Brandon Belt

View from the San Francisco Giants’ dugout

As I write this in the press box, viewing a landscape full of about 2,000 more seagulls than people about 15 minutes after Cliff Lee struck out Cody Ross for the fourth time to end the game, I’ve been here just over seven hours. The game itself? Two hours and 17 minutes. Pretty anticlimactic ending to a matchup that Giants and Phillies fans looked forward to for days/weeks/months, and not the fairest result for Madison Bumgarner, who besides throwing high fastballs that were clobbered for consecutive homers by Hunter Pence and John Mayberry, pitched extremely well in getting the loss (again). Along with a garbage run in the ninth off Santiago Casilla on a seeing-eye grounder by Pence past the deceptively slow Jeff Keppinger, the Phillies had a nice, tidy 3-0 victory.

But enough about the game, because besides my vantage point I’ll forget about most of the details by next week. Yes, for some reason the Giants allowed me to walk around on the field and inside the dugout for multiple hours before the game, where I took a ton of pictures. (I tossed a bunch of them up on Twitter, where I admittedly was a little too prolific tonight and lost around 10-15 followers due to my volume tweeting, but I’ll post an album on my Facebook page if you want to check them out there.) Instead of talking about the game, which totally sucked unless you’re a huge fun of Lee and Pence, here are my favorite moments from before the game.

— Met Henry Schulman before the game, introducing myself with, “I’m one of those guys writing on a little blog from my basement” (forgot to mention that the basement in question is actually my mom’s). Pretty sure he didn’t care about meeting me, but he would need my help later.

— Walked over the dugout, and didn’t know if I could just walk on in. Then I saw Vern Glenn sitting on the bench and figured, “What the hell?”

— I sat down on the bench. Actually, I sat down on the awesome padded seat ABOVE the bench. And you know what? The seats have heaters. Rough life those ballplayers have.

— Jeremy Affeldt came out of the tunnel to do an interview with Jaymee Sire. “Keppinger’s a dooouuuuche,” Affeldt says (loudly). “Hope you got that on TV!” Comcast didn’t, but now at least you guys know about this momentous occasion.

— First the starting rotation (minus Bumgarner) came out on the field and started stretching and taking BP. Not a ton of effort there, mostly bunting and a few grounders, although Tim Lincecum launched one that almost made it to the right field warning track.

— After that, the entire team came out to stretch about 10 feet away from where I was standing. These guys really do like each other. So much chatter, movement, trash-talking. There’s something funny about seeing a bunch of grown men swinging their arms around and shaking their legs out within six feet of each other. One of those times when you realize how ridiculous it is that all these guys play a kids game and we all make so much of a big deal about it (and I’m as guilty as anyone).

— Seconds after I tweeted a photo of Brian Wilson wearing his Oakleys with the built-in headphones, asking what he listens to, I hear him say to anyone who’ll listen, “So I listened to this Sublime song today…” Thanks for answering my question, Brian.

— Scary moment: I was standing right by the stairwell to the clubhouse, and I hear this heavy wooden object crash next to me and bounce down the stairs. It was a bat, and it almost hit Ryan Vogelsong as he was coming up the stairs. I look up, and I see Lincecum on the field with a huge grin on his face, half-running toward the bullpen. Vogelsong said, “That could have been really bad.” Lincecum didn’t look worried (at all), but it definitely would have added a new wrinkle to the Vogelsong saga that The Franchise has been so closely monitoring had Lincecum connected with his bat-toss.

— Said hello to Mychael Urban, who is rocking a gnarly chest cold right now. If I get sick anytime soon, I know who I’m blaming.

— Caught most of the Bruce Bochy interview in the dugout, but I was behind a crowd about four people deep and I couldn’t hear much of what he was saying. What did I miss? Oh, just the fact that the Giants sent Brandon Belt (who I watched take BP for about 45 minutes from the press box after my arrival) down and brought up Mark “I swear my wrist is OK” DeRosa. From what I could tell, people weren’t too happy about that move on Twitter.

— Checked out both teams’ batting practice sessions. Waited around to see Ryan Howard, who didn’t even hit a home run. Very disappointing. Interesting to see Pat Burrell interact with his former teammates, though. Wish I could have gotten close enough to hear what he was saying about his DL stint and how, err, rehab is going.

— Damon Bruce invited me over, and congratulated me for breaking the story that he and Gary Radnich would be working together. Thought he’d press me for my source, but he didn’t seem all that worried about it.

— It isn’t a media experience without going to the press dining room and paying $9 for buffet-style tacos, salad and sandwiches. The food was decent, and I ate way too much. In a related story, I went down the stairs to the press box behind Schulman, who was carrying three plates. A large plate piled high with dinner items, a smaller plate full of fresh fruit, and another small plate with a piece of cake. When he got to the door he tried reaching for the handle but was having trouble, so I opened the door for him. Lucky I was there — if Schulman was left to his own devices he might have missed the first inning!

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