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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Friday, April 30 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

A second chance

I've written in these pages earlier about my only experience first-hand, live and on the scene, of a professional baseball game. It was a Pirates-Chicago Cubs game that I was invited to, as editor of the Nanty Glo Journal at the time, by the Pirates' organization on the occasion of a ceremony honoring Nanty Glo native Charlie Metro who was managing for the Cubs then but being honored in Forbes Field at Pittsburgh as the Major League Baseball franchise closest to his hometown turf. It was good news and the event was fun to cover, but the two close friends who accompanied me to it and I soon lost interest in the game after the ceremony and left, bored, after only an inning or two. That was my only exposure to professional baseball...until yesterday.

Yesterday, the department I'm a member of in the company I work for and another department with lots of overlap in work objectives and content, were treated by our supervisors to lunch followed by a San Francisco Giants game against the Florida Marlins at SBC Park (still known in this area by PacBell Park and perhaps in the rest of the country; I don't know). Unlike my previous experience circa 40 years ago, though I still have more affinity to the Pirates than the Giants, I found this second game far more enjoyable, and I'm trying to assess what made it better. Maybe Frank Charney's love of the game is just rubbing off on me.

Yesterday had perfect baseball weather in San Francisco; temperatures in the high 70s (my guess) with breezes wafting from the San Francisco bay into the stadium. Short-sleeve and shirtless weather (for those so disposed). SBC Park was, if memory serves, considerably more crowded than the Forbes Field of 1964. The crowd was "into" the game. And though nothing seemed to be happening in the first four innings, they seemed to be over in short order. Also, SBC Park is brand new and has an excellent location for an inveterate tourist like me. You may have seen pictures of fans in boats just outside the park waiting to pick up baseballs lobbed over the open end of the field into the Bay, especially ones hit by record holder Barry Bonds.

But the highlight of the game, to me, was taking a walk. I can't recommend this for everyone because if no one stayed in their seats during a game it would seriously disrupt the whole sport. But I was able to walk completely around the promenade level of the park during the fifth and sixth innings, enjoying the views and getting close-up views of those aforementioned boats in the water, as well as some yachts nearby that I couldn't help wondering which ball players had moored there. And on the walk I got many closer views of the respective players and plays, which made the game come alive compared to being stationed way behind third base for the whole time. And the walk was enhanced by a highlight of the game for all the Giants fans. When I came behind home plate, I squeezed up for a closer view and could see Barry Bonds at bat. And—"crack"—the ball was sent out of the park to become Bonds'* 1000th home run.

When I was editor of the Journal, I covered as many Nanty Glo-Vintondale High School and Blacklick Township High School football games as possible, in person, my camera at the ready at all times, in all kinds of (usually inclement) weather. As the local editor it was my prerogative to walk back and forth with the play on the field, on the sidelines, something the regular fans couldn't possibly do. But to me that made those games the most enjoyable sport I'd ever witnessed, and this was confirmed in yesterday's experience, though I was far above the actual play rather than almost on the field as in the football coverage.

Over lunch a coworker remarked that the Giants are hovering around last place in the standings thus far this season, and they lost this one, too, with three runs to Florida's four. But when it ended, rather than relief, my main reaction was surprise that it had gone by so quickly.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

*Frank Charney clarifies a point that I missed if it was announced at the stadium: "Barry Bonds Jr. has 660 lifetime home runs, not 1000. Together with his father, Barry Bonds Sr., who passed away within the past year, their home run total is 1000 home runs. Hank Aaron holds the major league home run record of 755 home runs. Click for more information.

Kids in church

One four-year-old prayed, "And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz 

Thought for today

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.

— Mark Twain
Sent by Trudy Myers 

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