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Keeping Score

By Cindy Luis

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

San Francisco day
game a real treat

BASEBALL on the Bay. Baseball during the day. It doesn't get any better than that.

It took about two minutes to turn me into a San Francisco Giants fan during a visit to the Bay Area last Wednesday. And we hadn't even stepped inside Pacific Bell Park.

Walking across Willie Mays Plaza was just the start of the great experience. What better welcome can you ask for than, when reading the commemorative bricks paving the plaza, one of the first ones reads: "Aloha from Kawika and the Ohana.''

We arrived two hours early for the 12:30 p.m. game between the Giants and Brewers. Just enough time to take in the sights of the 4-month-old park.


There was so much to see, from the world's largest glove (a vintage three-finger classic made of leather ready to shag a home run ball 518 feet to center) to the out-of-town scoreboard that runs along the right-center wall (manually updated with wooden numbers by a four-man crew) to the fog horn that celebrated each Giants' homer.

There was even a nod to nostalgia with mascot Lou Seal, a reminder of San Francisco's baseball roots in the PCL when its team was called the Seals.

Although we missed the park tour -- not given on day-game days -- we did get to see the return of the Giants' cable car bell ... now attached to a fully restored cable car. The bell is rung whenever San Francisco scores a run, by a fan who bids for the job on the eBay Internet auction site.

Forget lucky number drawings. The wave of the future is online, with fans bidding for the right to be everything from a guest groundskeeper to the national anthem singer to the one throwing out the first pitch.

Not surprisingly, there were laptops available next to the concession stands with free Internet access.

Garlic fries, clam chowder in sourdough soup bowls, shrimp salad, Say Hey sausages ... the food choices were pure San Francisco. And, as the JumboTron proudly reminded fans, DodgerDogs were NOT sold.

There were trivia games to be played, courtesy of the scoreboard. Did you know that University of Havana pitcher Fidel Castro turned down a $5,000 bonus from the Giants in 1947 to pursue a law degree?

Oh, yeah. The game.

Giants win, Giants win, Giants win, 9-3. Solo homer by Kent in the first, grand slam by Mueller in the second and a long, warning track near-roundtripper by Bonds to deep center.

But, darn, no splash ball into the Bay. (So far, only five homers have cleared the right-field promenade, all by Bonds, into McCovey Cove.)

And, alas, that meant no ball retrieval by B.A.R.K., the Baseball Aquatic Retrieval Korps composed of six Portuguese water dogs.

Still, it was fun.

It was baseball. On a crisp, clear day. It doesn't get any better than that.



With the University of Hawaii continuing to look for ways to make money, here's a few ideas.

Willie Mays Plaza, with its commemorative bricks, is a gold mine.

It was suggested in this column several years ago that UH look into paving the area around the Stan Sheriff Center with bricks bought by fans for a donation. The idea still has merit.

As does marketing baseball caps with UH scripted in kanji. Numerous stores in San Francisco carried caps of college teams with initials done in Japanese characters.

No telling if it will translate in the new kapa print, though.

Cindy Luis is Star-Bulletin sports editor.
Her column appears weekly.

E-mail to Sports Editor

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