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Dancing With Myself

There was this woman, Barbara. I’ve mentioned her before, somewhere in the vast archives of this blog. Tough old broad, veterinarian, didn’t talk much, sat next to me for several full Giants seasons back in the 80s. During a brief lull in the ’87 playoffs, sometime after Mike Krukow pitched a gem and before the Giants lost the series, she leaned over to speak. “You know,” she began, “I have friends who say they don’t like baseball .. they say it moves too slowly and they don’t understand the appeal.” She paused for a moment as the players took the field before finishing her thought. “I just think to myself  ‘well, that’s too bad for you.’  ”

I was watching Billy Idol when the Giants clinched a World Series berth in Philly Saturday night. I’d arrived in San Francisco a week before for my parents’ fiftieth anniversary, caught their party and attended a home win in between, and headed down to Mountain View for Neil Young’s always worthwhile Bridge School Benefit. It’s one of those only in Northern California, once a year, all-acoustic events and this year’s lineup was stellar – Buffalo Springfield, Elvis Costello, Pearl Jam and a lot more. But I was understandably distracted for the first few hours, with game six playing out three thousand miles away.

I’m not sure if I feel sorry for people who don’t follow baseball. Any real fan will tell you that there are two ways to take in a money road game when your team is involved. One is to face the music directly, own up and watch or listen to every pitch. The other is to simply acknowledge that it’s going on, and pick up any of dozens of clues around you. There were a lot of Giants hats at the concert – folks following the game on their cell phones and BlackBerries, fielding queries of “score?” from those not plugged in. There were odd pockets of cheers on the lawn where I was, high above the seats and stage. I of course knew exactly what was going on – they’d fallen behind by two, come back quickly to tie, took their starter out of the game, and locked into a nail-biter until the late innings. Then Juan Uribe hit a home run.

Ultimately it was a middle aged couple next to me with a good old-fashioned transistor radio. I leaned in close enough to hear until Giants closer Brian Wilson went to 2-2 on Ryan Howard with two outs in the ninth and the tying and winning runs on base. Then I backed off a few feet, let the music from the stage drown out the game, and kept my eye on the woman. She was holding up fingers to let me know the count. Full … three-two … foul ball … an eternity passed before it happened. She screamed and threw her arms up. I ran over and hugged her and slapped her husband on the back. Within ten or fifteen seconds the rest of the crowd was catching on and a steady, loud cheer erupted as Billy Idol looked out defiantly, singing Dancing With Myself.  “With the record selection and the mirror’s reflection” … certain that it was the best damn version of the song he’d ever played. And he was right.

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One Comment

  1. Dad wrote:

    I kind of watched the game last night….I followed the score on MLB….
    When I finally turned the TV on the game had just ended and the Giants were celebrating like crazy….
    I did record the game,however, so eventually I saw all the good parts….

    Sunday, October 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

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