It was 7 years ago on this day. April 8, 2011 marked the Opening Day for Giants baseball against the St. Louis Cardinals. This wasn’t any ordinary baseball game; it was opening day for the San Francisco Giants who won their first World Series since 1954 in 2010. My late husband and I decided we were going to splurge on Opening Day tickets and play hooky from work that day. It was our very first live Giants game together as a couple and we couldn’t wait to cheer our team on that we’ve known and loved since we were kids.
The game was long and tied up which meant an extra inning ball game. In the bottom of the 12th Aaron Rowand hit a walk-off bomber straight into left field, sending Nate Schierholtz home for the winning run. The crowd went wild and so did we. Everybody was hugging each other, high-fiving and cheering like they had just won another World Series. We got to witness a great ballgame, but most of all, we got to witness it together.
This is a picture of us cheering after we won the game:
We had so much fun that day we decided to book a hotel room near the Giants stadium and do it all over the next day. I loved our spontaneity and I especially cherish our mutual love for baseball.
After that game we enjoyed many more Giants games together that hold so many amazing memories for me, my children and my stepchildren:
- We enjoyed sailing with the family over to the ballpark with our friends who invited us on their sailboat for a great day on the San Francisco Bay and at AT&T Park.
- I surprised my husband with tickets for Father’s Day and he took my stepson. It was that day that my stepson caught a foul ball and it was all captured on television with the commentators panning in on him several times because of his amazing back-handed catch with his glove down the 3rd base line.
- The kids had their jerseys signed by Brandon Belt the first year he moved up to the majors to play for the Giants.
- We enjoyed Spring Training in Scottsdale with our boys just a few weeks before he passed away suddenly.
- We experienced a Giants/Cubs game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Even though we got swept during that series, witnessing a game in Wrigley was definitely a check off the bucket list.
- We enjoyed numerous “date nights” at AT&T Park in our North Face Jackets in the middle of July. As Mark Twain said, “The coldest winter I ever experienced was a summer in San Francisco!”
Our love for baseball also went beyond the Giants ballpark; my stepson played on a traveling team for several years with the same boys and we cultivated friendships and watched the boys form a longtime bond through the game of baseball. The day of my husband’s memorial service the team forfeited their championship game just to attend his service. Every player came to the service wearing their baseball uniform and it was the most heartwarming experience of the day. I have no doubt he was beaming from Heaven because he loved each and every one of those boys.
This past Tuesday I attended Giants opening Day with my boys. I had a small amount of my husband’s ashes stored and I’ve been contemplating about what to do with them for the past few years. I decided to spread them in McCovey Cove that day because I want to smile every time one of the Giants hits a home run, knowing he had a little something to do with it.
Last night the Giants played the Dodgers at AT&T Park. The game went into extra innings and in the 14th inning Andrew McCutcheon ripped a walk off home run to win the game for the Giants. My husband’s player number was 22 and my stepson’s number is 22 as well. I couldn’t help but think that #22 hit that one for him last night.
There is a saying about baseball that resonates with me and how life has been over the past few years since his passing:
….”Life will always throw you curves,
just keep fouling them off.
The right pitch will come,
and when it does,
be prepared to run the bases.”
Here’s to the love of baseball, the love of memories, but most of all, the never ending love I will always have for my number 22 who was the best teammate a girl could ever have by her side for the wins and the losses we shared together.