[Edit.: Redleg Nation was out in full force in San Francisco. Mike Burns, who lives in Washington D.C. but grew up in Cincinnati, took in the Sunday game with his family. Here's Mike's report. Thanks, Mike! -- spm]
I grew up in Cincinnati and graduated from Moeller High School in 2006 – a few years after Junior and Barry. For the past nine years, I have lived in Washington D.C. and have grown accustomed to cheering on the Reds away from the friendly confines of Great American Ballpark. Given my familiarity behind enemy lines, I figured I could share my experience of watching the Reds/Giants series finale.
I found myself in San Francisco the same weekend as the Reds purely by coincidence, having flown in for a family reunion in Sonoma Valley. As I gazed at the Reds schedule months after booking my flight, I realized the Reds would be in town and could not pass up the opportunity to see a game at AT&T Park with my parents who were visiting as well.
We took the BART to the Stadium which conveniently drops you off right outside the ballpark. As we walked up to AT&T Park surrounded by Giants fans, I immediately felt out of place. I couldn’t tell if it was because I am a Verizon customer or because of the way we were dressed
After we entered the stadium, the first thing I did, like any good Reds fan, was find a beer which were being auctioned off for $10.25 – taxes aren’t the only thing expensive in California. I was also told that I had to have the garlic fries – a staple at Giants stadium. They are actually just fries covered in oily garlic which begs the question as to why all fries are not covered in oily garlic.
I had heard a lot of good things about AT&T so we walked around before the game started. The stadium did not disappoint and the only eye sore in the whole park was Hunter Pence. As I’m sure everyone knows, the ballpark is situated right on the water, much like GABP is situated right on the pristine shores of the Ohio River. Here is a picture of what I named Todd-Frazier-Cove.
After we explored, we found our seats and settled in for the game. Since everyone on Redleg Nation is accustomed to reading the eloquent prose of the Reds game recaps, I’ll attempt to be concise with my main takeaways.
- In case you were not aware, Billy Hamilton is fast. He looked fast just jogging out of the dugout before the game started. I’m fairly certain he reached first on his single before the sound of the ball connecting with his bat was audible. Notice where this panda was grazing bamboo when Billy was up to bat.
- Watching Brandon Phillips bat cleanup in person is just as silly as it looks on TV.
- There is absolutely no need for anyone to worry about earthquakes causing mass destruction in the Bay Area. If San Francisco can withstand the seismic activity of Brayan Pena thundering his way around the bases for a triple then there is nothing to be concerned about. As a side note, if Billy hit the same ball he could have rounded the bases twice.
- A lot of the players look bigger in person. Todd Frazier is not one of them. He looks like a teenager eagerly awaiting puberty when he will finally fill out his older brother’s hand-me-down Reds jersey. I’m constantly befuddled by where he gets his power. The only rational explanation is that he fell into some radioactive waste puddle and emerged as Super-Todd. With that being said, he may be my favorite Reds player and is clearly the vocal leader in the clubhouse. When he singled to lead off the 9th inning he was yelling at the Reds dugout on his way to first to get them fired up. It worked and the Reds expedited some Giants fans to the exit by putting up three runs in the top of the ninth.
- Giants fans DO NOT like Joey Votto and were booing him most of the game. There was one instance where a foul ball bounced back into the field about 10 yards behind where Joey was standing. Joey stood where he was while the ball boy ran a good distance to get the ball. I couldn’t tell if Joey just didn’t know the ball had bounced back behind him but, whatever the case may be, Giants fans used it as an excuse to boo Votto which continued the rest of the game. Obviously, booing Sir Votto is an unspeakable act of hubris against baseball deities, which cemented the Giants’ fate to lose.
- Other than the aforementioned Votto-booing, I was fairly impressed with Giants fans. I’m used to watching Reds games in Washington D.C. when they play the gnats. D.C. fans are mostly fair-weather bandwagon transients that are not good enough baseball fans to continue rooting for their original team. Giants fans, on the other hand, know their baseball and seem to have a good number of die hard fans.
- Homer pitched great. Before his No-No was Buster’d in the 7th inning, there was only one ball that was hit hard. Everything else was a lazy pop-up or weak ground ball. I’m not sure if the Giants hired Dusty Baker as their hitting coach, but they were hacking early in the count and creating a lot of quick outs for Homer.
A work of art
All in all, seeing the Reds reduce the Giants to midgets was definitely a San Francisco treat.
Victory Formation …. with a broom.