Oh America. I think I may have finally fallen in love of it's favourite pastime - baseball.
This afternoon the San Francisco Giants played the Cincinnati Reds, who are at the top of the league they play in. AT & T field is a charming stadium. It's small and sits right on the water. I was able to get good, very reasonably priced tickets when I turned up at the stadium, and quite unknown to me, it was an absolute sell out (does no one work on Wednesdays?!). I picked up a cold beer and made my way to my seat around third base. I had requested a seat in the shade. When I went to see the New York Yankees in 2003, my Dad, brother and I found ourselves exposed to the hot sun and it was pretty uncomfortable and also detracts from the sport - I didn't want to fall into that trap again. So I sat back, sipping my beer, not imagining anything that could be quite as American as this - but ah, there was! I didn't have my famed Giants garlic fries, so they were added to the beer. Then, not to long before the game was due to commence at 12:45, the announce asked, "To honour America, please stand and remove your caps for the singing of our national anthem." I obliged him and directed my attention to the Stars and Stripes. For a brief moment I felt as though time had paused. Although it was only the third time I had heard the anthem since being here, it brought home that my trip would soon be ending. It gave me a brief moment to reflect and as I was listening I felt very grateful to all the people who had helped make this country home for the last three months.
Well enough of that - let's get to the game. I will say immediately to those who say American sport is dull and doesn't need concentration, that this was an absolute thriller! It started very ominously. In the first innings Cincinnati made a home run to take a 2 - 0 lead. Many blamed the new, twenty-one year old Giants pitcher. Things didn't get much better for San Francisco and by the fifth, after some more home runs they were looking at a 8 - 0 deficit. To their credit the Giants picked up two runs to bring the score to 8 - 2. However, by the time of the seventh the Reds had gone to 10 - 2, it all looked hopless Then the eigth innings happened. Perhaps this was the result of the seventh innings stretch (as American as apple pie). Incredibly the Giants, with the combination of home runs and singles turned a 8 - 2 deficit to score six runs and bring the gap to 10 - 8. We were all cheering, high-fiving and beer was going everywhere. Go Giants! I sure felt sorry for those people who had left early. Then the sublime happened and the Giants brought in two runs to tie the score at 10 - 10. Now if I thought that AT & T field went wild when that happened, the ecstasy when the Giants took a 11 - 10 lead in the ninth is indescribable. Surely this was the biggest comeback in their history? They couldn't mess this up now could they? So close to winning, all they needed to do was see out Cincinnati's inning in the ninth. Of course, Cincinnati set their stall out in the first and this was never going to be the case. The Giants held the Reds to a single run and all was tied at the end of the ninth at 11 - 11. I had thought that baseball ends in a draw, apparently it doesn't - there must be a winner. It took a further three innings, the game finally ending in the twelth with Cincinnati winning 11 - 12. I was supporting the Giants, but at that point I wasn't too concerned about who won, the game had been so entertaining.