I guess before I start in, I should `splain something, and hope it doesn't alienate me from the die-hard ANers about. While I definitely and without question am an A's fan, my second-favorite team resides nearby. Yes, I admit it. I enjoy and, when not in direct contention, root for the San Francisco Giants. When no A's game is on, odds are I'll be watching the Giants. I think Schmidt is a great pitcher and very worthy of National League Pitcher of the Month for May. I hope Mike "Iron Man" Matheny gets well soon and has no lasting issues from his recent concussion. Randy Winn is probably my favorite player on their team, and I have no positive or negative comments about BB.

But please understand. Without question, when it comes down to choosing one or the other, my blood runs green-and-gold and I will not forsake the Nation. This I pledge to thee. (Do I get my membership card and honorary henna tattoo now? Er...why are Blez and Baseballgirl heading my way with a large wooden paddle with Ken Macha's picture on it? Help?...) Now the reason I even mention all that - and risk the wrath of my new adopted family - is as background for the rest of my story.

On Monday of this week, I was reading through my e-mails. One of them said "Giants Ticket Alert", which I opened and read through. Inside it mentioned tickets for this weekend, against Pittsburgh, with seats in View Reserved being only $12.50 each. I called my wife and asked her if she wouldn't mind if I surprised the kid with tickets for just he and I, and she and my daughter could "girl's day out" it on Saturday. She had no problem with it and I made the purchase post haste. The seats are, as I said, in View Reserved, section VR320, Row 8. I've never been to AT&T/SBC/PacBell/Alexander Graham Bell Park before, but if I go off of the picture on the Giants site (view from the section), it doesn't look too bad. Hopefully others here who've been there can confirm....or crush my gentle.

Plus I have an ulterior motive for going. As I mentioned before, the four of us are attending the Giants vs. As game on June 25th. Coming from the Valley, I was hoping for a simple way of getting to the park, like BART from Dublin to the Coliseum. Looking at the directions, it doesn't appear to be quite so easy. First glance says BART to Embarcadero Station, then buy tickets from a special "MUNI" table open only 2 hours before the game (there goes getting there early), then taking a MUNI train to the park. Being just me and the kid, and no rush on Saturday, this will be our "trial run" of the whole process. That way I can act (read: lie) like I know what I'm doing in front of my wife and daughter later this month, while paying off my son to keep whatever newbie mistakes I make on Saturday quiet. (Dad: Ah, this isn't such a bad ride. Son: Er, Dad, why did we just pass Knott's Berry Farm? Dad: DOH!)

Of course, I couldn't just come right out and TELL my son I had tickets. Those who have read my last few diaries know me better than that. So Monday night I get home and start watching the Giant's game. My son saunters in, wearing his Giants hat and jersey. Note: He's had these for a couple years now, and wears them now just to tick me off. He also has his A's stuff and is indeed a fan. Please don't lynch my son....thanks.) I immediately turn off the game and he says, "Hey! I thought we were going to watch the game."

"I don't really feel like it tonight."

"Dad, come on, please?"

Grrr, I felt myself starting to give in. "Nope. But I do need to run an errand. Come on."

"Aw, man. At least let me watch the game in my room."

"Nope. Come on. I'll put it on the radio, okay?" I grabbed my keys. My son went to his room and changed back into what he had been wearing before. He look dejected, and it was killing me. But a plan was a plan. And I knew that I had to get in the van with B.A. and Hannibal to catch the plan Murdock was flying before Colonel Lynch caught up....whoa. Sorry. A-Team flashback. Gotta quit skipping the meds.

Anyway, we headed off, John Miller on the radio calling the game, and soon arrived at the Mall. We headed in and made a beeline to Foot Locker. The kid was completely bewildered. I went up to the striped folks behind the counter, gave them my name and asked if they had a hat on hold for me. One girl reached under the desk and brought out a fitted NewEra S.F. Giants game hat, size 8. Yes, I have a large cranium and adjustables just don't cut it. Never have. My A's cap is a NewEra fitted as well.

The kid looked at the hat and then at me and said, "What are you doing? You're not going to wear that to the Giants/A's game, are you?"

I paid and we headed out to the car. I said, "If we were at a Giants game and they were playing the As, I would definitely be wearing the Green-and-Gold." He nodded, but pointed to the hat now on my head. "So," I continued, "If that's the case, when would I go to a game where I would wear the Giants hat." Reading that here, it sounds a lot easier to figure out than it did when I said it, as I confused him for a moment. Well, that and he only knew about the one Giants/As game.

I repeated the question again, and he offered, "When you're at a Giants game when they're not playing the As?"

"Exactly!" I exclaimed.

The light went from dim to bright over his head. "Waaaaait a minute! Do you mean...?"

"Yeah," I laughed, "You and I are going Saturday to the Giants."

"Yes!" Much fist-pumping, jumping, a big hug and a bunch of strange looks from mall-goers followed. We also swung by the local Wally World to pick up a Giants t-shirt for yours truly, so I could complete the ensemble, and headed home to watch the Giants win their game against the Marlins.

Now, you might be wondering why the title of this diary is "Payback". Well, to quote Bill Cosby, I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I arrived home from work, and dashed into the house, trying to change clothes and not miss too much between listening to Vince on the radio and Ray on the tube. As I entered the house, I saw my wife and son sitting on the couch, their faces very somber. The TV was off and I should have known something was up.

But, um, A's game was on? Hello? Started to run right on past, yelling at the kid, "Why don't you have the game on?"

My wife issued a "Hold it! Sit down here for a minute."

"But the game is on, " I whined. I'm pretty sure my shoulders slouched, my bottom lip stuck out, and I suddenly became 6 years old.

"Sit!" she intoned. I sat, wondering who was in trouble, me or the kid, and ashamedly hoping it was the latter and not the former. Much easier to ground him than ground myself, though my wife has no problem doing either....and has....and I'm sure will again....

Anticipating bad news, I was caught by my own modus operandi when my son reached behind his back and handed me an envelope. On the front was, "To: DAD From: SON" I looked at him quizzically and noticed grins had emerged on both their faces. "You have to read it aloud," he said. I got it. It was payback for what I made him do at graduation. Cute.

I opened the envelope and read the words:

So, Dad, are you liking all of these baseball games?
The Oakland A's games were really fun.
Oh boy, I can't wait for the Giants game.
Can't imagine what it will be like at AT&T Park.
Keep on smiling, because this is fun.
The two of us at Saturday's game will be great.
One, two, three, four more days until we go.
Nineteen more days until the next game.

Please plan some more activities.
Oh boy, we're having fun.
Really great, early, Father's Day gift awaits you.
The answer is right in front of you. [Where have I heard that before? -Me]
So can you figure it out?

Now I know I'm slow, but I was able to figure this one out. Stockton Ports. I shook my head, smiling. "You're kidding right?"

He said, "Nope! You and me. Friday night. Stockton Ports, right behind home plate. And fireworks afterwards too!"

I was without words, which is pretty rare for me. I looked over to my wife, thinking she had something to do with it. She knew what I was thinking, and shook her head. "This was all his idea. He used some of his graduation money and paid for it all himself. Said he wanted to do something for you this time."

I'd be lying if I didn't say I had a tear or two in my eyes, and my wife lost it pretty quickly. I stood up and hugged him. He said, "It's going to be great! Now what's the score right now?!" as he scrambled to find the remote. As the A's game came alive on the TV, I laughed and wiped my eyes.

They weren't the only winners last night.  


P.S. If there's anyone out there wondering what this crazy crew and I look like, I put up a few pictures of us at the A's games on the 21st (before the rain ponchos came out) and last Friday, the 2nd. In case you're wondering, the good-looking one is my wife. The guy next to her is me. Please try not to stare and you should be able to eat later. ;)

The whole album is at

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