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    Pennant fever! It’s torture!

    I love the way Duane Kuiper has characterized this Giants’ season. He first nailed it early in the year, when heart-stopping, heat-throwing closer Brian Wilson nearly blew a lead in that inimitable way of his. But it describes everything the Giants are doing to us – the way they lost all those low-scoring games early in the year when the pitchers were brilliant and the hitters anemic, and then lost all those high-scoring games in August, when the hitters scorched everything and the pitchers fooled no one.

    And yet the Giants stayed in the hunt, and kept us on the edge of our seats. And now they are in an honest-to-goodness race for the playoffs, 3 games out of first place and 1.5 games out of the Wild Card lead, with only 28 games to go.

    Here we go again! I’ve already done it, even though I should know better – I’ve given my heart to this team, after all the times it has broken it in the past. I can’t say I’ll be satisfied with a near-miss of the playoffs; I want post-season baseball at AT&T Park. It is within reach.

    Having said that, I want to report (since I have not updated this in ages) that I have had a glorious summer, filled with baseball games, book events, and family vacations from coast to coast. I will try to offer up a recap at some point, but a few baseball highlights include a book party in Portland, a pair of Mariners-Yankees games in Seattle (one with Steve Steinberg,  co-author of “1921,” with whom I’ll be appearing in New York City in November), the SABR convention in Atlanta in August (stay indoors!), a brutal, sweltering Giant loss to the Braves at Turner Field, and a Bulls game in Durham, NC. And – I now have a bobblehead of Joe DiMaggio in a San Francisco Seals uniform, thanks to the Giants!

    What could be better than that?

    Ask me in October…

    Seals Stadium lives!

    Workers remove home plate before demolishing Seals Stadium in San Francisco in 1960

    Workers remove home plate before demolishing Seals Stadium in San Francisco in 1960

    What could be sadder than the dismantling of a ballpark?

    I grew up going to Yankee games in the Bronx, and often my dad would park across the Harlem River from Yankee Stadium, right across the street from the housing projects that stood on the land once occupied by the Polo Grounds. (At least, he parked there until the car was vandalized and it no longer felt safe.) So I know about the sadness that exists in places where legendary ballparks once stood.

    Now the immensely creative Todd Lappin, and his pal Burrito Justice, have figured out a way to reclaim a little bit of the joy of an old ballpark. They used some modern technology to triangulate the spot where home plate once stood in San Francisco’s Seals Stadium, home of the Giants in their maiden seasons on the West Coast. The park was torn down when the team moved into Candlestick Park in 1960, and a tacky little strip mall was built in its place. (It’s hard to imagine such a thing happening today in a city so preservation-minded, as well as anti-chain-store.)

    X marks the spot where Seals Stadium home plate once stood. Batter up!

    X marks the spot where Seals Stadium home plate once stood. Batter up!

    And where does home plate belong? In aisle 6 of Office Depot, the PC aisle, by a Verizon Wireless display. (Take that, AT&T Park!) Lappin (aka Telstar Logistics — the name is another brilliantly creative story) maps out the rest of the diamond:

    First base is now the entryway just inside the door of Office Depot. Second base is now by the first table in the seating area next to the Starbucks kiosk at Safeway. Third base is a food aisle — right between the refrigerated tortillas and the frozen pizzas — deeper in the supermarket.

    Look at that X, and imagine Willie Mays launching home runs; or the spectacular rookie seasons of Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda; old New York Giants trying to cope with a foggy new home, and fresh new Giants like Jimmy Davenport making their big league debuts.

    Lappin closes:

    Next up, in collaboation with Burrito Justice, we may try to convince the managers of the Office Depot and Safeway stores to place permanent markers for each of the bases on their respective floors. Stay tuned.

    I can get behind that effort!