I left my heart (and my coat, scarf and gloves) in San Francisco
After dealing with record-setting, sweltering and somewhat scary temperatures in Houston for as long as we have this summer, it seems unfathomable that I could actually be wearing a scarf and jacket this time of year.
Needless to say, many, many of us in the traveling party were more than a little anxious to get to chilly, sunny San Francisco. Denver was boiling hot, too — granted, there’s very little humidity which makes the mid-90s temps a lot more tolerable, but still — and we’re just grateful to have one city on the schedule this summer that is going to give us any kind of break from the mind-numbing heat and humidity.
San Francisco is just beautiful, but the city itself pales in comparison to AT&T Park, home to the World Series champion Giants. Even if the team wasn’t as good as it is, the ballpark is worth the price of admission, with its breathtaking view beyond right field and cozy atmosphere that makes it feel a lot smaller than its actual dimensions (it seats approximately 42,000 — around same as Minute Maid Park.)
Ballpark highlights include McCovey Cove, the section of the San Francisco Bay just beyond right field that was unofficially named after Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey. On game days, fans hang out in the water on their boats and kayaks and wait for home run balls to bounce in.
In its nearly 12-year history, 57 home runs have qualified at “Splash Hits” — home runs hit by Giants that land in McCovey Cove on the fly without hitting the Arcade or Portwalk. Of the 57, 35 were hit by now-retired slugger Barry Bonds.
During Bonds’ era, McCovey Cove would be saturated with kayaks, piloted by fans hoping to catch one of those Splash Hits or, more likely, a batting practice home run. These days, it’s not so crowded out there. Thursday afternoon when the Giants were finishing up BP, there was this guy:
For our food feature of the day, we’re most certainly NOT saving the best for last. We begin with a dish I’ve discussed on this blog in the past, but it’s one that I never get tired of writing about. It’s the delicious Cha-Cha Bowl, named after Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda and loaded with enough yummy ingredients that would make even Bryan Caswell’s mouth water.
The Cha Cha Bowl consists of grilled chicken, black beans, rice, sliced zucchini and carrots and topped by a pineapple salsa. It’s one of a handful of items served at Orlando’s Caribbean BBQ, but clearly, the healthiest option. After what we ingested in Denver, a little lighter fare is welcome. *uurp*
* Jose Altuve has never gone more than one game without getting at least one hit since he was called up to the big leagues a little over a month ago. He also began play Thursday with the third-highest rookie batting average in the league at .310.
* Entering Thursday’s game, Brian Bogusevic ranked second in the Majors with a .474 average over 15 games since Aug. 7. He had four homers and 12 RBIs over that 15-game span.
1. Aramis Ramirez – .475
2. Brian Bogusevic – .474
2. Nick Hundley – .474
4. James Loney – .442
* Catcher Jason Castro continues to progress while rehabbing at the club’s spring complex in Kissimmee, Fla. but it’s likely he’ll remain there through September, which would eliminate the possibility of a return to the big leagues this year. Castro is catching bullpens, which is an encouraging sign that he’s improving as time goes on. A return to the Astros was unlikely this year anyway, and when dealing with knee surgery for a catcher, it’s best not to take any chances by pushing him to return before he’s ready.
* Melting pot: Your Astros currently have 14 players from the USA, two from Venezuela, five from the Dominican Republic, two from Puerto Rico, one from Nicaragua and one from Panama on the active roster.
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