.) I stood outside on the steps. Overcast sky. Rowdy crowd. I don't drink and don't like bars and I almost just bolted. (One interesting side note: I think one of the bouncers almost mistakenly turned away the owner's trophy wife. Almost. Funny.) I decided to go inside and try to eat. After all, every place was going to be crowded. Ordered a burger and fries, soda. Two young ladies with Giants jackets who were sitting at the bar helped me to get the bartender's attention. They came from L.A.! Love the Giants and are huge Lakers fans! Strange. One of them let me take her seat while she roamed around and went to the bathroom. Perfect. A sitdown meal. Then I got a text, or was it a call? or both? from Craig. He was nearby. 2:30 or so? I walked across the street and stood by the Orlando Cepeda statue and we exchanged texts, and as I was calling him, there he was. Tall. Probably even 6'6''. He bestowed a necklace of black beads on me like a Hawaiian potentate conferring honors on a visiting diplomat from Iceland, or Syracuse. We must've walked around the whole stadium. Once. Twice? It was an instant connection, and we both marveled at what was taking place before our eyes. And we were part of it. No mistaking that. Things were getting even more amped up now. The Cove had literally dozens of kayaks and boats; it featured one boat with young curvaceous dancers gyrating against and around a mast quite, um, professionally to the beat of music.

Craig: "So you're just going to stay out here?" "Yeah." "That's great." He had a free ticket through the generosity of a boyhood friend (in fact, it was possible some other Flappers were going to meet us; didn't happen; logistics. And I had made tentative and potential plans to meet my friend Peter, a local guy, but that didn't happen either, though Peter and I spent valuable and valued time together Tuesday evening, including dinner at Bund Shanghai in Chinatown; Mongolian lamb. And did I forget to tell you that Nancy Pelosi and crew walked right by me just after I arrived at SFO on Tuesday? No, I hadn't told you; she was on her cell; I was on mine, talking to Denis in 'Cuse. But I parenthetically digress). Craig had to arrange to meet his friend inside the cathedral, the inner sanctum, but figured he'd get to see me again. "I think I'll just stay out here by the Cove and get in this line over here. This looks like the line for the Knothole; it looks as if this is the line." "Really?" "Pretty sure; if not I can just hang out here or even see through those archway openings a bit. Yeah. Enjoy the game." "All right, man." Before that, he got someone in the line to snap some pix. It was pretty funny. The dude was all fussy and bothered and put out and Craig gave it right back to him. "It's just a picture. I don't want to tire you out or anything." The guy just didn't get it. And we departed.

And thus began my standing in line for, what, three or four hours. Awaiting the pure voyeuristic delights of the Knothole. Maybe.


Pawlie Kokonuts said...

The photos look so gray and overcast but it felt so bright and shiny.

Flavor said...

Fabulous recount, Paul. Easily one of my top 5 favorite days of my life. Loved the bead-analogy.