Baseball, (my) memory, and baseball memories

Well, today I learned I’ve been to 22 major league baseball games. I know that there are people who go to more than that many games in a year, to whom I ask: can I borrow your season tickets sometime?

I don’t really have anything profound to say, to be honest. I love baseball, and this list is my challenge to myself to see if I could remember every game I’d ever attended. After going through my original list that I started in a Word doc, I remembered about seven more games (including a few in 2010 – I completely forgot I’d been to so many, and I’d like to take credit now for propelling the Giants to their first World Series in San Francisco).

Huge shoutout to Baseball Reference, as well – often I could remember who pitched, which teams played, or which team won, but not the exact date, and this site was an invaluable resource to fill in those gaps. I’m including links to each game, so if anything, we can remember together that wait what I might have seen Orel Hershiser play?

Anyway, if anyone goes through this whole list, I’d love to hear about your experiences at these ballparks, with these teams, or just any baseball-related things you’d like to share! And if you have a favorite ballpark you think I should visit, it would be super fun to hear about it.

Enjoy!

(Sorry the photos don’t start until a few games in; I didn’t own a digital camera until around the time they start appearing here.)

Mets @ Giants – August 14 or 15, 1999

  • The reason I can’t remember the exact date is that I only remember that the Giants lost, Barry Bonds played, and that the giveaway was a J.T. Snow-and-son height chart. Both of those games fit the first two criteria, and my research has not revealed at which of these games that giveaway occurred.
  • If memory serves, this was the first (and last) game I attended at Candlestick Park, and as it was the final season the Giants played there, all the souvenir cups had “Tell it Goodbye” written on them.

Red Sox @ A’s – July 30, 2000

  • I narrowed it down to this game because I remember Jason Isringhausen pitched, and this was the only game in that series where a closer was necessary. His name barely fit on his jersey.
  • Both times I’ve seen the Red Sox play, they’ve lost. Excellent.

Red Sox @ Orioles – August 11, 2001

  • This was Cal Ripken, Jr.’s final season, so souvenir cups abound once more. He went 3-for-3 with a walk and it was incredible.
  • I have a photo album I made from this trip, which included requisite stops in New York and New Jersey to see family as well as the DMV area, and for whatever reason, all I can recall going in that album from this game is a photo of Trot Nixon leading off for the Red Sox. Why, 11-year-old Christine? Why?

Unknown @ Giants – 2004

  • I just didn’t assign much meaning to this game, as it was a middle school field trip and I don’t think any of my friends went. Here’s what I do remember: The Giants were at home, they lost, it was a day game, and it was also a non-Friday weekday. This means they either played the Brewers on 4/14, the Padres on 4/22, the Marlins on 4/29, or the Phillies on 5/13 (I’m telling you, bbref is unbeatable).

Rockies @ Giants – April 10, 2005

  • Joe Kennedy started for the Rockies and gave up 9 runs. Then he died two years later at age 28 and I suddenly felt very bad about having been to this game.
  • This was my first time seeing Jason Schmidt pitch. He was my #1 pitcher fave 4 lyfe until he went to the Dodgers, but then Tim Lincecum (hereafter “Timmy”) took his place, so it was fine.

Dodgers @ Giants – August 19, 2006

The Dodgers fans near us kept hesitantly chanting “First place…” as the Giants fans chanted “Beat LA!”
  • My aunt, uncle, and cousins were in town from New York, and this ended up my family’s first experience with Craigslist. We drove out to San Francisco after purchasing the tickets, and my uncle met up with the guy, and for Craiglist in a large city in 2006, it was a very pleasant and smooth experience. (I can’t remember the guy’s name, but “meeting up with [guy]” became a running joke for the next couple years.)

Marlins @ Giants – August 20, 2008

  • Fun fact: First time seeing Matt Cain pitch.
  • Less fun fact: First time being hospitalized for anxiety a few hours after the game.

Astros @ Giants – July 4, 2009

  • Oh, Timmy. Even you couldn’t rock those hideous hats.
  • This was my first time seeing Timmy pitch, and it went pretty amazingly. Seven innings of three-hit, nine-strikeout ball, plus he got on base via the walk twice. And the Giants won 9-0.
  • Remember when the Astros were bad?

Phillies @ Giants – August 1, 2009

  • My second Timmy game. (I have to lead off with the important stuff. Here’s a bonus photo I took of him in the dugout.)
  • This was my first and only time sitting in the infield club level at AT&T Park, and my goodness, my friend Adam and I did not deserve to live in such luxury. Look at the view we had???

Cardinals @ Giants – April 23, 2010

  • ORANGE FRIDAY. GIANTS WEARABLE BLANKET GIVEAWAY NIGHT.
  • There are photos of me daring to wear the “wearable blanket” (read: Snuggie) at the game (which actually makes sense, considering how cold it gets at AT&T at night), but I will not share those, thank you. Currently, it is being used as a blackout curtain because we are cheap.
  • Timmy game #3 for me.
  • Also, Albert Pujols went 1-for-4, including the above-pictured strikeout.

Orioles @ Giants – June 14, 2010

  • We – my sister, my friend Heather, and me – had special event tickets for this game that entitled us to having to traverse the “Giants County Fair” next door (pictured) to receive “Pandoval” bobbleheads. It was also “Zoo Night.” There was also a Halloween celebration, complete with on-field costume contest, because both teams’ colors are orange and black.
  • This matchup was one I always wanted to see, as I was born near Baltimore and have been told that my first-ever baseball game may have been at Camden Yards when I was a baby.
  • I would also like to add that this game dropped the Orioles to 17-47 on the season. By June 14 of this season, the Giants were 26-41. So this season is not even that bad, Giants fans.

Yankees @ A’s – July 5, 2010

  • This game was brilliant. It was my first time seeing the Yankees, the All-Star infield of A-Rod, Jeter, Canó, and Teixeira were all reporting for duty, and Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera pitched the last two innings. Oh, and the Yankees won.
  • Lukewarm take: the Coliseum is a garbage stadium. There were only 27,000 people in attendance (and it felt like a solid half were Yankees fans, including myself) and it still took ten minutes to get to our seats.

Marlins @ Giants – July 29, 2010

  • The Giants were one-hit. The one hit did not come off Buster Posey’s bat, so his 21-game hitting streak ended.
  • This was my first time seeing Resident Young Upstart/Small Child (was about to turn 21) Madison Bumgarner pitch. It did not go well for him.

Giants @ Rockies – August 4, 2010

For some reason, the only photo I can find from this game is of me. Sorry.
  • For some reason, this never crossed my mind, but this was my first time seeing the Giants play somewhere other than Candlestick/Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T Park. Coors Field is really nice.
  • This was my second time seeing Resident Young Upstart/Small Child (had just turned 21) Madison Bumgarner pitch. It did not go well for him.

Cubs @ Giants – August 10, 2010

The Giants’ on-field bullpen is a gift.
  • My friend Christina and I sat next to a Cubs fan who looked a lot like Justin Chambers (Alex from Grey’s Anatomy), so I was trying really hard to research on my phone whether it was possible that he was a Cubs fan. He is not.
  • Timmy game #4 (and – barring a miracle – my last time seeing him pitch live).

A’s @ Twins – September 18, 2010

  • (I seriously went to seven games in 2010? That feels like so many now that the closest MLB stadium to me is a three-hour drive.)
  • During this game, I bought a Joe Mauer shirt, ate frozen yogurt out of a plastic baseball cap, and watched the A’s lose, all in the first season of a brand-new stadium, so it was a pretty spectacular day.

Cubs @ Giants – June 1, 2012

  • As it happens, I have been to a game where both (a) the Cubs lost, and (b) Madison Bumgarner won.
  • I honestly don’t remember much from this game, so I looked through the bbref page to see if anything sparked my attention. Nothing happened, so I went back through my photos from the game and found this beauty. (They were strangers, and had just realized they were wearing the same glasses.)

Diamondbacks @ Rangers – June 12, 2012

  • Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, or whatever the hell it’s called now, claims to be the “loudest ballpark in baseball.” There were nearly 40,000 people at this game, and I didn’t get that sense. I did, however, get the sense that they probably have the loudest PA system in baseball.
  • They served alligator po’ boys during the 2012 season. Apparently, alligator tastes pretty okay.

Royals @ Cardinals – June 17, 2012

  • This was a fifteen-inning, five-hour game and I only had the cash for one beer, so it got pretty old after a while (is it just me, or is beer served at ballparks named after beer way more expensive?). I also got sunburned for the first time in about 6 years.
  • I’m not saying I wouldn’t go back – especially since it was probably the best parking experience I’ve had at any stadium, rivaled only by Target Field – but I’m not, like, jumping to see a Cardinals game again or anything.
  • Cool view, though.

Giants @ Yankees – July 23, 2016

  • Another dream matchup! Also, my first time at Yankee Stadium! Also also, my first time seeing Johnny Cueto pitch!
  • This is a great, great stadium, but my goodness was the process getting into the ballpark slow. I’m not sure how other stadiums avoid the people gridlock so well – or if I usually just get to games earlier – but no one knew which masses of people were lines and which were just large groups of people.
  • But once we got inside…yes. You can absolutely tell this stadium was built during the 21st century because of all the screens.
  • My aunt bought her and my uncle and myself these seats and was worried they wouldn’t be good. They were in the shade, and on padded fold-out chairs rather than actual hard plastic baseball seats, so they were excellent.
  • Also, the Giants won in extras, so that is a major yes to free baseball this time.

Giants @ Royals – April 19, 2017

  • I never thought I’d see the Giants twice in one year (not season) again, but here I was, seeing the Giants twice in nine months. Thank goodness for interleague play.
  • MadBum pitched, and lost. Then he got into that dirt bike accident and didn’t pitch again until July.
  • When I first got to Kauffman, I ended up sitting next to an older guy who was very impressed by the fact that I’d driven down from Des Moines for the day. We talked baseball, who was in the Giants’ lineup these days (it was his first time seeing them!), and then his friend showed up and they ended up moving to a different area. Super nice guy, though.

Atlanta @ Brewers – April 29, 2017

  • I tailgated! At a baseball game! For the first time! With Hannah! And then we bought extremely expensive craft beer (see “stadiums named after beer” note above)! Which made the fact that the Brewers lost very bearable!
  • It was $1 hot dog night, and even though Twitter told me to eat 15 of them, I only ended up with…substantially fewer than that.
  • This was my first time being in a baseball stadium with a roof, and luckily, there was a terrible thunderstorm outside, so the roof was closed. It is super surreal watching baseball indoors.
  • Finally, Hannah and I made a video after the game:

The top photo is a stock photo from Pexels of the Rogers Centre in Toronto, a stadium (and baseball atmosphere) that I would love to experience someday.