Fan Follow Friday puts the spotlight weekly on one of my readers, as they share their favorite ballparks and baseball memories. Hope you enjoy hearing their stories!! In honor of the World Series this week we check in with Tike Narry, an SF Giants fan:
Name: Edward “Tike” Narry
Hometown: San Leandro, CA
Favorite team: San Francisco Giants
How did you get into baseball?
I grew up in a small town (Sonora, CA, about two hours east of San Francisco), and we got cable TV for the first time when I was 8 years old. With so many more games available on TV, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the game that I’d been playing in the backyard during the day and on the table (Strat-O-Matic) at night. I was able to attend a game for the first time at age 10, a doubleheader at the Oakland Coliseum, and when I got my chance to start driving, I attended as many games as I could. I moved to the Bay Area at age 22 and became an STH for the Giants when AT&T Park opened in 2000.
My wife Dawn and son Patrick (10) have attended a game at all 30 current parks, and I have been to 39. When people hear that, I get this question a lot. My answer is this: I give Wrigley and Fenway their own category, then I break the parks into tiers. The top of my top tier is, in no particular order, AT&T Park, PNC Park, Safeco Field, and Coors Field. All of them offer an incredible fan experience, both pre-game outside the park and during the game inside, all have great food/beer selections, and have views that other parks can only dream of. I really have a hard time picking from amongst those four.
Least Favorite Ballpark:
Tropicana Field. Not only is the ballpark terrible, but it’s domed, there’s no view of the field from the concourses, seats, rows and aisles are terribly narrow, the upper deck is steep, and the prices for concessions are high. I’ll admit I haven’t been back since the changes to the outfield this last season, but it’s #30, and there’s really not a park close.
Top Ballpark Memory:
There are so many that come to the forefront of my mind, having now been to nearly 900 MLB games, and having seen so many historic accomplishments, but the most vivid memory to me is seeing Dallas Braden’s perfect game in Oakland on Mother’s Day, 2010. At that time, I’d been to about 600 games and had yet to see a no-hitter; I missed Kevin Brown’s no-hitter in San Francisco in 1997 helping my then-fiancee, now wife of 15 years, Dawn, pass her paramedic school final exam, and I’d seen a couple of other no-hit bids make it into the eighth.
Mother’s Day 2010 was a brilliant Bay Area day, and my son Patrick, then 5, and I attended the Athletics game that day only because Dawn was working that day as the paramedic on duty. When Gabe Kapler’s groundball to shortstop Cliff Pennington was thrown to first baseman Daric Barton, I cried hysterically. Not only had I seen a no-hitter, but a perfect game and the whole family saw it together. Two years later, Patrick and I would see another, at AT&T Park this time (Matt Cain vs. Houston on 6/13/12), and we were also at Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter this season, on June 26.
Advice for fans visiting your home ballpark?
First, take public transit. Parking is expensive and traffic is terrible. BART runs from all over the Bay Area to within eight blocks of the ballpark, which you can either walk (less than a mile), or transfer to a MUNI metro train that will get you right to the front door. CalTrain runs up and down the Peninsula from San Jose, and comes to within two blocks.
Second, arrive early enough to “take a lap”. The Promenade Level (main concourse) circumnavigates the field on one level, and the views from all around are beautiful. AT&T Park gates open two hours before first pitch for all home games.
For concessions, take out a second mortgage! No, seriously, the concessions at AT&T Park ARE expensive, there’s no doubt about it. The Crazy Crab Sandwich (available in center field behind the scoreboard) might be the best ballpark food in MLB. Dungeness crab and sliced tomato on grilled sourdough garlic bread. It doesn’t get any more San Francisco than that. The famous garlic fries are available most everywhere in the park, but try to get them when they’re hot and fresh and tossed in garlic in front of you. The beer selection is quite amazing, as you might expect.
****Would you like to be my next Fan Follow Friday?? Just email your responses to the bold questions and a couple of pictures to me at email@example.com. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a baseball blogger, just a baseball fan!!!
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