Wednesday, August 08, 2007

#756 - I Was There

Ever since our new ballpark opened in 2000, we’ve gone to 5 or 6 games a season, about one a month. A friend has season tickets (great seats) so he divides up the games before the season begins.

My August choice seemed to be the least interesting of all the games on our 2007 schedule. A Tuesday night against the Washington Nationals (one of the few teams as bad as the Giants this year.) Well, my initial assessment was just a bit off – monumentally off.

Turns out the game was a chance for Barry Bonds to break the most revered record in American sports. And he came through. Big time!

Bottom of the fifth – a 3-2 count – and a monster high drive to the deepest part of the yard, just to the right of center, 435 feet into the stands. Everyone was on their feet for the entire at bat anyway, so no need to jump up and cheer – just cheer more and savor the moment.

It was like being bombarded with sensory overload. I watched the ball first and saw it land. Then people screaming and jumping up and down, fireworks, orange and black streamers raining down on us, Bonds rounding the bases, hugs, high fives, pandemonium and noise, then more noise.

For several years the story has been Bonds and steroids. I’ve never cared. Steroids for strength and stamina, yes. But for hand-eye coordination, timing, seeing the ball in a special way? I don’t think so. My guess – he used steroids. I don’t think it’s a smart thing to do to your body, but it doesn’t blemish in any way an extraordinary, historic athletic and mental achievement accomplished over several decades.

I’d have this point of view irrespective of where he played or where I lived. That I happen to live in the place where a Bonds love fest rather than derision is the norm makes it easier.

All that is incidental. What an unforgettable moment. And I was there.