the man who came to dinner
music friday: walk-up music

throw me out to the ballgame

I have no idea what I can say at this point that adds anything to what I’ve said before. I went to my first Giants Opening Day in 1980, and I haven’t missed an opener since. Today will be my 37th consecutive such game. At times, I kinda wish I’d missed a game in there, just so I could just enjoy the game for what it is, and not for the record I am continuing.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s fun running up such a silly streak.

As I have often done, here are a few of the highlights of the past 36 years.

April 17, 1980. My first opening day. I had a broken foot. The Giants beat the Padres, Vida Blue pitched a complete game.

April 5, 1983. Still probably the most exciting opener I’ve seen. Mike Krukow couldn’t get out of the second inning, the Padres put up 8 runs in the fifth, and when the Giants responded with 3 runs in the bottom of the inning, the Padres got them right back in the top of the 6th to take a 16-6 lead. Yet by the bottom of the 8th, the Giants had the tying run at the plate, Tom O’Malley. That’s when the dream ended, as O’Malley flied out and the Giants were retired in order in the ninth for a 16-13 loss.

April 6, 1987. Chili Davis singled off of Dave Dravecky, scoring Jeffrey Leonard to give the Giants a 12-inning walk-off victory over, yes, the Padres.

April 12, 1993. Barry Bonds’ first home opener as a Giant. Of course he hit a homer. Darren Lewis knocked a walk-off single in the 11th to beat ... the Marlins. The Grateful Dead sang the anthem.

April 7, 1998. Rey Sanchez had a walk-off pinch-hit single in the bottom of the 10th to beat the Astros.

April 8, 1999. The last opener at Candlestick. The Giants rolled over the Padres, 12-4. Barry homered.

April 11, 2000. The first game at the new ballpark. In his first at-bat at China Basin, Barry smacked a run-scoring double. His next time up, he homered. But the story of the game was Dodgers shortstop Kevin Elster, who hadn’t played a single game at any level in 1999. He hit three homers and the Dodgers won.

April 5, 2002. Fourth game of the season. Barry hit his fifth homer of the season, this one a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 10th to send us home.

April 9, 2010. We didn’t know it yet, but this was the year the Giants finally won the World Series. In the opener, Aaron Rowand singled in the bottom of the 13th to win it.

April 8, 2011. The first-ever World Series championship banner raising in San Francisco history. Aaron Rowand singled in the bottom of the 12th to win it.

April 13, 2012. In the top of the 6th, Pirates’ pitcher James McDonald rolled a squeaker past third base into left field off of Matt Cain. He was Pittsburgh’s only base runner. Cain struck out 11.

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