Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where Were You When...?

OK, I'll play. When the San Francisco Giants finally won their first World Series last night, I was standing off to one side of the lobby in the Westin Verasa Hotel at Napa, awaiting the start of a winemaker dinner. Aside from the quick subtlety of the final strike, what I'll remember most of that moment was how eerily quiet the lobby and the adjoining bar became with each Brian Wilson pitch. For some reasion, the sound of the TV set was off, perhaps not to agitate the few obvious fans of the Texas Rangers among the onlookers. Muted as it was, however, the last out was welcomed with cheers and high fives. By then, our glasses were empty; toasts would come later.

As I joined others in the party to head for our table in the hotel's restaurant, La Toque, which a year ago relocated from its original intimate location in Rutherford up the Napa Valley, my thoughts turned to my late father, a Giants fan who weathered more June Swoons than any person should have had to endure. I'm sure I wasn't alone in that sentiment as other sons and daughters of old Giants fans no doubt reflected on the win that their parents and grandparents never got to experience. My father was such a Giants fan he packed with him on his route as a postal carrier a small transistor radio to listen to games. His annual yuletide poem often included a glancing line about another sorry Giants season. A second-generation San Franciscan, he took me, a third-generation San Franciscan, to the old Seals Stadium for a game during the first season after the Giants moved from New York, in 1958. I don't remember who they played that summer day, or which team won. But I won't forget the fortitude and optimism he showed after even especially tortuous losses, nor the joy that excited him with each Giants win.

Seasoned Australian winemaker Chris Hancock was the host of last night's dinner, held to introduce the latest wines from Robert Oatley Vineyards of Mudgee northwest of Sydney. While Australia's national pastimes run more to yacht races, swimming, cricket and rugby than baseball, Hancock recognized the drama and history of the occasion by ordering flutes of a French sparkling wine for a series of toasts. It was the Roederer Brut, a smokin' line drive of a Champagne whose  agility and authority complemented perfectly these similarly styled Giants.

1 comment:

  1. Now, here we have a game I can play as well. It happens that I too was in the lobby of the Westin Napa watching history unfold and wishing I were somewhere else noisier and more appropriate for the tension of those last few innings. A bit of noise was heard and bubbles did flow, but this was not quite the celebration that most of us wanted. Oh well, we had kept the Aussie winemaker waiting along with his collection of interesting mid-priced wines while we indulged our needs to be part of this historic occasion.

    If you are a baseball fan, you already know how special it was to see this odd collection of rookies, youngsters, castoffs, has beens and never wozzers play way over their heads. It was exciting stuff, and for once, an entire party of wine professionals abandoned their duties and went to watch a ball game.