“Now we know where to toss our empties!”
The salty phrases were coming fast and furious from our boat — rhetorical cannon fire, if you will — aimed directly at the lone Dodgers fans floating beside us on Thursday night, the auspicious evening the Giants and Dodgers vied to advance past the National League Division Series. Were these fans towing three children? Yes. But they also had the gall to fly a blue Dodgers flag. There is no mercy in the heat of a naval battle.
I was on a Giants fan’s boat, obviously, on assignment as SFGATE’s official McCovey Cove correspondent. My task? Enmesh myself with the beautiful boaters who are literally behind the scenes of Giants games, and report my findings.
Finding No. 1: The high seas are prime for heckling. Trading insults is all part of the scene in McCovey Cove, where boaters and kayakers have floated since 2000 to watch Giants games from a peculiar vantage point — and maybe, if they’re lucky, catch a so-called “splash hit,” when a ball lobs over the right field wall and dashes toward the ocean.
Ninety-one splash hits have been recorded in the cove since 2000, including eight this season. Barry Bonds unsurprisingly holds the record for most splash hits, with 35. Brandon Belt comes in second, fairly far behind, with 10.
Oracle Park is one of the few oceanside stadiums in the nation. Its setting enables boaters like me to get in on the baseball action without shelling out upward of $300 for a ticket to Game 5. You can’t actually see the field from McCovey Cove, which sits in the bay’s China Basin, but you can hear the announcers and the crowd cheering when the home team makes an impressive hit or scores a run.
I discovered that not everyone found that sufficient enough. A speedboat to my left rigged an entire flatscreen to a seat. Their cable broke, so they anchored beside our boat, and we ran a cord to them, sharing in their covetable television access. True camaraderie.
Meanwhile, the radio — on a delay, obviously — blasted over the speakers of our boat, providing commentary and keeping us sorta-up-to-date on the score.
Truthfully, when you’re floating in the cove, you hardly miss the stadium seats at all. I was sailing on the beautifully maintained F/V Huson, a 100-year old vessel that was built in 1920. Its owner, Eli Brooks, served as captain. He believes the boat is one of the oldest — if not the oldest — commercial salmon boats still sailing in California.
We made it to the cove around 4:30 p.m. to snag a spot right under the scoreboard. No splash hits came through Thursday night, among other disappointments.aside">
But the energy in the cove is what propelled the evening. At least 20 kayakers huddled together near the paved, above-water walkway, many of them drinking beers and some even grilling on their boats.
That’s one thing you can’t do in Oracle Park: grill. And it’s an integral aspect of the McCovey Cove scene. Eating and drinking, as well as general merriment and the aforementioned heckling, take priority when you’re out there floating. Plus, you don’t have to shell out $20 on beers, especially when you have an overflowing cooler with enough champagne bottles for an entire ballclub.
The sights in McCovey Cove are varied and fascinating. There’s the rich crowd hobnobbing on fancy yachts. There’s the speedboat crew, which zooms in between boats with reckless abandon. I even saw a shirtless man sunning himself on the bow of his boat like a mermaid.
Later in the night, a merry band of pirates took over our ship. They were actually friends of Eli’s, and they tied their vessel to ours and hopped aboard. Limbs draped off the top of the hull, Aperol spritzes in hand, while a small crew at the stern grilled sliders and downed beers, popping champagne corks in the direction of the Dodgers boat.
At the end of the night, with disappointment heavy in our hearts, we heckled the Dodgers fans one last time.
“You better leave now, that traffic gridlock will ruin you,” said a member of our party, trying to get in one last jibe. They laughed it off, a win for their team secured, and went on to kindly tow a boat full of Giants fans out of the cove.
As fans emptied from the stadium, we stayed in the cove for one last toast, leaving the leftover champagne bottles untouched.
“Well, this sucks,” said one of our floating crew, succinctly summarizing all of our feelings.
Did I pay much attention to the game while I partied the night away on our fishing boat? I can’t say that I did. Do I care? Given Thursday’s results, the answer is clear: no, not at all.
Source : https://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/mccovey-cove-dodgers-boats-game-experience-16535659.php2967