The Carlyle Incident

Back in the late 1980s, I attended an afternoon Giants game with a couple of friends. We bought tickets in the left field bleachers, sitting behind a couple of 40-ish dudes from Hayward, one of whom was named Carlyle. These two had clearly had a few beers, and as the game wore on, they had a few more, becoming increasingly entertaining or obnoxious, depending on your taste in drunks.

Towards the end the game, when Carlyle and Carlyle's friend were approaching a state of perfect bliss, Mike Krukow's voice issued suddenly from the newly refurbished scoreboard. The fans in the bleachers turned in unison; after years of LED stats and yellowy Pong-style animations, the sight of genuine moving pictures playing across the Stick's scoreboard was nothing short of miraculous.
Say, Giants fans, Kruk was reading a public service announcement. The game of life lasts nine innings . . .

At the time, Kruk had yet to become a broadcast booth icon, but he was already hugely popular with rank-and-file Giants fans. In 1987, he had won 20 games as the Giants took the division, and more than that, he was a gamer who wanted the ball every fifth day, a Giants Giant who minced no words when it came to the Dodgers, the Cardinals, and whoever else happened to be part of the axis of evil du jour. When Mike Krukow spoke, people listened, even Carlyle and Carlyle's friend.

Reaching the end of the promo, Kruk left the crowd with a final thought. So, if you've had a few, Giants fans, be sure not to get behind the wheel. It was a Giant moment, a triumphant marriage between baseball, technology, and social responsibility. And around the stadium, every last driver was making a silent pledge not to touch another sip of beer before driving home, not even watery Lucky Lager. Or at least that's what I thought until Carlyle's friend thrust his middle finger at Kruk and let out a bellow at the top of his lungs: Fuck you, how do you think I got here?

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