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Jason Kaneshiro

Sunday, August 19, 2001


Honeymoon trip to
PacBell: Memorable

I consider myself extremely fortunate to call these islands home. But living in paradise comes with certain costs.

In exchange for year-long warmth, we empty our savings accounts for a gallon of milk. For every white sandy beach, we spend an hour in H-1 gridlock. And a home in the middle of the Pacific means hopping a five-hour flight to catch a Major League Baseball game in person.

Which is why each of my recent mainland vacations have included at least one trip to a ballpark.

The stadium most recently crossed off my "must-see" list is Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, where my wife and I watched the Giants beat the Phillies 8-4 during our honeymoon two weeks ago.

After the game we strolled around the grounds to take in the sights from seemingly every vantage point -- each better than the last -- from our seats along the left-field line to the right-field porch overlooking McCovey Cove.

My wife has been with me on each of these baseball excursions and I almost believe her when she says she really does enjoy going to the ballpark with me, really.

She actually does have one more major league game to her credit than I do. Last year, during a business trip in Minneapolis, she spent one of her free days at a Twins game.

Keep in mind, these were last year's Twins, and that last year's Twins stunk. Still she blew a roll of film to bring back photos of the inside of the Metrodome for me.

And now memories of our first days as husband and wife will forever include watching Rich Aurilia hit a three-run bomb into the left-field bleachers and seeing Giants catcher Benito Santiago get booted for refusing to throw the ball back to the pitcher.

Our baseball adventures also include seeing John Rocker get mooned by a fan who ran onto the field at Dodger Stadium last summer.

BUT OUR FAVORITE moment occurred at Wrigley Field in Chicago during our first trip together.

This was the season before Sammy Sosa's home run duel with Mark McGwire, but his appeal with the fans was already apparent. Every shriek of "Sammy" from the right-field bleachers was acknowledged by his signature chest tap and peace sign.

Sitting in the row in front of us was a young mother with her three children, one a little boy who was quickly befriended by a bleacher bum. The man made it his mission for the day to get a ball for the boy and implored Sosa to toss one up for seven innings straight.

Sosa, peered toward him periodically, and would have been perfectly justified in ignoring the pleadings of the shirtless man hoisting the paper beer cup.

It appeared the boy would exit onto Waveland Avenue empty-handed. But after warming up prior to the top of the ninth, Sosa sent the fans into a frenzy by turning toward the stands and pointing to the boy. The shirtless dude barely moved to catch the autographed ball, which he then dutifully handed to the youngster.

Sosa has been my wife's favorite player ever since. And for me, five hours in coach don't seem quite so long knowing nine innings of memories wait on the other side of the ocean.


Reach Jason Kaneshiro at jkaneshiro@starbulletin.com



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