Story of a ten-year push...
2009: Son is 10, and we decide to go for it! Two home games: Home opener in SF, and Oakland, always a good start
2010: On the road--fly to San Diego, motorcar up to Anaheim and then Dodger Stadium LA Dodgers (vs SF, many friendly SF faces sitting nearby). High point: snagging a foul tip in LA, pitched by Mad Bum himself. Even higher point--I caught it after next-seat neighbor bobbled it and gave me an easy grab. Perhaps if he hadn't been so nasty about all the World Series won by the Dodgers compared to none won by the Giants (as yet, since the Giants had yet to win in 2010 and again in 2012), I wouldn't have smirked to myself. As it was, I had no regrets handing the ball over to son, who was suitably awed. Bonus in fall--World Series opener!
2011: Heavy-duty travel in July. Twelve days, flights all over the South and East, and 8 games. SF-CHI WS-(plane stop in Kansas City, more about that later)-Texas-St. Louis-PHL-DC-ATL-Tampa Bay-Miami-SF. Highlight day: wake up in Washington, drive to Baltimore, fly to Atlanta for a game, fly on to Tampa. Son gets tired of people telling him how lucky he is. Father gets tired of sitting in the stands in 90+ degree weather day after July day.
2012: Hitting our stride: SF-DEN-MIL-BAL-BOS-NY Mets-PIT-CH Cubs-MPLS/ST PAUL-SF 8 games in 8 cities in 8 days! Son gets very tired of hearing about 8-8-8, even more tired of hearing about how lucky he is, also gets out of middle school. Another bonus: World Series opener again
2013: Short trip during spring break to hot cities. Opening day in Houston followed by opening day in Phoenix. Blew all of our flyer miles on SW Airlines, but worth it. Weather very nice. Bunus when back at home: Finally got Mad Bum to sign our ball from LA. By now he's famous and it costs many pennies to get his autograph at our local fan shop (H/T to Lefty's in Burlingame, CA)
2014: Slowing down, just four games. SF-NY Yankees-Cleveland-DET-Cinci-SF. Scary moment: large tipsy Cinci fan comes up and gives father a big hug … what? Just wanted to be friendly, but still….
2015: Just one, SEA vs OAK, last game of the season. High point of trip: my 12-yr great-niece (coming to meet us there with her mom) on the street outside, coming up from behind unannounced and snuggling against me repeatedly, scaring me to death (what if the police were watching and got the wrong idea?) Another high point: Seeing the last MLB appearance of the one and only José Canseco, out in the bullpen warming up as a pitcher at age 51 and hoping forlornly for one last chance to be in The Show.
2016: Son graduates from HS, Toronto on the way to son's college in NY state. Highly bittersweet moment of course, taking son to college, a feeling a lot of fathers know only too well.
2017: NO GAMES.
(if you've been keeping track, you know that makes 29 out of 30, the missing city being...Kansas City, the place where we just sat on the plane in 2011!)
2018: Father has a stroke! Paralyzed up and down the entire right side of his body!!
2019: So now what, fellow chasers/fanatics? Even if son is still willing to take a big detour to or from college, even if father is up to it, the wheelchair seats in KC are at the back of the sections.
Lessons learned (so far)
* It's great fun
* It's impossible to see most other sights as you flit in for a game, then flit out again
* It is fun to get your boarding passes for tomorrow’s fight once you arrive in a new city
* It’s great to meet old friends and relatives along the way, though, especially if they can go to a game with you.
* It takes great concentration and planning to organize multi-city trips. 30 games in 30 days has to be a real nightmare, unless you have a private jet at your disposal. Also: your son will REALLY hate hearing about 30-30.
* Our favorite park is our very own SF, where you're on the SF Bay as well as in the game. Pittsburgh for the same reason.
* Gather ye rosebuds while you may. I'm lucky to be alive, and I'm grateful, but we may never get to KC now.