Tubesox Nation Bay-cott #4: Encounters with the Wildcatter

Mssrs. Maloney and O'Doul by Night

Match-up: Mets-Giants
Date: 5/14
Weather: Windy, 61 degrees
Five-Fold Path adherence: cycle
DOOSH: $35.50

Tubesox Nation rocketed past the Mendoza line in style tonight (see Stiff-o-Meter) while the "dollars to Giants coffers" needle remained stubbornly pegged on zero. Zero. As in zip, zilch . . . yes, Billy, it's catorce de fucking mayo and we still have no bananas.

First contact with the ambos was abrupt tonight. Biking into the north wind, I spotted the Peanut Man's cousin on a deserted patch of sidewalk and pulled over to negotiate. He was either hard-up for buyers or heading into UC-land in search of some of that good stem cell mojo. Figuring it was the former, I offered twenty. Without hesitating, he handed me a ticket that said "LB 125, $39" . . . "LB" as in lower box. I blinked once, thinking that it must be the hard evening light. It still said "LB." Suddenly, I had visions of a half-empty stadium, but it was too late back out, so I bought it. Further up the street, I came across the reassuring sight of the Peanut Man, working the crowds as they passed to the ballpark. We said our hellos and I purchased a bag of nuts more as a courtesy than anything else. It was only a dollar, but the Peanut Man threw in a complimentary pack of sunflower seeds, because that's how we do business . . . shades of what they call lagniappe in New Orleans, I thought, wondering if maybe his family came from Louisiana. Whatever the case, I was glad that I hadn't backed out of the deal with his cousin. And then I pedaled off across the Lefty O'Doul Bridge and through the shadows of il Baer-McGowan Galleria to join my friends in drinking a pre-game pint of beer and catching the dying rays of the sun at the Hotel Utah, an oasis of what used to be along the phantom shores of Mission Bay. We file in during the bottom of the first, taking our seats in the single white guy section adjacent to the Korean heritage section. The clacking of the thunder sticks was awesome.

Metropolitans 7, Giants 4. No HRs, but plenty of screaming liners off the bats of the Mets, mostly.

Cruising along a scruffy stretch of Mission Bay back street after the game, I chance upon a wildcatter who's loading his bike onto the back of his vehicle. It seems like a prime spot, free parking within a leisurely walking distance of the park, so I ask him how early he arrived to snag it.
Seven-twenty, he tells me.
But that's just because the stadium was half empty?
Every game, he says. And if there's nothing here, I park around the university. The farthest I've ever had to park was up around the bar where you get off 280.
The Connecticut Yankee?
The wildcatter lets me in on his methodology. Find free street parking and bike from the car to the ballpark. If the line for the guarded bike garage is too long, lock the bike to a street rack. Preferably across 3rd Street from the Giants Dugout store where the cops hang out. Two locks. Always two locks--one for each wheel.
We get to talking about meathead kids in the bleachers and the conversation turns inevitably to Candlestick Park. I float my theory that the Candlestick crowds were different because fans didn't show up looking for fights, they showed up to cheer for the Gyros, and sometimes in the heat of the battle fights occurred.
The wildcatter agrees with me . . . to a point. Dodger games were different, he says, recalling a Dodger game when a guy was walking around the stands swinging a golf club. In the first inning. He's rolling now, so I just step aside. I used sit in the upper deck and watch the fights ripple around the lower deck. They looked like dust storms. You know why they passed the state law banning alcohol sales in the stands? Giant-Dodgers. They were on top of the Dodgers dugout, throwing bottles. He adds one last Candlestick memory, establishing the impeccability of credentials by placing himself at the center of the defining moment of Giants fandom during the long lean years. We used to buy beer just to throw at the Crazy Crab.
It's getting late, so we say goodbye and head our separate ways through the dark Mission Bay night.

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