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Saturday, October 19, 2002

Of all the thousands of baseball games I've seen over the years, tonight's was the one I've been waiting for since I was thirteen years old. That's the last time my Giants won a World Series game, on October 15, 1962. The last time until tonight, when they squeaked past the team owned by Disney and personified by a monkey, 4-3.

All it took for me to abandon my lucky spot on the stairs tonight was a phone call from my nephew. David asked me to join him and Eric and some friends to watch the game at his house. It was a tough decision. My good luck spot had brought the Giants two home runs and an early lead in the game. But when the Angels got a homer of their own while I was sitting there, I knew I had to make some new luck.

Oh yes, it all depends on me. Even the players five hundred miles away in Anaheim are tuned in to where I'm sitting while the game is going on. It's hard to resist watching the game with my two nephews. I've taught them to love baseball and to love the Giants. That makes it that much more fun for me to watch with them.

Eric and I parsed the whole game intellectually, while David sat on the couch and chewed his fingernails off. He's the emotional baseball fan. We all are, but he's the one who wears his heart on his sleeve. Together the three of us brought home the victory. A bunch of his friends were there, so it was a lively crowd of young people. I was the old guy in the corner, but that's my role in life anyway. It was just more literal this time.

The day started cold and foggy. And improbably early, in my case, because even though I didn't sleep much last night I wanted to get to David's team's soccer game this morning. So I dragged myself out of bed and got on the road to Rohnert Park. I even found the soccer field without driving past it and circling back, the way I usually do.

This was the last game of the season for these kids, and they played together well. I haven't been able to see many of their games, and this was the first time I've watched them win. Maybe they were just trying to stay warm, but they seemed to be playing with a lot more energy than last time, when I watched them wilt in the heat.

During the first half I paced up and down toward the middle of the field, as if I had money on these eight- and nine-year-olds. (I didn't, by the way.) Then at halftime I noticed some other family and friends at the far end of the field, so I watched the second half with them. I enjoyed concentrating on the game in the first half, but I liked sharing the second half just as much.

After the soccer game I headed on home and spent some time working and more time catching up on sleep. I have a feeling there will be a lot of restless nights until baseball ends. That could be as soon as Wednesday or as late as a week from tomorrow, however long it takes the Giants to get three more wins. This seemed like a very long day, waiting for the first game of the World Series to start, but the times I was asleep went a little faster than the rest.


Buzzards circling in a cloudy sky.

Late this morning I finally admitted to myself that winter is on its way. I'd thrown on a couple of sweatshirts and still my teeth were chattering, so I turned on the furnace for the first time since spring. After I finished choking on the dust, it felt wonderful.

The weather actually turned warmer later in the afternoon and the furnace stayed off the rest of the day. I've been resisting turning it on, but now that the ice is broken (so to speak), I'll probably be using it whenever I feel cold enough. I don't mind a bit of a chill outdoors, but I hate freezing to death in my own house.

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