I bid adieu to the cold toilet seats in the bleachers, the outfield fence, the malted vendor of long ago that used to wear eyeglass frames without lenses and the one night my friends wandered the parking lot, lost inside a thick fog.
Now that Candlestick Park has officially closed, here are my top five memories at the old ballpark:
5) The Rush – On one chilly summer evening, when my girlfriends and I were watching the San Francisco Giants, we watched everyone in the bleachers rush the single guarded gate that divided them from the rest of the empty stadium seats. It was a well coordinated effort done while the opposing team was a bat, abruptly stopping the game for a moment as everyone in the nicer seats stood up to cheer. Unfortunately, security was sent after them, and many were shipped back to the bleachers.
4) The Move – Okay…I was not at the ballpark for this one. Instead, I was at home in Los Angeles watching Vin Scully call the entire final game played by the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park. Scully is a wealthy of information, but his library of colorful memories between the Dodgers and Giants came to roost in the countless stories he related on that particular afternoon. KCAL even broadcast the transition of home plate from the ‘Stick to the new Pac Bell Stadium via helicopter, with Scully providing the color commentary and more highlights. Even if you hate the Dodgers as I do, Vin Scully is a treasure for both teams.
3) Death – This particular one is not a highlight. Instead, in the worst things I have ever seen at Candlestick Park, my friend and I watched some guy from the upper deck fall to his death after the 12th consecutive SF Giants loss. His body landed onto the seats, the force of impact sending the back of one seat flying into the temple of a man leaving the game. We were sitting behind the dugout at the time, and I turned to see the face of the stunned players. My friend escorted me through the stadium, trying his best to make sure that I never saw the final mess. Bless him.
2) No Hitters – Back when no hitters were a once every four or five year event if not done by Nolan Ryan, I was fortunate enough to see two no hitters at Candlestick. The first was hurled by San Francisco Giants pitcher Ed Halicki, and the second was thrown by Dodger pitcher Jerry Reuss. I cannot express how the Reuss no hitter destroyed my psyche. Despite the feat, my friend and I lustily boo’d. Reuss was, after all, a Dodger.
1) Montana to Clark – The hallmark is etched in stone, as is the ensuing celebration. Teams are worth being loyal to for a long stretch of time, if only to experience that singular moment that turns years of frustration into joy. A bandwagon fan would never understand this.
So long, old friend.
(c) 2014 Slow Suburban Death. All rights reserved.