Barry Zito

Hanging out in a luxury suite with Rod Brooks

With the advent of fantasy sports, I’ve suffered the indignity of rooting against my favorite team, albeit indirectly.

I admit, I’ve purposely started pitchers against the San Francisco Giants this season, and team defenses against the 49ers in 2007. I still want the local squads to win, but if they’re out of contention I figure I might as well try to get something out of it.

My buddy Carp and I found ourselves in a similar situation last night at Mays Field, but due to a different reason. Thanks to KNBR, Gordon Biersch and Carp’s ability to get through to the Fitz and Brooks show with the correct answer, we got to watch last night’s 5-4 Giants win in a Mays Field luxury suite.

The question Carp answered: what year did Gordon Biersch start serving garlic fries at Giants games? Carp called in with the right answer of 1994, even though he was basing it on false logic. He thought garlic fries appeared the same year Barry Bonds joined the Giants, although as I reminded him, Bonds joined the Giants in 1993, the year they won 103 games and lost the NL West by a game to Atlanta. But whatever, he won free luxury suite tickets.

Anyway, the game was unbelievable, and not just because Barry Zito struck out nine in six innings (good news for Carp, the only person in the country to have Zito on a fantasy team). The spread was a carnivore’s dream, complete with hot dogs, sausages, sliders, roast beef, turkey, chips and dip, potato salad and some sort of lettuce-based salad (the only food item that didn’t end up getting touched).

Oh yeah, there was also unlimited Gordon Biersch beer. We grabbed two Pilsners upon arriving, which Dan Gordon (co-founder and brewing engineer) opened for us. While Carp was busy trying to convince Gordon to bring back Gordon Biersch Light (which apparently only he was buying), Rod Brooks came in.

Bob Fitzgerald isn’t lying when he says his co-host is tall. He’s a legit 6-7, and he’s one of those guys that makes your hand feel like a toddler’s when he shakes it, although he probably weights no more than 175 pounds. Brooks was in a good mood but not too boisterous, he mostly stayed in the seats in front of us watching the game before he left in the seventh inning. Brooks also enjoys accessorizing like an injured NBA player in the 1980s watching his team in street clothes, as he was sporting black loafers with no socks. He must take those Robert Horry comparisons seriously.

Even though Zito did his part to slow the game down by throwing 112 pitches in his six innings of work, Carp and I didn’t want the game to end. Why would we? Unlimited beer and food (including hand-delivered garlic fries from Gordon himself in the fourth inning), padded seats and a killer view, including plasma TVs right above us with the Comcast feed so we could watch all the replays? Watching a game in a luxury suite is pretty easy to get used to.

So the fact that the game was tied 2-2 in eighth inning was terrific news. Extra innings? Yes, please. So in the bottom of the inning when Omar Vizquel led off with a double, I got nervous. When Fred Lewis knocked him in with a single, I was happy — in a way. Happy for Lewis, but worried that our extra innings dreams had been dashed. I asked Carp if I was a bad fan for rooting for anything besides a Giants win. He assured me that with the Giants so far from contention, getting more suite time was more important than anything else. That made me feel better.

Then Rich Aurilia singled to score Randy Winn and give the Giants a 4-2 lead, and I figured we’d have to soak in all we could over the next inning because the game probably wasn’t going to extras, especially with All Star closer Brian Wilson relieving Keiichi Yabu.

Then before I could eat a slider, Chris Young led off with a single and Chris Snyder slammed a homer deep into the left-field bleachers. Tie game! We get to stay longer! Call me selfish, but I gave a subtle fist-pump after the ball cleared the fence. Hey, watching the Giants over the past few seasons has given me far more pain than pleasure. This suite was the best baseball experience for Carp and I since we stood behind the left field bleachers with our buddy Sean and Benito Santiago hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to beat the Cardinals in Game 4 of the 2002 National League Championship Series.

With the game tied 4-4 and the momentum seemingly on Arizona’s side, Pablo Sandoval calmly lined a single to left. Nate Schierholtz (who scored the first 2 runs of the game for San Francisco) walked, then Vizquel lined out to left, bringing up Eugenio Velez. Velez has had a tough year, making mental mistakes that have caused him to be the least favorite Giant among the team’s broadcasters and, at times, management. So when Velez knocked a single into right field and Sandoval made an acrobatic (for a man his size) slide to score the winning run, I couldn’t help but be excited. Sure, we didn’t get to act like rich people for more than nine innings, but the nine innings we saw were as much fun and excitement as we could ever have hoped for from a meaningless Zito start in September.


Miscellaneous suite stuff

— One great thing about the luxury suites is the hallway that wraps around the park, which is covered with several posters and old Giants program covers. The best ones were right across from our suite: the Will Clark/Kevin Mitchell poster where they’re holding bats and wearing suits under the headline of “Pacific Sock Exchange” and the Giants program picturing Will Clark and Cory Snyder dressed like Wayne and Garth, with Will wearing a black hat with the words “Will’s World.”

— I was bummed when Rod left the suite in the seventh inning, as I hoped to ask him if he knew anything about the true origin of Monta Ellis’ injury. I figured if he kept drinking Blonde Bocks I could get it out of him, but he probably has enough free Gordon Biersch in his house to last him a few years, I imagine.

— Between innings the scoreboard showed Carlton Banks from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” doing his trademark dance, interspersed with fans doing their own version of “The Carlton.” At the end they showed an Alfonso Ribeiro look-alike, complete with argyle sweater, doing a spot-on impersonation. Brooks and I had this exchange afterwards:

Brooks: He just set black people back ten years.
BASG: I thought Tyra already did that.
Brooks: (laughing)
BASG: Wendy Williams, too.
Brooks: (laughing harder) That transvestite!
BASG: You know, I’ve never seen Wendy Williams and New York’s mom in the same room.
Brooks: I think they come from a transvestite factory.

So I may not have found out anything juicy on Monta from Rod, but we did enjoy a good dialogue on trannies.

— A few minutes after the game, the only other people in the suite were KNBR’s Brian “Primetime” Smith (producer for The Razor and Mr. T) and Mike Holer (producer for Gary Radnich and Fitz and Brooks), who were looking longingly at all the beer that went unconsumed.

— After Smith and Holer took off, Carp and I found ourselves the last fans in Mays Field. Seriously, all that remained besides us were the grounds crew and a ton of seagulls. After nursing our last beers for about ten minutes, we were finally (but very politely — it pays to seem rich), asked to leave. Hopefully we get to experience the suite life sometime soon.

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