Monday, April 23, 2012

Baseball and Other Bayside Happenings

Spring has arrived in all its fog-bound glory here in San Francisco, and by that I mean foggy mornings followed by sunny, even hot afternoons and evenings. My days start early out in the socked-in Richmond District (or “out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean”, as JAR calls my neighborhood), but by the end of the work day, I only see bright blue skies from my office in Downtown Oakland. Longer, lighter days signify a transition to a favorite spring tradition, too: meeting up with friends on the Embarcadero for drinks or dinner. The Ferry Building sits roughly at the half-way point on my commute, and in the last few weeks I’ve dined and imbibed with friends at Mijita, Gott’s, Acme, and even Peet’s. This past weekend included both a tour at the Tcho Chocolate Factory on Pier 17 and a stroll through the Farmer’s Market (it’s sugar snap pea season in California!). I think it’s safe to say that I spent more waking hours at the Ferry Building in the last week than I did in my own apartment.
Spring also means Opening Day, and a return to baseball season—which, when combined with Easter and my birthday, makes April hands down my favorite month of the year (that I was due on Opening Day in 1981 only affirms my love for this seasonal trifecta). Last Wednesday, my brother and I headed to AT&T Park for my first home game of the season, Giants vs Phillies, and the set-up could not have been sweeter: Matt Cain vs. Cliff Lee, on a gorgeous, clear and warm evening. We had amazing seats on the view level behind home plate, and as we settled in for the opening pitch, container ships were making their stately passage out to sea in the deep waters beyond the ballpark. Ten run-less innings later, and we knew we were witnessing something historic. In fact, it wasn’t until Melky Cabrera’s walk-off single that the Giants fans in the stadium cut loose and started celebrating; prior to that, there was only the sound of 40,000 people holding their collective breath. I thought it was equally remarkable that we’d just watched eleven innings in under two and a half hours—but then again, I always consider it a gift when I can watch a full game on West Coast time and still make it to bed relatively early.   
CSC and I walked along the water on our way to the bus stop, and in the process passed one of my favorite sunny weather bars, Hi Dive on Pier 28. As the days continue to get lighter, I’m looking forward to adding yet another waterfront spot back into my social calendar!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bidwell Park, I Salute You



Because you are one of the largest, greatest, most beautiful municipal parks in the United States. Because you are home to the magical swimming hole at One Mile, acres and acres of lush Valley Oak trees, and some of the best running trails in California. Because you follow the contours of Big Chico Creek, winding its way from the Sierra to the Sacramento River, and because you are a testament to the kind of civic-minded, environmental philanthropy this country rarely sees anymore. Bidwell Park, I salute you!