Dale Says

July 13, 2009

Catch with my dad

Filed under: Profile — Dale @ 10:58 am

In the summers I used to play catch with my dad.  After work, he would grab his three-finger ball glove and we’d head out to the empty lot behind our house and toss a baseball back-and-forth.  He enjoyed the fresh air and time with his son, and I loved practicing my pitching.  We’d play until dark, or until Mom called us in to supper, then go inside, wash up, and dig in to the meal.  I was always excited by our time together, and I think it helped him unwind from the stress at work. 

 I wish I still had Dad’s ball glove.  They don’t make them like that anymore.

July 10, 2009

Panda’s First Grand Slam

Filed under: Colorful Characters, Profile — Dale @ 7:49 pm

It was fitting. On “Vote Pablo” night at the telephone company ballpark Panda hit his first grand slam.

There were signs everywhere encouraging fans to vote for him for the final National League All Star spot. People waved placards, ushers handed out flyers, the scoreboard flashed messages — “Vote Pablo!”

Pablo started the game despite a bruised knee and did a nice job at third base behind Matt Cain, who pitched another great game. It was a tight contest, and the Giants were up 1-0 when Panda came to bat in the fifth inning. The bases were loaded.

Many of the 27,000 fans chanted “Let’s Go Pablo!” when he stepped in to bat against Sean West. Somehow, we knew something special was going to happen. Maybe he would hit a towering sacrifice fly, or a smoking line drive single that would score two. Then, on a 1-0 pitch, Panda drove the ball deep into the left-field seats for his first major league grand slam. We jumped to our feet and screamed! That’s the excitement and power that’s been missing since you-know-who left. Panda trotted around the bases and pumped his fist as he came into home plate. Then he calmly walked into the dugout; his job was done.

But the fans weren’t finished. This was a super achievement, and we stood and cheered. Bengie, the next batter, shuffled in and out of the batter’s box while the crowd went crazy. Finally, Pablo came out, tipped his cap, and disappeared back into the dugout. We stood and cheered again when he ran out to third base in the top of the sixth.

I voted for Pablo for All Star, but it doesn’t really matter whether he gets it or not. The more important thing is he’s a Giant, he’s brought passion back to the team, and we have a reason to be excited again.

Thanks, Panda!

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