SAN FRANCISCO -- The best view at AT&T Park isn’t the upper deck behind home plate with its gorgeous vista of the Bay Bridge and the marina as the water extends across the horizon to Oakland.
No, the best view is the one in the right field, where fans get to watch Giants games for free, peering through a gate but with a ground-level view of the action.
Each game, the Giants filter through 450 fans -- 150 at a time, for three innings apiece. Where else can you see a World Series game for free?
Scott, a 47-year-old fan from Sacramento, Calif., didn’t want his last name used since he was skipping out of work, but he had left at 6 a.m. to pick up his friend, Mike Costuros. They arrived at 9:30 a.m. to get to the front of the line. Actually, Mike was in line at 9:30. Scott got there at 10 after parking more than a mile from the ballpark.
“We’ve been looking forward to this, watching six elimination games, calling each other,” Scott said. “We didn’t come last night because of [Justin] Verlander.”
“We thought we’d lose,” Mike said.
The two had looked online for tickets, but Mike said the cheapest he found were standing-room-only seats for $380 -- and that was before the Giants beat the Cardinals in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. After that game, tickets were going for $1,000 or more.
Instead, Scott said this will cost them $20 -- $6 to cross the Bay Bridge, $10 to park and $4 to cross back over the Carquinez Bridge. “I took my son two years ago for $17. This year I paid inflationary prices.”
The two had brought chicken sandwiches, Big Hunk candy bars -- “I always have Big Hunk candy bars when I watch baseball,” Scott said -- and said they had to come tonight because the series may not to return to San Francisco. “The Giants are going to sweep,” Scott said. “It’s possible we could get an epic series and the Giants win Game 6 on Halloween, but the Giants are on fire right now.”
Gregg Bernheisel had come from even farther than Sacramento. He and his two sons, Ryan, 16, and Michael, 17, flew down from Vashon Island, Wash. They had to catch a 4 a.m. ferry to get to the airport for a 6 a.m. flight.
“We had tickets for Games 6 and 7 two years ago and were going to drive down,” Gregg said, “but then the Giants won in Texas. I told my sons if it happens again in our lifetime, we have to go. We knew we were going to come down for this one since we didn’t want to risk missing it again.”
The youth minister grew up a Giants fan in the Bay Area and has convinced his sons to root for his childhood team. “The Mariners are our American League team though,” Gregg added.
Gregg had actually taken his sons to the Knothole Gang section back in the 2002 World Series. “They actually let us stay the entire game since the boys were so young,” he said. But he wanted to take them again, when they were older and would have more lasting memories of the experience. They also had been in line since 9:30 a.m., ordering pizzas and doughnuts.
They actually were still hoping to secure tickets for inside the ballpark. A friend of theirs is a close friend of Tigers infielder Ramon Santiago from when he played with the Mariners, and there was a chance Santiago would have some tickets left over.
I’m sure sitting inside the park would be the memory of a lifetime. But I also think waiting in line with your kids for eight hours, eating pizzas and doughnuts, is something the Bernheisels will never forget.