by Ray Bergman
Game 1 - The Dream Becomes a Reality
July 26, 1996The day has arrived. I have waited over forty years for this adventure. My dream of travelling to all 28 Major League Baseball stadiums in the U.S.A. and Canada by car in a two month time frame is here. Reality is about to set in. This is my way of paying homage to the game I love, baseball.
To the hundreds of fellow dreamers who have sent me e-mail and have been waiting patiently for my dream updates, I have not forgotten you. The time is here so jump on my dream wagon. I welcome you. One part of my dream is to share my experience with baseball fans everywhere, so whether you wrote me from Singapore,Ottawa, the big cities or the farmlands of America, my wish is that I can make you as excited as I am as this dream progress. I will be sending e-mail to you or to this web site as I travel the freeways and visit all 28 stadiums. I hope my words bring back memories to those of you who have loved this game for years and years. Just sit back relax and enjoy. For the younger members of this great game, I envy you as baseball joins the twenty first century. But enough of these memories its time to pull on your favorite baseball cap, grab your beat up old glove, and head to the park with me for our first game.
Giants vs Braves at 3Com park (A.K.A. Candlestick Park)I leave my home in Northern California in short sleeves with the teperature at 97 degrees. Let me tell you it is Hot! Hot! Hot! Perfect baseball weather. I am travelling to the game with a friend of mine and we expect to meet up with three other baseball dreamers for an exciting night at the "STICK". Giant fans still call it the "stick," however it was changed to 3Com Park about six months ago for commercial reasons also known as dollars.
We travel from the East Bay across the famous Bay Bridge the same bridge that had structural failure during the 1989 earthquake. The temperature is dropping as we near the park and the fog is starting to roll in off the Pacific Ocean.
Its an hour before game time so we have time to taste the recommended 40 clove garlic chicken. A couple more cloves of garlic would have made it better but overall it was a fulfilling meal. The wind is starting to howl now as game time nears. We take a few pictures of this old and famous ballpark,stop in at the Giants office to thank them for the free tickets and parking pass and make our way to our seats,about 15 rows behind the Giants dugout.
Just before game time the usual elements take over the "stick", the wind is blowing so hard I have to shorten the strap on my baseball cap or risk losing it. The fog continues to drift in and out of the park and the temperature has dropped to a healthy 56 degrees,perfect weather for a baseball game in San Francisco in July. To paraphrase a famous author,some of the coldest winter days I ever spent were in San Francisco in the summer.
We await the start of the 7:05pm game and right on time it starts at 7:11pm. Mark Leiter is pitching for the Giants and Tom Glavin for the Braves.
The game is a low scoring affair with four excellent defensive plays, two by each club. Barry Bonds and Matt Williams take away sure hits by the Braves and Glavin gets out of the first inning with only one run scored after the Giants had the bases loaded with no one out.
Giants 1 Braves 0 after one.The game becomes a pitcher's duel until Marques Grissom of the Braves hits a two run homer off a Mark Leiter fast ball in the sixth.
Braves 2 Giants 1 after six.The game ends with the Braves winning 2 to 1. The temperature has dropped to 50 degrees and most fans are wrapped in blankets and parkas as they make their way out of the park. The "stick" has lived up to its reputation on this night. Year 2000 will see a new ball park for the Giants in the Downtown area and for most of these fans it won"t be soon enough.
This was the coldest stadium I expect to visit with 50 degrees, fog, howling winds,but I savored every minute of it. Why? Because I'm a baseball fan and I can't wait until tomorrow when my dream will take me 450 miles to the south and the big "A" of Anaheim where the Brewers and Angels hook up in a 1:05pm game on Sunday, July 28.
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© 1996 by Ray Bergman. Reproduction of all or any part of "My Baseball Dream" without the written permission of Ray Bergman is prohibited.
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