Los Angeles Dodgers 6 – San Francisco Giants 12

San Francisco Giants 2016 Home Opener

Last Thursday, I attended my seventeenth Giants home opener in a row, all of them with my dad, Rick, who purchased two “personal seat licenses” (or “PSLs”) in the late 90s in order to secure two season tickets for the Giants at what is now known as AT&T Park. Not coincidentally, my streak of home opener attendance coincides with (a) the opening of that stadium in 2000, and (b) my return to the Bay Area (from Santa Barbara) for law school that same year.

After getting some work out of the way in the early morning, I headed off to meet my dad for some breakfast before the game at one of my old favorites, Just for You Cafe in the Dog Patch neighborhood, a little over a mile from the ballpark. We strolled over to the park after breakfast, enjoying the (relatively) newly developing Mission Bay waterfront, and the hordes of tailgaters barbequing, drinking beer and tossing baseballs around.

We arrived in time for the opening ceremonies, but not to catch any batting practice. (We knew we were making that sacrifice with a leisurely breakfast and stroll.) There’s always a unique feeling on opening day; it’s communal. You see the other season ticket holders in your section that you’ve come to know over the years, but haven’t seen in months. It’s great. The weather was pretty close to perfect too, probably high 60s, with a bit of high cloud cover and a noticeable San Francisco breeze.

Jake Peavy was set to take the mound for the Giants against the rival Dodgers. (I should pause for a moment to say that this is a serious rivalry; you see it, hear it, and feel it, both amongst the players and the fans.) Peavy is a bit of a wildcard, as are a number of the Giants starters this year, but the lineup is rock solid, more so than I can ever recall in my lifetime of Giants fandom.

The Dodgers came in having swept the lowly Padres at Chavez Ravine; indeed, the Dodgers did not allow a single run to the Friars over the three games! The Giants were 2-1, having looked very good against the Brewers in their opening series on the road.

The Bums jumped on Peavy early, and amassed a 4-0 lead by the time the Giants came to bat in the bottom of the fifth. This Dodgers team has a real different feel, with some quality young bats and Dave Roberts at the helm; they’re gonna’ be good.

One of the Dodgers’ runs came on what was originally called as an inning-ending double play, but which was overturned on video review, because Joe Panik didn’t actually have his foot on the bag and the ball in his glove at the same time. This is the result of the really annoying new second base rules, which are going to be quite hard to adjust to for middle infielders, who’ve trained their minds and bodies for the “proximity” rule on double plays. My father and I lamented this and some of the other new changes we don’t like, including the replay rule in general and the 30-second timers on mound visits.

Between innings, I grabbed an eight-dollar hot dog, loaded it up with mustard and relish, and ate it in about 30 seconds…. not because I was in a rush; that’s just how I eat hotdogs. /-:

Things changed in the bottom of the fifth, when the Giants picked up three runs on a lot of hits and some really efficient offense. The young but accomplished (no hitter last year, and he couldn’t even crack the rotation this year!) Chris Heston relieved Peavy in the sixth, and shut the Dodgers down. That was just the momentum the Giants offense needed, as they added four more runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.

The Dodgers picked up two runs in the top of the eighth, bringing them to within one run of the Giants, but the Giants put it out of reach in the bottom of the inning, when Hunter Pence (who I’d been doggin’ a bit, as he was the only Giant not hitting), cracked a grand slam. When he connects, it’s loud.

It was really a pretty perfect home opener, and the Giants would go on to take three of four games against their rivals. Even year!

— Gabe Levine

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