We’ll pick this one up where I left off yesterday, in awe of the insane hotel complex we’re staying at. Elizabeth left in the afternoon to go to a bridal shower/bridesmaids tea sort of thing, so I was left at the hotel on my own until Pam and Winston arrived. Pam texted that they were on the ground a little after my work shift ended, and since we had already put their room keys in the room I figured I could meet them at the front and walk with them to our building. We are in building five, and no joke it is a five+ minute walk from the lobby to our room. It’s a giant resort. I started to take a nap after closing my laptop, then was forced back awake by the thought that Pam and Winston would be back soon, and besides, what was I doing in my hotel room on a sunny San Diego Thursday? So instead, I wandered outside, where I got a close look at Coronado Bay behind the resort. Starting a long loop around the backside of the hotel, I discovered that each courtyard in between buildings was themed. Ours was “nectar” – so-called because of all the citrus trees growing there. Next over was the relaxation-themed courtyard, then the sun-themed one, then the garden courtyard where the hotel grows vegetables and herbs for its restaurants. I walked an entire loop around the backside of the hotel, and when I got back Pam and Winston still hasn’t arrived. So I settled in on a couch outside, pulled out a book on my iPad, and read/closed by eyes fitfully as the afternoon passed by.
I was actually pretty bored, and feeling like somehow it was my fault that I’d wasted my entire first day in San Diego, when I finally got word that Pam and Winston were almost to the hotel. The kicker – they’d been at the airport trying to get a rental car, and clearly getting scammed in terms of price. Furthermore, Pam had halted her credit, so she couldn’t get one even if she wanted. It was a whole ordeal that they eventually solved by just taking a taxi.
I showed them to our adjoining hotel rooms. Now it became a question of – how do we get back into San Diego for the Padres/Nationals game, 30 minutes away and beginning in like 1 hour, when Elizabeth was also still in San Diego at the bridesmaids tea? She wanted us to pick her up and bring her change of clothes for the game. Meanwhile, we couldn’t even manage to call an Uber from where we were. It took 15 minutes of circular conversations before we arrived at the best course of action – Elizabeth would walk with the Hardings to Petco Park, and the three of us would Uber with the clothes straight to the stadium and meet her there. Winston managed to get one and finally, we were flowing with rush-hour traffic off of Coronado Island back to the mainland, with only slight near-death experiences from our driver.
Pam felt really bad that we weren’t going to make it to the game on time, but in the end we only missed the top of the first, and that was mostly because our seats were on the other side of the stadium and we stopped for hot dogs and beer. The walk around the stadium gave me the chance to see what Petco was all about – I’d call it a cross between a sporting venue and a shopping mall. Also, the beer fridge at the hot dog vendor we stopped at had Shock Top, which displays a higher level of sophistication than I would ever expect from the MLB (low, low bar). We gathered everything up (precariously) and got to our seats.
By the middle of the first inning, the Nats were already up 3-0, much to Winston’s delight. I’d been excited about the prospect of a Darvish/Scherzer pitcher’s duel, maybe a 2-1 final or something, but that was already out the window. YCPB. There was absolutely nothing wrong with our seats:
I settled in and caught up my scorebook while losing a dollar to the guy next to me who bet me that Scherzer would have a 1-2-3 inning (he did). I don’t mean to belabor the whole “the weather is perfect in San Diego!” thing, but holy crap, it was a beautiful night for baseball in San Diego. It was nice to get to talk to Elizabeth’s family, and eat my steaming hot, overpriced, stale-bunned hot dog. And peanuts. Peanuts at a baseball game always, without fail, hit different.
Elizabeth didn’t even bother to change the clothes we’d worked so hard to deliver to her until the end of the 3rd inning. By that point, the Nationals had chased Darvish from the game to take a 6-0 lead and it looked like a blowout was in the offing. As someone who likes both teams enough, but loves Fernando Tatis Jr, I was secretly rooting the Padres and secretly disappointed. By this point, I’d also dealt with about four inquiries about what I was doing with a scorebook. I feel like scoring a baseball game used to not be a big novelty a few years ago, but I swear by the end of the game I’d explained what I was doing briefly about a dozen times – sometimes to Elizabeth’s family members, sometimes to random people near me. I’m sure Elizabeth was sick of hearing it.
The 4th inning was truly a wild experience for multiple reasons. Trea Turner started it off by hitting a home run to help send the Nats out to an 8-0 lead. I confidently proclaimed to Winston that “Max Scherzer wasn’t gonna blow an 8-run lead”. In the bottom of the 4th, Tatis hit a monstrous home run that kick-started the rally to bring the Padres right back into the game. Scherzer lost command of his offspeed pitches, hitting two batters and walking another. The Padres started chipping, which is why it was super weird when they left the relief pitcher in with the bases loaded and two outs in an 8-2 game. An extra-base hit would actually let San Diego back into the game, whereas if Scherzer wiggled out of the jam he could cruise along with the blowout intact. The reliever was in his second MLB game. Scherzer immediately got ahead 0-2 and buried a changeup in the dirt. I knew the fastball was coming. Winston knew the fastball was coming. The reliever knew the fastball was coming.
He hit the ball so hard that I was initially stunned, even though it was flying in our direction. Finally, I unfroze enough to stand up and watch the grand slam fly by to my left. I was shocked, and looked at Winston. “What the fuck!?!?”
I quickly learned that the historic grand slam had an even bigger twist – it had hit Chris square in the stomach.
When the dust settled, it was 8-7 after 4 innings, the game had already gone for an hour and a half, and Chris didn’t even get to keep the ball.
Things did settle down from there to a degree. The game started to speed up as relief pitcher stabilized the ship for both teams, and made a mockery of my scorebook. The sun went down but the weather stayed resolutely perfect, and I answered more inquiries about my scorebook. The Padres did tie up the game, so the tension rose between nearby Padres fans and the gentle heckling of Winston. I led the fans in “MVP” chants for Tatis just to annoy Winston, and led Winston in “MVP” chants for Juan Soto just to annoy them.
Finally, in the bottom of the ninth, the Padres broke through with a two-out, walkoff RBI single to complete a bonkers 9-8 win. The odds of that are slim enough, but the odds of the wedding groom getting hit by the first relief pitcher grand slam in the last 3+ decades 2 days before his wedding? That’s true lightning in a bottle kind of stuff.
Getting back was a lot less of a time sink than I expected, not only because traffic on the Coronado Bay bridge was less than expected, but because we stumbled upon a taxi driver a few blocks from the stadium who managed to hit 93 mph exactly on the highway across the strand (65 mph limit). After that white-knuckle experience, and just the shear amount of *things* that happened yesterday, I was ready for bed, but the hotel’s back patio had such a beautiful fire pit I felt like I couldn’t not sit out by it for a few minutes. I was excused from having to after-party on ground of work this morning. A sign of how tired I was is that I fell asleep with my head on a pillow in less than five minutes.
Jolted out of bed by an alarm at 6:45, I staggered out to the hotel’s back patio in time to log in by 7:00. I’d planned on quietly working for the first few hours before anyone woke up, but Pam must have woken up and set off a chain reaction that had Elizabeth out of bed before 8:00. She told me to find Winston and get a spot at the hotel restaurant. I did so, but he decided to leave and work out in the gym, leaving me to wait 30 minutes for Elizabeth and Pam to finally make it to the patio. At least my Comet modules this morning (space weather!) had an incredible view:
Presently Pam and Elizabeth arrived. We ordered an unnecessarily large amount of food, which, of course, was delicious:
The breakfast did the Fairchild thing where it starts at 8:00 and various people filter in and out so that there’s still someone at the table at 11:00. I left before then, to work in the bedroom for a little while. Elizabeth was very polite and offered to join me on a mid-shift walk, which we took out under the tunnel I’d found yesterday to the Pacific – there’s literally a beach right on the other side of the highway because of course there is. We walked past the marina so I could show Elizabeth the jellyfishes.
I yelled “echo” in the tunnel, which made Elizabeth mad. The ocean was seaweed-y, and I was scared of a jellyfish rocking up with any given wave, but I did go put my feet in the Pacific for the first time in my life!
We walked back and I knocked out another module, then debugged an issue in my code for work. Since then, I’ve just been relaxing at the pool, sitting under an umbrella and blogging while I eat nachos and drink a mai tai. Work ends in another hour and then it’s time to either paddleboard or kayak, followed by the rehearsal dinner on a yacht tonight. The true wedding weekend begins now!
He’s doing well with his dogsitter.